This year, April 8-14, 2018, is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. This is a week centered around awareness, education, and safety.
National Dog Bite Prevention Week is a Safety Oriented Event.
National Dog Bite Prevention Week is a chance for everyone to increase their awareness and understanding.
There is a saying, “70 million nice dogs…but any dog can bite.”
That statement certainly has the ring of truth. Especially, since almost every dog owner will tell you, “my dog is nice” or “don’t worry he won’t bite.”
National Dog Bite Prevention Week is All About Safety.
By some estimations, there are 70 million dogs living in U.S. households. Some census reports put the dog population living in U.S. households at almost 80 million.
Nonetheless, we can all agree that we love our dogs.
However, there are of course millions of people living in those same households as well. Most of which are children.
An Ounce of Prevention is Still Worth a Pound of Cure.
According to the ASPCA, there are approximately 4.5 million reported dog bites per year.
The majority of these dog bites, if not all, are preventable.
That is at the heart of National Dog Bite Prevention Week.
National Dog Bite Prevention Week is About Making Communities Safer.
Prevent The Bite reports that according to the Center for Disease Control, dog bites were the 11th leading cause of nonfatal injury to children ages 1 to 4.
It also states that dog bites are the 9th leading cause of nonfatal injury to children ages 5 to 9 and 10th for ages 10 to 14 from 2003 to 2012.
These are some seriously thought-provoking statistics. It paints a clear picture that collectively, we need to do a better job at keeping our children safe.
Dog Bite Prevention is Everyone’s Responsibility.
The Insurance Information Institute estimates that in 2013 alone, insurers across the country paid over $483 million in dog bite claims.
These estimates have remained steady or increased each and every year since.
National Dog Bite Prevention Week shines a bright spotlight on the seriousness associated with dog bites. A dog bite can lead to the loss of wages, limbs, and even your life.
National Dog Bite Prevention Week Provides You with the Opportunity to be Informed.
The American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery released an alarming report on the number of reconstructive procedures performed in a single year.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 26,935 reconstructive procedures were performed to repair injuries caused by dog bites.
That is a lot of unnecessary surgeries and recovery time that could have been avoided. Not to mention, the unnecessary expenditures and insurance claims.
Knowledge is Power and Knowing, in this Case, can Save You Unnecessary Pain and Suffering.
Knowing how to avoid possible situations like dog bites is as easy as taking the time to educate yourself.
No one is exempt from the need to be informed or educated on how not to get bit.
Case in point, the U.S. Postal Service reports that 5,581 postal employees were attacked by dogs in a single year.
National Dog Bite Prevention Week Brings Awareness to the Statistics No One is Thinking About.
Children, elderly, and postal carriers are the most frequent victims of dog bites.
The American Humane Association reports that 66% of bites among children occur to the head and neck.
These are some truly alarming statistics. Even though, no one ever really takes the time to think about these stats, until they are bit.
Avoidance of a Dog Bite is the Point of Emphasis.
In that lies the problem, because prevention is the key and that is what this week is centered around.
Dog bites are no laughing matter and due to the enormous cost, it imposes on our society, it is being called a public health crisis.
Dog bites can be avoided most of the time, but it does require planning, education, and vigilance.
Things You can do to Decrease Your Chances of Getting Bit.
On behalf of the dog and its owner, it starts with socialization.
Socialization is the process of preparing a dog to enjoy interactions and be comfortable with other animals, people, places, and activities.
The professionals in the field of animal behavior all agree that this is most effective if started at an early age.
Tips on How to Socialize Your New Puppy.
When adopting a new puppy, be sure to ask for a pre- and post-adoption socialization plan.
Secondly, create a socialization plan specifically for your dog to prepare them for life in your household.
In addition, plan exposures to the animals, individuals, environments, activities, and objects that will be part of their new life.
More Tips and Advice on Socialization.
Finally, provide regular positive and diverse experiences to encourage your dog to enjoy new experiences without becoming fearful or aggressive.
Also, be sure to provide praise, play, and treats to reward engagement. It is advised that you allow your dog to withdraw if they do become uncomfortable.
Move at a pace appropriate for your pet’s personality. It is highly recommended that your puppy attend socialization classes.
In Most Cases, Dog Bite Prevention is a Two-way Street.
The consensus is, most dog bites occur due to some form of provocation.
In summary, this is where we can do a better job ourselves to help prevent such situations.
This, of course, requires some planning and definitely more education on how we should interact with dogs.
Tips to Help Kids Understand the Importance of Respecting Dogs and Avoiding Bites.
First of all, avoid any unknown dog.
If they see a dog they do not know and it is wandering around unsupervised, avoid it. They should also consider leaving the area and possibly alerting animal control.
When the owner is with their dog, always ask the owner for permission to pet their dog. Never pet a dog without asking first, even if it is a dog they know.
More Tips to Keep You and Your Child Safe.
