National Dog Bite Prevention Week is the third full week of May each year, and focuses on educating the general public as well as pet owners about preventing dog bites.
Every year, almost 5 million people are bitten by dogs and most of those bitten are children. Preventing dog bites is everyone’s responsibility, and simple measures can be very effective.
According to the ASPCA a person is roughly 23 times more likely to be injured from a fall than from a dog bite, 12 times more likely to be injured by a car, 7 times more likely to be injured by a sharp object and 1.5 times more likely to be injured by a bicycle.
To reduce the number of injuries from dog bites, all people, adults as well as children, need be educated about bite prevention, and dog owners should practice responsible dog ownership.
ANY DOG CAN BITE! It does not matter what size the dog is, how old it is, what breed it is or it’s previous behavior or temperament. Educating parents and children about proper dog safety can help reduce the potential risk of a dog bite.
“Illinois was the second highest state with dog bite claims,” says Gwen Brooks, State Farm owner, agent. Those statistics are based on claims from one insurance company, State Farm. Illinois had 337 bites claims. State Farm paid out $9 million. Based on population, Illinois should be at the top of that list. There were 2-point-6 dog bites per 100-thousand people. Agents say about half of state farms claims covered children who were hurt.
Dogs and insurance have been at odds for years and, because of some extremely bad claims situations, some carriers maintain lists of restricted breeds—breeds the carriers would not place homeowners’ coverage on due to perceived aggressive tendencies. According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), claims related to dog bites cost the insurance industry $317 million in 2005 and $356.2 million in 2007, a significant increase. As a result, insurers may increase premiums and in many cases exclude specific breeds like Rottweilers, German shepherds, and pit bulls from coverage altogether. A total of 32 states have instituted a dog bite statute. A lot of people assume they are covered for their dog under their home owners insurance but every company is different. Some do not cover certain breeds and other require you notify your insurer so it is included in the policy.
During National Dog Bite Prevention Week the public is educated on ways dog owners can make sure a bite does not happen.
- Never let your dog roam on its own without being on a leash and make sure your pet gets proper training.
- It’s very important for pet owners to socialize their dog around other animals, other people so that the world isn’t frightening for them.
- A dog will bite if it’s scared so listen to your pet. If it is growling or seems afraid of a person or object do not force the animal to interact.
- Pet owners need to protect their pets and not put them in a situation where they feel threatened where they have to protect themselves.
- Pay attention to the dog’s body language. Put a safe amount of space between yourself and a dog if you see the signals indicating that the dog is uncomfortable and might feel the need to bite.
- Train your dog by teaching it at least the basic commands: “sit,” “down,” “stay,” “heel,” and “come.”
- Be cautious when introducing your dog to new situations.
- Small children should never be left unsupervised with a pet.
- Respect a dog’s space. Keep your hands away from a dog’s fence. A dog considers its yard personal property and may growl or bite to protect it.
- Avoid aggressive games.
- Spay or neuter your dog. This reduces aggression in dogs.
Pet sitters and dog walkers also need to be well educated of what to look for in a potential dog bite situation. Since they are often the ones who are caring for dogs while their owners are out of town or at work. The pet sitter or dog walker needs to know the dogs personality & traits that they are caring for. They also should be aware & ask about the other dogs in the neighborhood. Are there any houses to particularly avoid walking past? And parks children play at they should avoid? Jogging paths and dog parks are also good places for Pet sitters and dog walkers to avoid. In a preventative manner to avoid the potential for a bad situation with other dogs or around strangers who could be running, jogging or passing by.
National Dog Bite Prevention Week should really be practiced on a constant daily basis. It is part of being a responsible dog owner. But as a civilian who does not own as dog, being aware of your surroundings is also important. National Dog Bite Prevention Week is to prevent everyone – adults, childen & senior citizens from a dog bite situation.
There are lot lot of articles and associations that promote National Dog Bite Prevention week and have excellent articles & information about it.