Monday, 29 March 2021 10:58

Preventing Dog Bites

Written by  Dr. Mindy Cohan
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Preventing Dog Bites

Even Major, the First Dog, can wind up in the “dog house” when biting someone unexpectedly. He is not the first misbehaved White House pet. Polly, James and Dolly Madison’s parrot seriously bit the President and attacked many White House visitors. Pete, Teddy Roosevelt’s Bull Terrier and favorite dog, was notorious for biting the ankles of White House visitors. When Pete ripped the pants of the French Ambassador, he was relocated to Sagamore Hill, the Roosevelt home on Long Island.

Why Do Dogs Bite? 

Any dog, no matter how friendly, cute, small or cuddly can bite. It is rare for a dog to bite “out of nowhere” or “all of a sudden.” There is usually an underlying reason that provokes a dog to bite. 

• Reaction to stress

• Feeling scared or threatened

• To protect themselves, their owners or puppies

• If disturbed while not feeling well or sleeping “Let sleeping dogs lie.”

• Dogs may nip or bite while playing. Always avoid engaging in rough play games. 

Each American child has a 50% chance of being bitten by a dog. 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs in the U.S. each year. 

How to Prevent Dog Bites 

• Never approach an unfamiliar dog.

• Do not run from a dog, remain calm and quiet.

• If approached by an unfamiliar dog, stand still, avoid eye contact, do not scream.

• Do not disturb a dog while it is sleeping or eating. Use caution when taking away a toy.

• If knocked to the ground by a dog, tuck into a ball, stay still, cover your ears and neck with your arms and avoid eye contact.

• Never encourage aggressive play behavior.

• Never pet a dog without asking the owner permission first.

• Respect a dog and never pull its ears, or tail and never try to “ride” a dog like a horse.

• Never tease a dog by taking away its food, treats or toys.

• If a dog moves to its bed or crate, it is indicating it wants to be left alone. 

• If a dog is scared from loud noise and is hiding (under a bed, in a crate, in a closet), do not try to pull the dog out!

Most dog bites involve dogs which are not spayed or neutered, so having your pet spayed and neutered will decrease the likelihood of biting incidents.

Parents must teach children how to appropriately approach a strange dog. Some tips include:

1. Always ask permission from the dog owner before approaching a dog.

2. The child should approach the dog slowly and calmly without making any startling sounds.

3. Be sure to approach the dog from the front, allowing him/her to sniff and see the child

4. The child should present a closed fist for the dog to smell, no open fingers

Children should also be taught how to respond when an unfamiliar dog off leash approaches.

1. Never run away from a dog. Dogs perceive this as a game and are more likely to become excited and bite.

2. Avoid eye contact with a potentially aggressive dog and, if possible, back up slowly.

3. If a dog tries to bite, use a stick or other available item to keep between you and the dog. Tossing an object or food will help to distract the dog. If no distractions are available, stand up straight with arms wrapped around your body or tuck yourself in a ball, cover your face, and stay still.

Dog bites can lead to serious infections.   If you or your child is bitten, be sure to seek medical attention.



Read 2900 times Last modified on Monday, 29 March 2021 11:02