Dog bites are a serious problem. Dog bite victims number from 500,000 to 1 million annually in the United States. Many more bites go unreported and untreated. The startling reality is that children make up more than 60% of all dog bite victims, and often these bites are to the face, neck and head because of the child’s stature.
Fortunately, there are steps we can take to reduce the risk of dog bites.
For your own pet these include:
- Careful selection of your pet for behavior and suitability.
- Socializing your puppy so it becomes used to other people and animals and new situations. An anxious dog can feel threatened and react badly.
- Training your dog in basic obedience commands such as “sit”, “stay”, “no” and “come”.
- Regular veterinary checkups including keeping vaccinations up to date. A dog who feels unwell often exhibits unwanted behaviors.
- Neuter your pet. Neutered dogs are less likely to bite.
- Spend time with your dog and make sure it gets sufficient exercise. Dogs that are frequently left alone for long periods have a greater chance of developing behavior problems.
- Be alert. Know your dog and its warning signals of discomfort and stress.
NEVER LEAVE A BABY OR SMALL CHILD ALONE WITH A DOG.
TEACH YOUNG CHILDREN TO BE CAREFUL AROUND PETS AND NOT TO APPROACH STRANGE DOGS.
IN CASE OF A BITE:
- Restrain the dog immediately and confine it if possible.
- Check on the victim’s condition and wash wounds with soap and water. Seek professional medical advice. Call 911 if a paramedic response is necessary.
- Provide important information about dog ownership, rabies vaccination, names and address of both victim and dog owner if known, description of dog, etc.
- Inform animal control at (518)348-0196. There are protocols in place for quarantine in home to observe the animal for rabies symptoms in order to avoid post exposure rabies shots for the victim.
(For Animal Control bite case purposes a bite is classified as an actual break in the skin.)