Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Dog Bite Prevention

First thing first, ANY breed of dog will bite under the right circumstances! We see just as many Labrador Retrievers, Poodles, mixed breeds, and everything in between that deliver just as vicious of a bite as the common "dangerous breeds". Having said that we also see lots of the "dangerous breeds" that want nothing more than to wiggle at us and kiss us.

Some statistics:
  • About 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year.
  • 1 in 5 of those bitten require medical attention.
  • Children and senior citizens are most likely to be bitten.
  • Adult males are more likely to be bitten than adult females.
  • People with dogs in the home are more likely to be bitten.  The risk increases as the number of dogs in the household increases.

How to read a dog’s body language:
Dogs don’t just bite out of the blue- they always give some warning that they are uncomfortable with their current situation.  As the human, it is our job to learn these signs, and to not engage in activity with the dog that may make it feel threatened.  Although getting in a dogs face to give it “kissies” may seem like a friendly behavior to you, many dog’s perceive this behavior as a threat to it’s wellbeing.
The best thing you can do to avoid being bitten is to learn “doggie language”.

Always use extreme caution when handling a dog that is in pain.  These dogs have no other way to tell us they hurt except to say “don’t touch me there!” with a bite.  If you must handle a painful or injured dog that is trying to bite you, a quick temporary muzzle can be made using a shoelace tied around the snout so the dog can’t open it’s mouth.  Be sure to remove the muzzle as soon as you are done handling the dog.  Dog’s cool themselves by panting and won’t be able to pant with a muzzle on, risking hyperthermia (over-heating).

Some things you can do that will help prevent a dog bite:
  • Have your dog spayed or neutered.
  • Never leave infants and children alone with a dog.
  • Properly train your dog from the get-go to be a good canine citizen.  If your dog shows signs of aggressive or dominant behaviors, seek professional help.
  • Avoid direct eye contact with dogs.
  • Do not try to pet a strange dog without asking permission from the owner first.  Let the dog sniff your hand and watch for acceptance before petting the dog.  If the dog shows any of the signs of anxiety in the above diagram, slowly return your hand to your side.