iStock_000013392500_LargeDogs share so many aspects of our lives; they live in our homes, ride in our cars, play with our children, and some even sleep in our beds. For most dog owners, it’s almost inconceivable to imagine our furry best pal biting someone, but the truth is that most dog bite victims are injured by a dog they are familiar with.

An estimated 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States every year, making understanding the principles of dog bite prevention a must for everyone, whether you live with a dog or not.

Dog Bite Prevention: Know The Signs

Understanding what to look for in a dog’s body language is a crucial component in dog bite prevention. This is especially important for young children, who not only make up the majority of dog bite victims, but who are much more likely to be severely injured.

Avoid any dog that is displaying the following signs of anxiety, fear, or aggression, as they may be a precursor to biting:

  • Looking or walking away
  • Growling, baring teeth, barking
  • Fur and/or tail standing on end
  • Stiff stance
  • Ears may be flattened or pushed forward
  • Repeated lip licking or yawning
  • Crouching

How You Can Help

While there is no way to ensure that your dog will never bite anyone, you can reduce the risk significantly:

  • Make sure your dog is properly trained and socialized, beginning at as early an age as possible. If you ever witness your dog displaying aggression toward a human, seek professional guidance from a veterinarian, professional dog trainer, or animal behaviorist right away. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
  • Have your dog spayed or neutered, as this can improve certain behavioral issues such as roaming and the urge to fight.
  • Be a responsible pet owner! Make sure your dog is leashed and wearing a collar with current ID tags when out of the house. Provide your dog with regular veterinary care, including vaccines and parasite preventive medications.
  • Make sure your dog knows he or she is a valued family member. Dogs left chained outside or who are regularly unsupervised for hours on end are more likely to develop anxiety and aggression issues.
  • Educate the children in your lives about safety around dogs. Never allow young children and dogs to play together unsupervised, and make sure kids always ask permission before approaching an unfamiliar dog. If a child sees a dog off-leash outside, he or she should tell an adult right away.

If you are bitten by a dog, please seek medical attention right away, even if the bite does not seem serious. Be prepared to relay as much information as possible to your medical provider about the dog and the incident.

If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to give us a call.