Protect Your Kids: Summer Days Bring More Dog Bites
As canine researchers will tell you, dog bites usually spike each year during the summer months. This may be due to more children playing outdoors during this time of year and because some dogs become more irritable when forced to spend hours outdoors in high temperatures.
According to one ABC News article, roughly 27% of dog bites are inflicted by family pets — all the remaining ones are imposed by unfamiliar or stray dogs.
You may want to review the following facts and information before speaking with your children and other family members about the threat posed by frightened or aggressive dogs.
General Statistics About Dog Bites
- Parts of bodies most often bitten. Roughly 34% of dog bites are inflicted on a person’s head, neck, and cheeks. About 21% of bites are made to people’s lips. Another 8% of dog bites involve injuries to people’s noses and ears;
- Dog breeds most likely to bite. While many dog owners disagree with this information, the fact remains that pit bulls usually inflict the most harm. The other most dangerous dogs include Akitas, Siberian Huskies, German Shepherds, and Rottweilers. It’s important to note that pit bulls often inflict three times as many bites as Rottweilers each year;
- Dog bites account for one percent (1%) of all nationwide emergency room visits each year. That’s a rather striking number — so please tell your children never to pet an unfamiliar dog — and always to avoid provoking any family pets. Approximately 44,000 facial injuries are included in all of those emergency room trips caused by dog bites each year.
Preventive Measures That Can Help to Reduce Dog Violence
- Keep your pet in the best health possible. Dogs are like many people, when they don’t feel well, they’re much more likely to strike out at others. Be sure your dog receives all recommended annual vaccinations and only let him/her play in safe surroundings. You may want to stop taking your dog to dog parks – simply because some of the more aggressive dogs might influence your calmer pet to change for the worse;
- Provide your pet with his/her own bed and space in your home, if possible. Pets need “down time,” too. Try to have a place in a quiet room where your dog knows s/he can go and catch some much-needed sleep during the day;
- Avoid playing rough with your dog. It can be very hard for canines to disengage suddenly from playing a bit rough with a family member. Never wrestle with a dog one minute – and then expect him/her to play calmly with others.
When an Apparently Aggressive Dog Approaches You or Your Child
The government’s Centers for Disease Control website provides some safety tips for dealing with an aggressive dog. It says that if a dangerous-looking dog approaches you or your child, be prepared to:
- Stay calm and don’t move;
- When a dog knocks you over, roll into a ball – then don’t panic or make any sudden moves;
- Tell the dog to “go home” or say “No” in a deep, firm voice;
- Try to keep your side turned to the dog so you’ll look less aggressive (but watch the dog carefully);
- Wait for the dog to slowly pass by or back away.
We hope you’ll later visit the CDC’s website to review all of the additional safety guidelines for interacting properly with dogs. Finally, be sure always to keep your pet on a leash when walking outside – and always make sure a caring adult is always supervising your children’s outdoor play.