I never worried about how my dog would do when I had a baby. Pugs are known for their laid-back nature and kid friendliness. But even though the dog and baby are as thick as thieves (see picture at left), I do my best not to get complacent. After all, all dogs can bite if provoked. And as my daughter gets more mobile, I do have to watch the tail pulling and leg grabbing very closely to avoid any unfortunate incidents.
It’s estimated that 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs every year. Children are the most common victims, with about 600,000 children requiring medical attention for dog bites. Yowch. But the good news is that most dog bites are entirely preventable through training, proper control of dogs and education. So in celebration of National Dog Bite Prevention Week, I thought I’d do my part in sharing these great tips!
Dog Bite Prevention Tips
- Choose wisely. Pick a dog that is good match for your home. Consult your veterinarian for details.
- Socialize your pet. Gradually expose your puppy to a variety of people and other animals so it feels at ease in these situations; continue this exposure as your dog gets older.
- Train your dog. Commands can build a bond of obedience and trust between the dog and owner. Avoid aggressive games with your dog.
- Visit the vet. Vaccinate your dog against rabies and other diseases.
- Get fixed. Neuter or spay your dog. These dogs are less likely to bite.
- Be the supervisor. Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
- Always ask. Teach your child to ask a dog owner for permission before petting any dog.
- Stranger danger. Let a strange dog sniff you or your child before touching it, and pet it gently, avoiding the face and tail.
- Off limits. Never allow a child to bother a dog if it is sleeping, eating or caring for puppies.
- Slow it down. Do not run past a dog.
- If a dog threatens you, remain calm. Avoid eye contact. Stand still or back away slowly until the dog leaves. If you are knocked down, curl into a ball and protect your face with your arms and fists. Teach your kids to do the same.
If you or your child should get bitten, request proof of rabies vaccination from the dog owner, get the owner’s name and contact information, and contact the dog’s veterinarian to check vaccination records. Then immediately consult with your doctor. Clean bite wounds with soap and water as soon as possible. If someone is bleeding from a bite wound, apply pressure with a clean bandage or towel to stop the bleeding before washing, and immediately take the person to a doctor or emergency room.
Now I’ve got the dog safety down pat. If I could only figure out how to avoid the toy sharing between these two… —Erin