Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Article Comments

Pet Safety: Dog Bite Awareness And Prevention

It seems that each year, I just miss National Dog Bite Prevention Week, which is the third full week of May. As you know, it’s June already. But can it ever hurt to review such important information?

More than 4.7 million people a year receive bites from man/woman’s best friend. If you have read this blog for very long, you know I dearly love my dogs — deceased ones (Columbo, Ladybug, and Girlfriend) and the living one, Rusty. I have no illusions that dogs bite, and given the right provocation I think mine would (although most of the time they are totally harmless and would just invite you in to rob me).

Most dog bite-related injuries occur in children 5 to 9 years of age. Almost two thirds of injuries among children 4 years or younger are to the head or neck region. Dog bites are a largely preventable public health problem, and adults and children can learn to reduce their chances of being bitten.

Basic safety around dogs:

• Do not approach an unfamiliar dog.

• Do not run from a dog and scream.

• Remain motionless (“be still like a tree”) when approached by an unfamiliar dog.

• If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still (“be still like a log”).

• A child should not play with a dog unless supervised by an adult.

• A child should immediately report stray dogs or dogs displaying unusual behavior to an adult.

• Avoid direct eye contact with a dog.

• Do not disturb a dog who is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.

• Do not a pet a dog without asking permission from its owner first.

• Do not pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first.

Things to consider before adding a dog to your household:

• Learn about suitable breeds of dogs for your household.

• Dogs with histories of aggression are inappropriate in households with children.

• If your child is fearful or apprehensive around dogs, then don’t get one. it will not make the child less fearful.

• Spend time with a dog before buying or adopting it. Use caution when bringing a dog into the home of an infant or toddler.

• Spay/neuter virtually all dogs (this frequently reduces aggressive tendencies).

• Never leave infants or young children alone with any dog.

• Do not play aggressive games with your dog (e.g. wrestling).

• Properly socialize and train any dog entering the household. Teach the dog submissive behaviors (e.g. rolling over to expose abdomen and relinquishing food without growling.

• Immediately seek professional advice (e.g. from veterinarians or animal trainers) if the dog develops aggressive or undesirable behaviors.

*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*


You may also like these posts

Read comments »


Comments are closed.

Return to article »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »