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5 Safety tips for National Dog Bite Prevention Week that clients need to hear
National Dog Bite Prevention Week is the perfect opportunity to educate pet parents on important safety issues.
For National Dog Bite Prevention Week, Veterinary Emergency and Referral Group (VERG) has released a list of bite prevention safety tips designed for pet parents. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), a majority of the millions of dog bites that occur each year are preventable.1
These tips serve as a great topic of conversation for client education, promoting a safer environment for both dog owners and their beloved companions.
The dog bite prevention tips from VERG are as follows2:
1. Show the back of your hand.
Before petting a dog, especially one you are just meeting, showing the back of your hand first for the dog to sniff is important; smelling your hand allows for a dog to get an introduction and decide if it would like to be pet or not.
2. Do not leave your dog unattended.
Any dog is capable of acting out, and chances of such an event happening increase when your dog is surrounded only by strangers. If you are in an environment where new people are meeting your dog, be sure to be close by to provide your dog with familiarity and not make it feel cornered by strangers.
3. Do not leave a child alone with a dog.
Pet owners may trust their canines to be passive, but they must always be on guard when children are around. Dogs can react violently for a variety of reasons. Dogs have the ability to cause more physical damage to a child because of their size and lack of strength compared to adults.
4. Do not run up to a dog.
Children often run up to dogs because of their energy and excitement, so if you see children approaching, be sure to stand in between your dog and children as they approach. If your dog scares easily or has a particular way of meeting people, be sure to relay this to approaching children. If there is the smallest concern your dog could become easily provoked, ask the children not to interact with the dog for their own safety.
5. Always ask, “May I pet your dog?”
It’s important to remember that every new dog you meet is a stranger. If the behavioral characteristics of a dog are unknown, the first thing you should do is ask the owner if the dog is ok to pet, even if the dog is showing signs of affection.
“Whether you’re a dog owner or just an admirer, everyone can benefit from learning about dog bite prevention tactics,” said Brett Levitzke, DVM, chief medical officer at VERG, who has been practicing in veterinary medicine for more than 20 years. “Knowing how to approach an unfamiliar dog or warn others of your dog’s behavioral issues may just be the action that prevents you or someone else from being bitten unnecessarily.”
Levitiske shared another tip about how the dog’s health and wellbeing can affect their inclination to bite. “Dogs with health or pain issues often bite to protect themselves,” said Levitiske. “If you notice your dog is more aggressive than usual, take your dog in for a checkup, as this may be an indicator that your dog is feeling unwell.”
The AVMA created National Dog Bite Prevention Week to spread awareness and encourage those interacting with dogs to take proactive measures to prevent such accidents. According to AVMA, more than 4.5 million people, many of whom are children, are bitten by dogs every year.3
- Brooklyn emergency animal hospital shares safety tips during National Dog Bite Prevention Week. News release. Veterinary Emergency & Referral Group (VERG). April 13, 2022.
- National Dog Bite Prevention Week. American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Accessed April 13, 2022. https://www.avma.org/events/national-dog-bite-prevention-week
- For National Dog Bite Prevention Week (April 10-16), experts provide tips to prevent likelihood of bites. News release. American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). April 7, 2022. Accessed April 13, 2022. https://www.avma.org/news/press-releases/national-dog-bite-prevention-week-april-10-16-experts-provide-tips-prevent