HUMMELSTOWN, Pa., May 16, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is hosting its annual Dog Bite Prevention Week in order to bring awareness to the almost 5 million dog bites that occur per year across the nation.
Teaching children how to interact with dogs—even if you don't own one—can go a long way in preventing injury. Kids aged 5-9 years old are most often the ones injured, and usually the dog that bit them is not a stranger. The AVMA estimates that of the children under the age of 18 who have been bitten, family dogs are responsible for 30% of the bites, while the neighbor's dog is resonsible for another 50% of the bites.
PVMA veterinarian Dr. Bryan Langlois recommends, "Always prevent toddlers and young children from playing around or going near your dog's food and water bowl. Some dogs can become food possessive and bite or attack your child in defense of his/her food. The same caution should be taken with toys, treats, or rawhides."
Tips from the AVMA include:
- Carefully select your pet. Puppies should not be obtained on impulse.
- Make sure your pet is socialized as a puppy so it feels relaxed around people and animals.
- Don't put your dog in a position where it feels threatened or teased.
- Train your dog. Basic commands help dogs understand what is expected of them and can be incorporated into fun activities that build a bond of trust.
- Walk and exercise your dog regularly to keep it healthy and provide mental stimulation.
- Avoid highly excitable games like wrestling or tug-of-war.
- Use a leash in public to ensure you are able to control your dog.
- Keep your dog vaccinated against rabies and preventable infectious diseases. Parasite control and other health care are important because how your dog feels affects how it behaves.
- Neuter your pet.
- Make sure gates are secure.
For more information on dog bite prevention, visit http://www.avma.org/public_health/dogbite/ for helpful tips and resources for the whole family.
The Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA) is the only statewide professional organization of over 2,200 veterinarians from across the Commonwealth. The association, which was established in 1883, strives to advance animal welfare and human health while ensuring the vitality of the veterinary profession. PVMA's website is available at www.pavma.org.
SOURCE Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA)