In addition to being painful and potentially disfiguring, dog bites can spread dangerous diseases, such as rabies or tetanus. Therefore, you and your family should avoid them if possible.
You may think that the greatest risk of a dog bite comes from animals that you do not know, such as strays. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most dog bites come from family pets or dogs that are otherwise familiar. Therefore, you should know how to prevent dog bites from your pets as well as strange animals.
How can you prevent bites from strange dogs?
Do not approach dogs that are running loose or are unfamiliar to you. They may look healthy or seem friendly, but you cannot tell just by looking. If you see a dog that you think may be in trouble, call animal control.
Before petting a dog belonging to someone else, ask the owner for permission. Allow the dog to sniff you before reaching out your hand to pet it. Stop petting a dog that seems angry or scared.
If a new dog approaches you, stay calm and still. Do not panic or make a lot of noise. Avoid direct eye contact. If you do not want to interact with a dog, use a firm, deep voice to say “no” at a moderate volume. To avoid taking an aggressive stance, carefully position yourself so that your side is facing the dog. Keep your movements slow and fluid.
How can you prevent your dog from biting?
Avoid roughhousing with your dog and do not encourage aggressive play. Do not disturb your dog while it is sleeping or eating. Socialize your dog properly and supervise your children while they play with it.
Some of the rules for preventing your dogs from biting may also apply to the pets of friends or family members. Teach your children the rules for preventing bites from both strange and familiar dogs.