Each year almost 5 million dog bites are reported across North America
and it is a rare evening on the nightly news when a dog attack is not
reported. Yet, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,
veterinarians and their staff make up a very small percentage of those
bites in spite of their obvious risk factors. What can we learn from
them to avoid being bitten by a dog?

According to
veterinarian and behaviorist, Dr. Kersti Seksel, being aware of a dog’s
warning signs can help people avoid the dog’s teeth. Almost everyone is
aware that a growling dog who is baring his teeth is aggressive and
likely to bite, but other warning signs might be less obvious and
include raised hackles, overall tenseness, and even a slowly wagging
tail. It would appear that veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and
other veterinary personnel have learned to quickly read the dog’s body
language and adjust their movements and actions accordingly.

But not all dogs will read from the same book. Some pets have been
punished for growling or snarling and therefore may provide little to
no warning before lashing out at someone.

Prospective dog owners should research their desired breed and then
take the time and effort to attend puppy socialization classes and even
obedience training. If you have children in your household, their
education should also be considered. Young children, especially young
boys, should be taught never to approach a strange dog. Additionally,
if the behavior of the dog seems to be unusual, teach children to stand
still, keeping eyes downcast, and to remain quiet. Children should
never run towards an unknown dog, even if the owner is present.
Teaching children to ask an owner about petting a new dog can be a big
step in avoid potential dog bite situations.

For more information about avoiding dog bites, contact us at (918) 299-4900 about appropriate dog breeds and effective dog training.

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