National Dog Bite Prevention Week, held this year from April 10-16. We here to help a little bit educate the public and reduce the estimated 4.5 million dog bites per year.
HISTORY OF NATIONAL DOG BITE PREVENTION WEEK
National Dog Bite Prevention Week emphasizes that although dogs are nice animals, all of them can bite when caught off guard. Getting bitten more than once on one occasion by a dog is called a dog attack. Contrary to popular belief, you shouldn’t only watch out for being bitten by a rabid dog. No matter how cuddly or fuzzy you think your pet is, it could bite you if provoked. A dog’s breed is not the determinant of whether or not it will attack when goaded — it’s dependent on the dog’s history and behavior.
Rabies, the disease that is caused by the bite of a rabid dog and leads to inflammation in the brain, resulting in death, terrorized thousands of civilizations in the early years of its diagnosis. The origin of the word ‘rabies’ is from the Sanskrit word ‘rabhas,’ meaning ‘to do violence,’ as well as from the Latin word ‘rabere,’ meaning ‘to rave.’ The virus that causes rabies is classified in the genus Lyssavirus, which is derived from the ancient Greek word ‘lyssa’ meaning ‘rage.’
The first occurrence of rabies causing death can be traced back to 2300 B.C., found in the Mosaic Esmuna Code of Babylon. The Babylonians were charged with hefty fines if their dogs transmitted rabies to another person or animal. A Roman scholar Celsus, in the first century A.D., discovered that the rabies disease was transmitted to others by the saliva of the biting animal. He went on to reveal a (strange) cure for rabies that involved holding patients underwater — some, of course, died of drowning.
In collaboration with State Farm Insurance, the American Humane association, the Insurance Information Institute, and Victoria Stilwell Positively, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) founded National Dog Bite Prevention Week as a part of a coalition project to raise awareness and teach safety around pets.
HOW TO OBSERVE NATIONAL DOG BITE PREVENTION WEEK
Educate your family and friends
Take this week as an opportunity to educate your friends, families, and neighbors that any dog can bite, regardless of its breed. Teach the people around you that even well-trained dogs are capable of biting, especially if you disturb them while eating or sleeping, or if they are caught off guard, like by a postal carrier.
Be a responsible dog owner
Learn how to be a responsible dog owner. Use this week to map out your responsibilities as a dog owner. Schedule regular veterinary-care check-ups, teach children to treat dogs with respect, give your dog some mental and physical exercise, use a leash in public.
If your dog's anxiety is more continuous rather than situational, like general fearfulness and uneasiness in the home, separation anxiety, or fear of loud or sudden noises, we recommend the calming collar , calming diffuser or Calming Treats for dogs. The calming effects of the pheromones will be present all day long, and will help your dog navigate the day with more confidence, and less stress.
If you have a situational issue, like anxiety during travel or vet visits, the spray is a great option for you, because you can anticipate the stressful situation, and prepare ahead of time!
WHY NATIONAL DOG BITE PREVENTION WEEK IS IMPORTANT
One in every five people bitten by dogs require medical attention
More than 800,000 people every year in the U.S. require proper medical attention after being bitten by dogs for pain relief, treatment against infection, plastic reconstructive surgery, and other treatments to alleviate the complications.
Children are the easiest victims of dog attacks
Out of all dog-bite victims, children aged nine years and younger show the highest rates of being bitten. Those bitten reported nerve damage, facial feature damage, and emotional damage.
Any dog can bite
We need to stop believing that only some dog breeds bite, or only some dog bites can cause severe complications. This week is important to emphasize that it doesn’t matter how gentle a dog looks, it can bite when provoked.
Dogs can bite for many reasons, including improper care or a lack of socialization. All dogs, even well-trained, gentle dogs, are capable of biting when provoked, especially when eating, sleeping or caring for puppies. Therefore, it's vitally important to keep both children and dogs safe by preventing dog bites wherever possible. The National Dog Bite Prevention Coalition provides the following tips:
- Don't ever leave children unsupervised with dogs, even family pets. More than 50% of all dog-related injuries are to children, and for kids that are under 4 years of age, often those bites are to the head and neck region.
- Make sure your pet is healthy. Not all illnesses and injuries are obvious, and dogs are more likely to bite if they are sick or in pain. If you haven't been to the veterinarian in a while, schedule an appointment for a checkup to discuss your dog's physical and behavioral health.
- Take it slow. If your dog has been mainly interacting with your family since you brought them home, don't rush out into crowded areas or dog parks. Try to expose your dogs to new situations slowly and for short periods of time, arrange for low-stress interactions, and give plenty of praise and rewards for good behavior.
- Educate yourself in positive training techniques and devote time to interact with your dog.
- Be responsible about approaching other people's pets. Ask permission from the owner before approaching a dog, and look for signs that the dog wants to interact with you. Sometimes dogs want to be left alone, and we need to recognize and respect that.
- Make sure that you are walking your dog on a leash and recognize changes in your dog's body language where they may not be comfortable.
- Always monitor your dog's activity, even when they are in the backyard at your own house, because they can be startled by something, get out of the yard and possibly injure someone or be injured themselves.
- Use Calming Collars or Diffuser Kits which could help your dog to feel much calmer, all day long!