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National dog bite prevention week tips to prevent dog bites

Dogs make wonderful loyal and loving pets, but Arizona pet owners may find it interesting to learn that the Centers for Disease Control estimates that about 4.5 million people suffer dog bites annually in the U.S. In fact, according to the Arizona Animal Welfare League, in Arizona an estimated 7,000 emergency room visits are made annually due to dog bite incidents. Additionally, more than half of those who suffer injuries by a dog are children. Furthermore, the well-known insurance company State Farm ranked Arizona 18th in this country for dog bite related injury claims last year.

Although these numbers are daunting, experts believe that most dog bites are preventable. In fact, the AAWL, American Veterinary Medical Association and the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals led the National Dog Bite Prevention week a few weeks ago in May to offer tips to people when near a dog.

The organizers noted that a dog's body language is a good indicator of how the dog will behave or react. Tips offered included always supervising children when they are around a pet - it is important to keep in mind that regardless of the nature of a pet, any pet can bite. It is essential for both children and parents to understand that it is prudent not to disturb a dog that is eating or sleeping. It is also important not to have a child take a toy away from a dog. Although dogs look huggable and cuddly, dogs may not like to be hugged and it is very important to ask an owner first if the dog can be touched.

If a dog is behind a fence, there is a reason for it. It is advised that people not approach a dog that is behind a fence. If an unknown dog were to approach, it is important to stand one's ground, stand still and not look the dog directly in the eyes. Running will only make it worse. By being vigilant, observing simple tips and by educating children and adults alike on the how to behave around dog, the number of dog bites may be reduced.

Source: Tucson News NOW, "Keep kids safe: talk to them about dog safetly - National Dog Bit Prevention Week," Maria Hechanova, May 20, 2015

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Law Office of Keith A. Hammond, P.C.

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