May 19-25 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week, recognized by numerous pet and consumer advocacy organizations, such as the American Kennel Club and the American Veterinary Medical Association. Most dog bites occur in the home. More than likely, your four-legged best friend doesn’t mean to hurt you, but might get carried away during playtime and accidentally nip you. Other dogs, especially small ones, will nip at you for attention, and puppies may use you for teething.

 

There are a variety of ways to avoid dog bites, such as never approaching an unfamiliar dog, discouraging children from playing with them at inappropriate times - like when they're sleeping, eating, chewing on toys or caring for puppies. Start by being polite and respecting the dog's personal space. Never approach an unfamiliar dog, especially one who's tied or confined behind a fence or in a car. Always assume that a dog who doesn't know you may see you as an intruder or a threat. Don't pet a dog—even your own—without letting him see and sniff you first. Here are some tips for reducing the chances of getting bitten. Avoid Aggressive Games: If you start playing energetic games such as wrestling on the ground with your dog, you may be accidentally bitten. You have to remember, your pet does not have hands so they use their mouth to grip things. Teach your dog certain commands so they understand to stop and listen.

 

Spay/Neuter/Vaccinate Your Dog: Not only is this a good idea for population control, it also reduces the excitement and or aggression in dogs. Vaccines are to help prevent many illnesses that affect your pets. Do Not Leave Small Children Unattended with dogs: Leaving dogs and little children or babies alone together with dogs can have tragic consequences. There have been many stories with family pets trying to play with the baby or children and the children got hurt. Toddlers and babies are just learning to poke or hit, when that begins, it could provoke the dog to bite.

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