10909 Indian Head HighwayFort Washington, MD 20744(301) 292-1150(301) 292-1056

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Regrettably, animal bites occur all too frequently. There are more than 4 million reported animal bites per year. Approximately 1,000,000 animal bites require medical attention and the vast majority of these are children. Children under the age of 12 are most prone to serious injury to the face and eyes because their face is closer to the pet's teeth.

Preventing animal bites begins with selecting the right pet, training him properly, and teaching your child about proper handling of the animals. Some animals are born very shy, aggressive, or dominating... these animals may be pretty or you may feel sorry for them because they are off by themselves... but do not select them.

Remember, you are selecting a pet for your children. Make sure your new pet likes children. Let them visit with the pet. If the pet shies away from your children, look for a friendlier one. You want a healthy, clean, friendly, well-adjusted pet for your family. Do not select an animal because he is pretty or you feel sorry for him.

Teach your children about the kind treatment of animals and the appropriate interaction with your new pet. If you get a puppy, plenty of exercise and obedience training will help him remain well adjusted. Dogs that are left alone or tied-up in the back yard are more likely to develop behavioral problems including biting.

Here are some tips on how to prevent dog bites:

  1. Obedience training will reinforce good behavior. Your dog should be willing to please you and consistently respond correctly to commands.
  2. Positive reinforcement training will bring out the best in your dog. Physical punishment for inappropriate behavior may elicit an aggressive response.
  3. Seek professional advice from your veterinarian if you have concerns about your dog's behavior.
  4. Learn to read your dog's body language.
  5. Your dog's demeanor may change with illness or pain. Be careful when approaching an injured or frightened dog.
  6. Rabies vaccination must be kept current
  7. Dogs are territorial. DO Not try to pet a dog that is confined to a pen, behind a fence, tied up, or in a parked car.
  8. Do not allow people to approach your dog if he is confined to your yard or car and don't allow people to pet your confined dog even if your dog knows that person.
  9. DON'T try to intervene when two dogs are fighting. DO try to distract them with a noisemaker, water, etc. DO prevent dog-to-dog aggression by watching for behavior that precedes aggression such as staring at each other.
  10. DON'T use physical punishment for inappropriate behavior.
  11. DON'T stare at a dog (avoid eye contact.)
  12. DON'T allow your dog to run off leash without supervision.
  13. DON'T approach stray dogs.
  14. DO, if a dog approaches you, stand still with hands at side and feet together, or lay on the ground with knees tucked to chest with a fist over each ear. Remain very still and quiet.
  15. DO construct outdoor kennels sturdy enough to keep your dog in and other dogs/animals out.

 

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