What makes a dog bite?

It's National Dog Bite Prevention Week and so it's a good time to remember why dogs bite and what we can do about it. As responsible pet owners it's important that we know how to recognise the signs that a dog might bite and take steps to manage it.

According to statistics from the American Veterinary Association (AVA):
  • 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs every yearin the USA
  • children are by far the most common victims
  • 800,000 Americans receive medical attention for dog bites each year
  • children are far more likely to be severely injured; approximately 400,000 receive medical attention every year
  • most dog bites affecting young children occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs
  • senior citizens are the second most common dog bite victims
There are a number of things that you can do to avoid dog bites, ranging from properly training and socializing your pet to educating your children on how, or if, they should approach a dog. Information is one of the best cures for dog bite problems.

As a dog owner, the AVA has some great recommendations to prevent your dog from biting which you should think about, including:

  • 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 and can be incorporated into fun activities that build a bond of trust between pets and people.
  • Walk and execrcise your dog regularly to keep it healthy and provide mental stimulation.
  • 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. Parasite control and other health care are important because how your dog feels affects how it behaves.

For more useful information in stopping dogs biting, visit the AVA dog bite prevention page.

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