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  • Writer's pictureTraci Wilkerson Steckel

National Dog Bite Prevention Week Part 2

Updated: Apr 13, 2020

Traci's Paws Spokesdog Emee showing people how wide a Chihuahua's mouth can be. National Dog Bite Prevention Week. Traci's Paws

This like most days or weeks of observance, should really be recognized every day. In the United States, thousands of people, primarily children and the elderly, loose their lives to dog bites and dog attacks each year.

Thanks to the American Veterinary Medical Association, we have been able to put together some information with their studies and provided you with some helpful ideas for potentially preventing dog bites and even attacks.

Remember, we are not veterinarians.

We will be breaking this blog up and discussing various scenarios in which people are bitten, and provide ways to potentially prevent them throughout the week.

Did you know:

“Half of all bites come from the household dog”, American Veterinary Medical Association.

How to prevent:

There are several scenarios of how these bites in the home occur. Two common reasons are that a new dog comes into the home and members of the family may not know how to handle the dog, (know how to approach a dog, pet, respect its space, etc.) or a new child comes into the home and is not properly supervised around the dog.

If you already have a dog or dogs and expecting a baby, or bringing an adopted child of any age into the home, you should try to prepare your dog the best way possible. First off, dogs love having a routine. Once the baby or child comes home, your routine will never be the same again, and your pup’s won’t be either. This can stress your dog out and cause her to react in ways you may have never seen before, including biting.

If you can start making your dog’s routine a little less routine a few weeks before the baby or child arrive, that may help her make the transition easier. Mimicking baby sounds or even playing a few recorded baby cries and tantrums may help your pup as well, and probably get you a little prepared too!

If you are bringing a new dog into the home, make sure to sit with everyone in your household and go over basic pet handling rules. If you have a toddler, make sure that you teach your child from as early as possible to be nice to your dog and not to pull ears and tails. Of course, this is easier said than done when you’re teaching 2 year old, so make sure that you are very involved with the interaction between your toddler and dog. Pulling ears and tails do not feel good, and may very well result in a bite.

Make that that you do not smother your dog. Dogs of all sizes, especially small dogs, feel threatened when cuddled or hugged.

If you see here, my Emee is letting me know that I am a little too close for her liking and sending a message by snarling. Of course I let her go and all was well.

If you are bringing a new dog into a home that already has a dog, be sure to introduce them properly as well. If this introduction is forced they'll probably end up fighting and you'll get bitten if you try to get in the middle.

Regardless of which scenario you may be part of in the future always know that you are responsible for your children and your pets. Make sure your kids know how to approach and pet a dog properly and when to approach and if they’re not old enough or emotionally not ready, don’t force it.

Always watch for signs from your dog as well. If your dog isn’t ready, they may cower down, growl, snarl or even hide. Again, don’t force it.

Things will come together when the timing is right, and your family will live happily together and hopefully without anyone getting bitten.

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