Every year there are 4.7 million people across the U.S. who suffer personal injuries as the result of a dog bite. Unfortunately, those victims are often children. Estimates say that children aged 13 and under make up more than half of those victims. Dog bites are preventable.
The Humane Society says that many children passionately love dogs, but they should also learn to love them with caution.
Here are eight simple steps to help prevent dog bites:
1. Before you pet a person’s dog, you should ask permission from its caretaker. If he/she says that it is alright, approach the dog slowly and quietly and allow it to sniff you first. Then gently pet the dog’s sides or back.
2. Never sneak up on an eating or sleeping dog. A startled or frightened animal is much more likely to bite.
3. Never attempt to pet a dog while it is playing with a toy. Dogs tend to be protective or their toys, and may believe that a child is attempting to take it from them.
4. Never attempt to pet a dog that is inside of a vehicle. Dogs will typically be protective of that space.
5. Never attempt to pet a dog behind a fence. Dogs typically have a natural instinct to protect their property and home.
If a child is approached by a strange dog, he/she should follow these tips:
6. If you are walking, stop and stand still with your hands at your side.
7. If you are playing on the ground, lie still on the ground with your knees tucked into your stomach and your hands over your ears. If you remain still and quiet, the dog will more than likely just sniff you and move on.
8. Never, ever attempt to outrun a dog. Instead, you should slowly back away from it.