Simple reminders to veterinary clients about responsible pet ownership go a long way.
Let's face it—after countless close calls in your exam room over the years, you've learned a thing or two about how to avoid dog bites. But how often do you remind your clients of their role in preventing dog bites? May 20 starts National Dog Bite Prevention Week, so it's a great time to stress the importance of safety and make sure your clients are doing their part to keep the peace.
Since most dog bite cases involve children and a familiar dog—even the family dog—it's important that you educate your clients not only about how to prevent a dog bite, but also how to be more responsible pet owners in order to keep their family and others safe.
Here are some tips for clients from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA):
> Don't be impulsive when adding a new dog to the family—do some research. Consult your veterinarian for advice about breed and temperament selection.
> Begin socializing your new dog immediately. Teach simple commands, such as "sit," "stay," "no," and "come." Make sure the new dog interacts with children, adults, and other animals.
> Expose the new pooch to exercise with frequent walks. Games are fine too, but avoid ones like wrestling or tug-of-war, which can quickly become outlets for aggression.
> Teach your dog how to walk on a leash in public. A dog owner must be able to control his or her dog, especially when encountering another person or animal.
> Get your dog spayed or neutered and keep him or her up-to-date on wellness exams, vaccinations, and parasite control. A healthy pet feels better and is more likely to behave better. And that makes for a happier family.