Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Nip it in the bud!

There are approximately 4 million dog bites annually with children being the highest percentage of the population being bitten. Educate children on respecting boundaries for your pet will reduce the chance of attack. Dog training is also important so the animal knows its boundaries.

Teach your child how to avoid bites:
· Respect the dog’s territory. Leave food and toys alone unless the dog brings it to you. Do not pull on a dog's ears or tail.

· Raised hair on a dog’s back, growling, tail pointed down or a tail pointed up but not wagging are warning signs.

· Do not charge at a dog. The dog could feel threatened.

· If a dog bite is imminent teach your child to curl up into a ball and put their hands over their head to protect the face.

· Don’t stare a dog down.

· Never leave a child alone with a dog.

· Before petting a dog, extend the hand to allow the dog to sniff. If the dog is not receptive, avoid the dog. Children should not raise their hand to pet the dog’s head until they’ve established a repoire with the animal.

So what should you do if your child is bitten? Here's some tips:
· If the dog is not your own but lives in the neighborhood, notify the owners of the situation. Ask when the dog’s last rabies shot was.

· If the dog is a stranger to you, take your child to the doctor as soon as possible for rabies testing.

· Wash and disinfect the wound. Put anti-bacterial cream on it. Check it regularly to make sure it’s clean and dry. Keep an eye out for infection.

· Report dog bites to animal control to prevent further harm to others.

· Make sure your child’s immunizations are up to date.

If a dog has been known to show signs of aggression it should never be left alone with a child.

To learn more about prevention of dog bites, please visit:

Your family can also take an online course at no cost at:

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