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The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has announced its official dates for 2014’s National Dog Bite Prevention Week! Partnering up with the United States Postal Service, the AVMA promotes safety and education for dog owners – and anyone at risk for being bitten, a huge threat for postal workers around the country.
The AVMA provided the following information on their website.
Did you know that …
- 4.7 million people in this country are bitten by dogs every year
- children are by far the most common victims
- 800,000 Americans receive medical attention for dog bites each year
- children are far more likely to be severely injured; approximately 400,000 receive medical attention every year
- 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
There are a number of things that you can do to avoid dog bites, ranging from properly training and socializing your pet to educating your children on how, or if, they should approach a dog. Information is one of the best cures for this public health crisis.
What’s a dog owner to do?
- Carefully select your pet. Puppies should not be obtained on impulse.
- Make sure your pet is socialized as a young puppy so it feels at ease around people and other animals.
- Don’t put your dog in a position where it feels threatened or teased.
- Train your dog. The basic commands “sit,” “stay,” “no,” and “come” help dogs understand what is expected of them and can be incorporated into fun activities that build a bond of trust between pets and people.
- Walk and exercise your dog regularly to keep it healthy and provide mental stimulation.
- Avoid highly excitable games like wrestling or tug-of-war.
- Use a leash in public to ensure you are able to control your dog.
- Keep your dog healthy. Have your dog vaccinated against rabies and preventable infectious diseases. Parasite control and other health care are important because how your dog feels affects how it behaves.
- Neuter your pet.
- If you have a fenced yard, make sure the gates are secure.
How can you protect your family?
- Be cautious around strange dogs, and treat your own pet with respect. Because children are the most common victims of dog bites, parents and caregivers should:
- NEVER leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
- Be alert for potentially dangerous situations.
- Teach their children – including toddlers – to be careful around pets. Children must learn not to approach strange dogs or try to pet dogs through fences. Teach children to ask permission from the dog’s owner before petting the dog.
Additionally, the AVMA created a Facebook page to share education, facts, and safety tips with its fans during the week. Make use of the tips above and join in the cause to prevent dangerous dog bites by being a responsible, educated dog owner.