Teach children to confidently and quietly walk away if they are confronted by an aggressive dog.
In addition, instruct them to stand still if a dog goes after them and then take a defensive position.
It often helps to tell them to, “be a tree” and stand quietly.
Ways to Help Protect Your Child if They are Attacked by a Dog.
They should also have their hands low and clasped in front of them, remain still and keep their head down as if looking at their feet.
If they are knocked down, teach them to cover their head and neck with their arms and curl into a ball.
Teach children to avoid escalating the situation by yelling, running, hitting or making sudden movements toward the dog.
National Dog Bite Prevention Week is at the Center of Safety.
You Should also teach children that if a dog goes to bed or to their crate, don’t bother them.
Be sure to emphasize the idea that the bed or crate is the dog’s space to be left alone.
A dog needs a comfortable, safe place where the child never goes. If you are using a crate, make sure it is covered with a blanket. and near a family area.
Dog Bites can be Prevented if You Know What Not to Do.
This can be in your living room or another area of your home where the family frequently spends time.
Do not isolate your dog or their crate, because this may accidentally encourage bad behavior.
It is also a good idea to educate children at a level they can understand. Do not automatically expect young children to be able to accurately read a dog’s body language.
Learning Dog Bite Prevention Can Lead to a Life-long Love of Dogs.
Instead, focus on general behavior and the fact that dogs have likes and dislikes.
As your child gets older, this will help them develop a better understanding of dog behavior.
Another miscue to avoid is when to play with a dog. Teach children that the dog has to want to play with them and only then is it okay to play with their dog.
A Well-Informed Child Grows into a Well-Informed Adult.
Trying to make a dog play with them when they do not want to can lead to disaster.
Just reassure your child that when the dog leaves, he leaves and he’ll return for more play if he feels like it.
This is a simple way to allow kids to be able to tell when a dog wants to play and when he does not.
The Dog Bite Statistics Paint an Accurate Picture.
There is a fact-based reason why kids are the ones bit the most.
They just need to be taught how to interact with dogs at an early age.
Doing so just might save their life one day. It is true that not all dog bites can be avoided, but it is certainly safer knowing what to do to avoid it all together.
National Dog Bite Prevention Week Teaches Rules to Live By.
Teach kids never to tease dogs by taking their toys, food or treats.
Children should also be taught to never hit or kick any animal, even if they are pretending.
Teach kids to never pull on a dog’s ears or tail. They should not climb on or try to ride a dog as well.
Vigilance is Key to Continued Dog Enjoyment and Safety.
As a parent or guardian, you should always keep dogs out of infant’s and young children’s rooms. This should only be allowed if there is direct and constant supervision.
As a parent, report stray dogs or dogs that frequently get loose in your neighborhood.
Another important piece of advice is to tell children to leave the dog alone when it is asleep or eating.
More Pertinent Advice to Help Keep You and Your Child Safe.
Sometimes, especially with smaller dogs, some children might try to drag the dog around. That is a definite no-no.
Also, you may want to discourage them from trying to dress up the dog. That may be fine for some dogs, but not for others.
It is better to err on the side of safety because some dogs just do not like to be dressed up.
Always Weigh Your Child’s Readiness for Responsibility.
It is a good idea to not give kids too much responsibility for pets too soon. It is okay if they just are not ready yet.
Always supervise and check on pet care responsibilities given to children to ensure they are being done properly.
Above all, remember; if you get your kids a pet, you are getting yourself a pet, too.
National Dog Bite Prevention Week by the Numbers.
Here is a summary of the known dog and dog bite statistics for you to remember.
There are an estimated 70 million to 80 million dogs living in U.S. households.
36.5% of these homes have at least 1 dog.
More Information You Should be Aware of.
That equates to 1 dog for every 4.5 people in America.
However, 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year.
Of those 4.5 million dog bites, 20% of the victims require medical attention.
Even More Information You Should be Aware of.
In addition, 50% of all reported dog bite victims are male.
Adults with 2 dogs in the household are 5 times more likely to be bitten.
In a reported study, 359, 223 children between the ages of 1 and 14 were bitten from 2010 and 2012.
Statistics Provide an Overall Picture of the Gravity of Dog Bites.
37% of those children were between 5 and 9 years of age.
66% of all dog bite injuries to children 4 years and younger, was to the head and the neck.
These next statistics illustrates the financial strain dog bites have on our society.
So, What is the Cost to Consumers for Dog Bites?
Dog bites accounted for one-third of all homeowner’s liability insurance claims.
This cost when totaled, equal in excess of 600 million dollars.
The average payment by insurers for dog bite claims was $33,230 in 2016 alone.
National Dog Bite Prevention Week Wants You to Remember that Any Dog Can Bite.
Remember to educate yourself, your children, and spread awareness.
National Dog Bite Prevention Week is at the heart of making dog ownership safer.
Stay informed and above all stay safe.