It’s National Dog Bite Prevention Week! In 2021, this event lasts from April 11–April 17. Generally speaking, it takes place during the second week of April every year.National Dog Bite Prevention Week was established by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Its purpose is to raise awareness of dog bite issues and teach proper safety behavior around pets, especially dogs.
State Farm’s information regarding insurance claims shows that there were 3,185 claims of dog bites in 2020, which cost them upwards of $853 million. On a monthly scale, March 2020 had the most cases. Since the start of the pandemic, dog bite occurrences have increased by 300%.
Thankfully, though, dog bites are relatively easy to avoid. Just follow some safety guidelines. In celebration of National Dog Bite Prevention Week, we bring you some tips for exactly that:
- Be patient with socialization. Dogs have been isolated for a long time too, and suddenly having other dogs and people around will be overwhelming. So, increase the interactions gradually to keep the stress levels to a minimum, and give your dog plenty of praise.
- Work on your skills as a trainer. Maintain consistent communication with your dog so that it doesn’t become antisocial, and learn about positive reinforcement training methods.
- Take care of your pet’s health. A dog that’s sick or hurt is much more likely to lash out and bite. Regular vet visits are a must. A simple physical exam shouldn’t cost you more than $45-$55. Also, inform your vet of any changes you notice in your dog’s behavior.
- When around other people and their dogs, respect their boundaries (both the owners’ and the dogs’). Don’t approach any dog without the owner’s permission. If they tell you not to pet their dog in a certain way, respect that.
- Pay attention to the signals that the dog gives out. Sometimes they just don’t want to be petted or have any interaction with us at all. If the dog seems unfriendly or uninterested, just back away and leave it alone.
Also, now that people are going back to work and school, pets are at risk of developing separation anxiety. That might make them more aggressive than usual.
Therefore, be extra patient and kind to your dog, especially if you adopted it during the lockdown. They need to learn that quarantine isn’t what everyday life looks like.
Why not make it a challenge for yourself? This National Dog Bite Prevention Week, do one thing every day to reduce the risk of a dog bite, and spread the word!