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Dog Bite Prevention Tips

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Parents should never leave a young child unsupervised around any dog, even a dog well-known to their family. The National Dog Bite Prevention Week partners offer the following tips:

Avoiding Attacks

  • Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
  • Don’t run past a dog. The dog’s natural instinct is to chase and catch you.
  • If a dog threatens you, don’t scream. Avoid eye contact. Try to remain motionless until the dog leaves, then back away slowly until the dog is out of sight.
  • Never approach a strange dog, especially one that’s tethered or confined.
  • Don’t disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating or caring for puppies.
  • Anyone wanting to pet a dog should first obtain permission from the owner.
  • Always let a dog see and sniff you before petting the animal.
  • If you believe a dog is about to attack you, try to place something between yourself and the dog, such as a backpack or a bicycle.
  • If you are knocked down by a dog, curl into a ball and protect your face with your hands.

Be a Responsible Dog Owner

  • Obedience training can teach a dog to behave properly and help owners control their dogs.
  • When letter carriers and others who are not familiar with your dog come to your home, keep your dog inside, in another room away from the door.
  • In protecting their territory, dogs may interpret people’s actions as a threat.
  • Spay or neuter your dog. Neutered dogs are less likely to roam.
  • Dogs that receive little attention or handling, or are left tied up for long periods of time, frequently turn into biters.

If Bitten

  • Rinse the bite area with soapy water.
  • Elevate limb(s) that have been bitten.
  • Apply antiseptic lotion or cream. Watch the area for signs of infection for several days after the incident.
  • For deeper bites or puncture wounds, apply pressure with a clean bandage or towel to stop the bleeding. Then wash the wound, dry it and cover with a sterile dressing. Don’t use tape or butterfly bandages to close the wound.
  • It’s a good idea to call your child’s physician because a bite could require antibiotics or a tetanus shot. The doctor also can help you to report the incident.
  • If your child is bitten severely, call 9-1-1 or go to the emergency room.
  • When going to the emergency room, advise the personnel of:
  • your tetanus vaccination status;
  • vaccine status of the dog;
  • who the dog owner is; and,
  • if the dog has bitten before
August 16, 2014

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