May 19-25, 2013 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. Here are some ways you can prevent dog bites.
1. Plan ahead before acquiring a new dog. Do some research and know what breeds are the most suitable to bring into your household. Some dogs, especially with a history of aggression, may not be suitable for a household with small children.
2. Be sure to spay or neuter your dog. This will help to reduce aggressive tendencies.
3. Children should be taught how to act appropriately around dogs. Teach them to always ask permission before petting an unfamiliar dog, and to not insist on playing with a dog who is not up to playing. Never leave infants or young children alone with a dog.
4. Spend time training and socializing your dog. Teach him submissive behaviors so he understands that you are the leader. Train him when very young to not growl or snap if you are near his food bowl. Teach him to drop toys and objects on command so you do not have to reach into his mouth. Seek the help of a professional traine r if necessary.
5. Don't pet a dog - even your own - without letting her see and sniff you first. Never surprise a dog and touch when she's not expecting it.
6. Play non-aggressive games such as fetch. Aggressive games such as tug-of-war or wrestling could encourage inappropriate behavior.
7. Avoid disturbing a dog while she is sleeping, eating, chewing on a bone, or caring for young. They may become protective.
8. Do not approach an unfamiliar dog, especially one that is tied up, behind a fence or in a car. They consider that their property and will instinctively want to protect it.
9. If a loose or unfamiliar dog approaches you, remain motionless ("like a tree"), with your hands to your side, and look away. Avoid direct eye contact as this could be interpreted as a challenge or threat. Remain still until the dog loses interest in you, or toss an object away from you and away from the dog to direct his attention away from you, then slowly turn and walk away. Never run from an unfamiliar or threatening dog. They will instinctively chase you as if you were prey.
10. Be careful when moving an injured dog. A dog in pain may lash out, even at a friendly or familiar person. Seek the help of a veterinarian or your local animal control officer or dog warden. If you must move the dog yourself, wear heavy gloves if possible, or cover his head with a shirt or coat to help calm him.
Remember that under certain circumstances any dog is capable of biting, regardless of breed or size.
If you are bitten by a dog, immediately wash the wound with warm, soapy water, contact your physician for further instructions, and immediately report the dog to animal control.
Sources: http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Dog-Bites/biteprevention.html ; http://www.akc.org/insurance/tips_dogbites.cfm ; http://www.wikihow.com/Prevent-Dog-Bites ; http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/dogs/tips/avoid_dog_bites.html
Education is the first step in pet poison prevention.
Pet owners should take the time to educate themselves on the various, sometimes unexpected, pet poisons in their environments. The Pet Poison Helpline provides an extensive list of poisonous items for pet owners to be aware of, but here are a few of the most common items seen by veterinarians:
Many people believe certain dog breed, such as huskies and malamutes, are capable of living outside all of the time because of their thick coats. However, no dog breed should be consistently left unprotected outside. According to the City of Cincinnati, when the temperature is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, a pet owner should not leave their dog outside for longer than sixty minutes without adequate shelter. For outside dogs, owners should provide a warm, dry, draft free shelter with fresh, unfrozen water. Heated water bowls are a great option to ensure consistent access to unfrozen water. Owners should also feed their outdoor dogs more during the winter because their bodies use more energy trying to keep warm. In 2016, the City of Cincinnati passed an ordinance with further restrictions and shelter guidelines for dog tethering and weather conditions, which can be found by clicking here
A common winter hazard that vets encounter consistently with cats is engine belt injuries. Cats will climb into cars to keep warm, and without knowing they’re there, people will start their cars and harm the cats. Before starting your car in the winter, it’s advised to give the car hood a few raps to make sure there are no cats cozied up inside.
Pets start an estimated 1,000 fires per year. While this isn’t a huge number, it’s easily preventable. Pet owners should identify the risks in their home and make sure they’re contained from pets. Risks to consider include, open flames such as candles, space heaters, stovetops, fireplaces, and frayed wires chewed by puppies.
Even if all fire hazards are contained from pets, there’s still always a chance of a house fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) , there’s a home fire reported every 86 seconds in the United States. So while the hope is that you and your pets never have to face a fire, it’s important to have a plan.
In case of a fire, pet owners should hang window clings that let firefighters know there’s a pet in the home. The ASPCA offers a free Pet Fire Safety Pack that includes a window decal. When leaving home, pet owners should know where their pets are and keep them close to exits if possible. Pet owners should also consider investing in monitored smoke detectors that alert homeowners of a fire when they’re not home and automatically dispatch firefighters.
Getting your dog microchipped is an easy and relatively inexpensive procedure that drastically increases the odds that your pet will find its way home if it’s ever lost. A microchip is a tiny chip that’s about the size of a grain of rice and contains a unique identification number. It’s injected into a pet’s skin between the shoulder blades on their back. When scanned with an electric scanner, the chip will show the unique identification number and manufacturer of the microchip. This unique identification number will be linked to the pet owner’s contact information in the microchip manufacturer’s database.
If a stranger ever finds your dog, a shelter or veterinarian can scan your pet for a microchip. Once they have the identification number and manufacturer from the chip reading, they will call the manufacturer in search of the pet owner’s contact information. Therefore, if a dog owner moves or changes their contact information, it’s extremely important for them to update the contact information associated with their pet’s microchip identification number.