Every year, more than 4.5 million people in the United States are bitten by dogs. The truth is that any dog has the capability to bite and there are certain scenarios in which a dog is most likely to deliver that bite. You can prevent a lot of these dog bites by learning when a dog is most likely to bite and teach your children how to avoid these situations.
- A dog that is loose and not with their owner. Unfortunately, as we saw with the viral video of the dog attacking the young boy on his bike in his own front yard and the cat that saved him, dogs can and will attack without provocation. If your child sees a loose dog, have them walk, not run, to a safe place and do not approach the dog.
- If the dog is with his owner, always ask permission to pet the dog. A dog can appear friendly, but can become protective of their owner and bite without warning.
- If a dog is on the other side of a fence, teach your children not to reach through or over the fence to pet the dog. The dog may become protective of their territory and can inflict a nasty bite.
- When a dog is sleeping, teach your child not to wake them. They can be momentarily disoriented and bite out of reflex.
- When a dog is eating. Never try to take food away from a dog or feed your dog while there is a child playing near by. Do not let your child offer food or a treat to a dog, that is a good way to get a finger nipped.
- A dog that is hurt or sick is also more likely to bite. Many people will see an injured dog that has been hit by a car and in their attempts to help the dog will often get bitten themselves.
- A mother dog with puppies or near puppies should not be approached. There was a case this year in Houston where there was a stray dog with pups near by that attacked several children.
- Dogs are very territorial and can bite when playing with a toy. Be sure to teach your child not to try and take any toys away from dogs.
- