- Updated on Tuesday, October 2, 2012, 7:33 pm
Dogs can be a lot of fun. But dogs, like all animals, can bite. Dog bite victims requiring medical attention in the United States number 500,000 to 1 million annually. Countless more bites go unreported and untreated. On average, about a dozen people die each year from dog bites. Even a dog you know, or a dog that seems friendly, can bite.
Children are often the victims of dog bites often they don’t know that dogs can attack. Dogs can also reach children’s faces easily, so the risk for serious injury is greater.
You can help prevent dog bites by learning how to recognize signs of danger:
- A dog that is in pain is more likely to lash out even at its owner.
- Dogs, like people don’t like to be teased. They may respond aggressively.
- Dogs can get overexcited while playing rough or rowdy games.
- Dogs can get aggressive to protect their puppies.
Take precautions, dog’s give warning signs to let you or your child know that they feel threatened or angry a dog will:
- Bark, growl or snarl
- Pull away from someone trying to pet it.
- Stiffen its body and raise its fur.
Responding to an angry dog:
- Don’t run, the dog may think you’re playing and chase you.
- Put something between you and the dog.
- Don’t stare into the dog’s eyes. Dogs will see this as a challenge.
- Don’t scream instead say no. Stay calm.
- If you fall or are knocked to the ground, curl up in a ball. Put your hands over your head and neck.
- Tell an adult after being attacked. Adults should report attacks to the local animal control agency.
Teach your child to:
- Stay away from strange or stray dogs.
- Tell an adult if there’s a strange or stray dog in the neighborhood.
- Avoid going too close to a dog tied in a yard.
- Get an adult if a dog is hurt.
Your child should only pet a dog if:
- A parent is present.
- The dog’s owner says it’s ok.
- The dog acts in a friendly, gentle way.
- Its owner restrains the dog.
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