National Dog Bite Prevention Week is May 18-24th. You may have seen the Care2 post last week about the little boy who was attacked by a dog when he was on his bike, but his cat came to the rescue and chased away the dog. The ASPCA predicts that 50 percent of children will be bitten before they turn 12-years-old.
According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and the Center for Disease Control, dog bites were the 11th leading cause of nonfatal injury to children ages 1 to 4, 9th for ages 5 to 9 and 11th for ages 10 to 14 from 2003 to 2012.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) offers these dog bite facts:
- Each year, more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs.
- Almost 1 in 5 people bitten by dogs require medical attention.
- Every year, more than 800,000 Americans receive medical attention for dog bites; at least half of them are children.
- Children are, by far, the most common victims of dog bites and are far more likely to be severely injured.
- 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.
Internationally renowned dog trainer Victoria Stilwell is a spokesperson for National Dog Bite Prevention Week. She says, “Most dog bites are preventable and are a perfect situation of circumstance, situation and environment. If we learn to understand dogs, learn their body language, and empower children with that knowledge, there will be less dog bites.” She offers these tips to help prevent dog bites:
1. Your dog needs to be well socialized.
2. Your dog needs to receive great, humane force-free education.
3. Teach your family how to be around your dog.
4. Teach visitors, including all children, how to be around your dog.
5. Don’t judge a dog by his breed, instead observe his behavior.
The ASPCA suggests that you have your children recite the following pledges:
1. I will not stare into a dog’s eyes.
2. I will not tease dogs behind fences.
3. I will not go near dogs chained up in yards.
4. I will not touch a dog I see loose (off-leash) outside.
5. If I see a loose dog, I will tell an adult immediately.
6. I will not run and scream if a loose dog comes near me.
7. I will stand very still (like a tree), and will be very quiet if a dog comes near me.
8. I will not touch or play with a dog while he or she is eating.
9. I will not touch a dog when he or she is sleeping.
10. I will only pet a dog if I have received permission from the dog’s owner.
11. Then I will ask permission of the dog by letting him sniff my closed hand.
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