Dog bite prevention

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Snarling dog from Darwin's Expression of Emotions

Dog bite prevention is what can be done to stop dogs from biting. This takes work to educate people on what they can do to stop a dog from biting. People can get serious injuries or even die from dog bites. About 16,000–39,000 persons come near dogs and other animals that have rabies each year. These people receive immunizations to prevent or treat a rabies infection.[1] Up to 800,000 Americans are treated for dog bites each year. Half of these are children. Young children get bitten by their family dog. Very old people are more likely to be bit than younger adults.[2][3]

About 4.5 million people in the US get bit by dogs each year. One out of five bites become infected. Dog bites are painful. dog bites can cause injuries or even death.[2]

Can you get bit?[change | change source]

If you know how to stop an dog from biting you will not be injured or die. Babies and children get bit more often than others. Small children can be bit if they walk toward or play with a dog. They should be watched by adults. Those children who are five-years-old to age nine are the most likely to be bit by a dog. Children need medical care for their bites more than adults. Men get bitten more than women. Over half of dog bites happen at home with dogs that are pets. If a home has many dogs then it is more likely that the people living in the home will be bitten. If there are two or more dogs in a home, the people in that home are fives more likely to be bitten.[2][3]

When a dog is friendly it still may bite. If a dog wags its tail people think the dog is friendly. When a dog wags its tail it can be afraid, ready to fight, or angry. Dogs can wag their tail and then bite a person.[4]

Things you can do[change | change source]

Government and other organizations have published information that can help stop a dog from biting. They say:

  • do not try to stop dogs that are fighting.[5]
  • be very still when a dog moves toward you.
  • if you fall, curl into a ball - then hide your head and cover your ears.
  • tell someone, the police for example, if you see a dog that looks and acts sick.
  • do not walk toward a dog you do not know.
  • do not run from a dog.
  • do not panic or make loud noises.
  • do not go near a dog with puppies - it might think you want to hurt the puppies.
  • do not let your dog bite you when it plays.
  • do not let small children play with a dog by themselves.[2]
  • do not bother or touch a dog if it sick because sick dogs are more likely to bite.
  • do not wake up the dog by touch - call the dog by name
  • do not take things out of the dog's mouth
  • do not touch the dog while it is eating.
  • keep a dangerous dog away from children.

People may know if the dog has already been seen growling, snapping or biting. This may be a dangerous dog and bite people.[6] Dogs can show if they are going to bite because of how they stand and act. People can learn how to see how the dog looks and act. People can learn the body language of dogs and know when the dog might bite.[7] If the dog is snarling, has a wrinkled nose, eyes that are black, and fur that stands up, the dog is dangerous and might bite.[8]

Just because a dog walks toward another dog or a person doesn't mean that it will bite. A dog is less likely to bite if more caution is practiced by the person. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have published materials so that children and others can know how they should act around a dog. Acting in a safe way will reduce the chance of a bite:

  • Stop walking or moving.
  • Stay still and be calm.
  • Do not panic or make loud noises.
  • Avoid eye contact with the dog.
  • Say "No" or "Go Home" in a strong voice.
  • Stand with the side of your body toward the dog.
  • Do not look into the dog's eyes, it will think you want to fight.
  • Wait for the dog to pass or slowly back away.[2]

If you are attacked[change | change source]

Even if you are attacked by a dog, you can protect yourself.

  • Put your purse, bag, or jacket between you and the dog to protect yourself.
  • If you are knocked down, curl into a ball with your head tucked in and your hands over your ears and neck.
  • When you get to a safe place, quickly wash wounds with soap and water.

Find a doctor:

  • If the bite is bleeding, painful if you can see your muscle or bone.
  • If the bite becomes red, painful, warm, or swollen, or if you get a fever.
  • If it has been more than 5 years since your last tetanus shot and the bite is deep.[2]

Training a dog makes it less dangerous.[9] Children can learn how to not get bitten by a dog.[3]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Human Rabies Prevention, United States, Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices" (PDF). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2008. p. 2. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 "Preventing Dog Bites". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. May 18, 2015. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Dog Bite Prevention". American Veterinary Medical Association. 2017. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  4. Coren, Stanley (December 5, 2011). "What a Wagging Dog Tail Really Means: New Scientific Data Specific tail wags provide information about the emotional state of dogs". Psychology Today. Retrieved April 30, 2017.
  5. "Tips for Stopping a Dog Fight". Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  6. "National Dog Bite Prevention Week 2014 (May 18-24) Podcast". American Veterinary Medical Association. 2017. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  7. "How to Avoid a Dog Bite -Be polite and pay attention to body language". The Human Society of the United States. 2017. Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  8. "How To Read Your Dog's Body Language". Dog Magazine. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  9. "Tips for Training Your Dog". Retrieved May 18, 2017.