There are several things you can do to avoid dog bites ranging properly training and socializing your pet to properly educating your children on how, or if, to approach a dog.
What to do if you’re a dog owner:
- Carefully select your pet. Puppies should not be obtained on impulse.
- Make sure your pet is socialized as a young puppy so it feels at ease around people and other animals.
- Don't put your dog in a position where it feels threatened or teased.
- Train your dog. The basic commands "sit," "stay," "no," and "come" help dogs understand what is expected of them.
- Walk and exercise your dog regularly to keep it healthy and provide mental stimulation.
- Avoid highly excitable games like wrestling or tug-of-war.
- Use a leash in public to ensure you are able to control your dog.
- Keep your dog healthy. Have your dog vaccinated against rabies and preventable infectious diseases.
- Neuter your pet.
- If you have a fenced yard, make sure the gates are secure.
How to protect your family:
- Be cautious around strange dogs, and treat your own pet with respect.
- NEVER leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
- Be alert for potentially dangerous situations.
- Teach your children – including toddlers – to be careful around pets.
- Teach children to not approach strange dogs or try to pet dogs through fences.
- Teach children to ask permission from the dog's owner before petting the dog.
For more information, visit AVMA.org