7 tips to prevent likelihood of dog bites

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Dogs are invaluable members of our households and communities, serving as notably necessary sources of love and assist throughout the previous two years of pandemic-related stress and uncertainty. Dog bites, nevertheless, stay a critical public well being danger, with greater than 4.5 million individuals bitten by canine annually within the United States.

During National Dog Bite Prevention Week (April 10-16) within the United States, a coalition of veterinarians, animal behaviour consultants and insurance coverage representatives are urging individuals to perceive the dangers dog bites pose to individuals and different pets, and steps to prevent bites from occurring.

To help in these efforts, members of the National Dog Bite Prevention Week Coalition – which incorporates the American Veterinary Medical Association (Avma), State Farm, Insurance Information Institute (Triple I), American Humane, and dog coach/behaviour knowledgeable Victoria Stilwell – hosted a Facebook Live occasion on April 11.

The occasion, moderated by licensed animal behaviour marketing consultant Steve Dale, mentioned coaching tips to assist prevent bites, how to safely socialise your dog after a interval of isolation, and the way to recognise the warning indicators {that a} dog could chunk.

“From adopting new canine companions, to working from home more often, to having more delivery people coming to the door with packages and meals, many of us have created new home environments and routines over the past two years, all of which can be potentially disruptive to our pets,” says Dr Jose Arce, president of Avma. “But no matter the circumstances, it’s important that we take steps to prepare our dogs for safe interactions inside and outside the home.”

Be your dog’s buddy

(*7*) says Amber Batteiger, catastrophe and cruelty response specialist for American Humane. “It is now up to us to be friends to them, as well, by protecting everyone around us – ourselves, our children, and our dogs – from the dangers and consequences of dog bites.”

Dogs can bite for many reasons, including improper care or a lack of socialisation. All dogs, even well-trained, gentle dogs, are capable of biting when provoked, especially when eating, sleeping or caring for puppies. Therefore, it’s vitally important to keep both children and dogs safe by preventing dog bites wherever possible. The National Dog Bite Prevention Coalition provides the following tips:

> Don’t ever leave children unsupervised with dogs, even family pets. More than 50% of all dog-related injuries are to children, and for kids that are under four years of age, often those bites are to the head and neck region. American Humane offers a free online booklet available for families with children called “Pet Meets Baby”, providing valuable information on introducing a new child to a home with a pet – or a new pet into a home with a child.

> Make sure your pet is healthy. Not all illnesses and injuries are obvious, and dogs are more likely to bite if they are sick or in pain. If you haven’t been to the veterinarian in a while, schedule an appointment for a checkup to discuss your dog’s physical and behavioural health.

> Take it slow. If your dog has been mainly interacting with your family since you brought them home, don’t rush out into crowded areas or dog parks. Try to expose your dogs to new situations slowly and for short periods of time, arrange for low-stress interactions, and give plenty of praise and rewards for good behaviour.

> Educate yourself in positive training techniques and devote time to interact with your dog.

> Be responsible about approaching other people’s pets. Ask permission from the owner before approaching a dog, and look for signs that the dog wants to interact with you. Sometimes dogs want to be left alone, and we need to recognise and respect that.

> Make sure that you are walking your dog on a leash. And recognise changes in your dog’s body language where they may not be comfortable.

> Always monitor your dog’s activity, even when they are in the backyard at your own house, because they can be startled by something, get out of the yard and possibly injure someone or be injured themselves.

“Part of my job as a dog trainer and behaviour expert is to empower people with knowledge about the dogs with whom they share their lives,” mentioned Stilwell, movie star dog coach and behavior knowledgeable. “And it’s this knowledge that not only enriches the relationship between dogs and people, but helps reduce the likelihood of bites from occurring.”

Expensive affair

In addition to potential bodily and emotional damage, dog bites will be expensive.

Janet Ruiz, director of strategic communications on the Insurance Information Institute, reported that in 2021, the quantity of dog chunk and associated damage claims was 17,989, a 2.2% improve from 2020 with the full value of claims at US$882mil (RM3.7bil) and the common value per declare of US$49,025 (RM207,386). The common value per declare decreased for the primary time in 10 years by 1.1% from 2020. California, Florida and Texas had essentially the most claims.

“Education and training for owners and pets is key to keep everyone safe and healthy,” mentioned Ruiz.

In 2021, State Farm paid over US$161mil (RM681mil) for over 3,260 dog-related damage claims. Those could also be dog bites or they is also accidents from a dog by accident pulling somebody down the steps or off a curb.

“As the largest property insurer in the country, State Farm is committed to educating people about pet owner responsibility and how to safely interact with dogs,” mentioned Heather Paul, public affairs specialist at State Farm.

“It is necessary to recognise that any dog, together with ones which are within the dwelling, can chunk or trigger damage. Every dog has a novel character and whereas breed or kind could dictate how they give the impression of being, how a dog reacts isn’t assured by these qualities.”

“While dog bites are a serious public health issue, the good news is that most dog bites are preventable,” mentioned Avma President Dr Arce. “By taking steps to train and properly socialise our dogs, and educate ourselves and loved ones on dog bite prevention, we can help reduce bites and keep dogs in loving homes, where they belong.” – AP


For extra info on stopping dog bites and National Dog Bite Prevention Week, go to AVMA.org/DogBitePrevention.



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