National Dog Bite Prevention Week is an annual pet awareness event created to educate people about dog bites and how to prevent them.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, there are 85 million dogs in the United States, with at least one in 38% of households. 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year, most of these incidents involve children.
Sadly, children are also more likely to be severely injured by dog bites. 45.9% of dog bite fatalities over the last two decades were children under the age of 16.
State Farm Insurance reports that there were more dog bite injury claims during March 2020 than in any other month, up 21.6% from March 2019. This increase may be due to changes in our lifestyles and routines during the early days of the pandemic.
The National Dog Bite Prevention Coalition has the following common sense dog bite prevention tips for all of us to keep in mind:
- Keep your pet healthy with regular veterinary checkups. Dogs that are sick or in pain are more likely to bite.
- Give your dog some training refreshers using positive reinforcement techniques.
- Be cautious as you reintroduce your dog to other people and pets as Covid restrictions are lifted. Expose your dog slowly and gradually to places like the dog park and don’t forget to reward good behavior.
- Consider beginning with some low-stress play dates with small groups of familiar dogs and people before bringing your dog out into crowded areas.
- Don’t approach other people’s dogs without asking the owner’s permission first.
- Educate your children on the proper way to interact with dogs. Find some tips on dog safety for children HERE.
You can also show your kids this cute dog safety video from the AVMA!