Dog Bite Prevention Week: May 15 to May 21

Next week is Dog Bite Prevention Week which is a public service campaign that strives to educate people how to avoid being bit by a dog and also to promote responsible dog ownership. The American Veterinary Medical Association, Humane Society of the United States, and American Academy of Pediatrics have reported that children, older adults, and customer service workers such as postal workers and UPS workers are the most frequent victims of dog bites.

Dog bites can be prevented by the owners and their dedication to training, socialization, and behavior modification. For those of us who may pass or meet a dog on the street we can also avoid being bit by keeping the following tips in mind:

1: Never approach an unfamiliar dog that is tied up, behind a fence, or in a car. Some dogs become extremely protective of their space or easily intimidated and may lash out.

2: If an unleashed dog is approaching you, don’t run or scream. You may perk up their prey drive and become overstimulated.

3: Remain motionless if a strange dog approaches you, don’t make eye contact, stay calm, and keep your arms at your side. Reaching out may scare the dog and make her nip or bite your hand.

4: Never let your children play with a dog unless there’s an adult supervising. Teach your children to not tease the dog.

5: Teach your children to never disturb a dog when sleeping, eating, or playing with its own toys. Dogs don’t always know how to read a child’s body language and may bite out of a means of protection or fear.

6: Do not pet a dog without allowing it to sniff you first.

7: If a dog does approach you and tries to bite, use your bag, jacket, or something else to have them bite instead of your arm. If you are knocked down, curl into a ball and try to not roll around. Remain motionless and the dog may lose interest and move on.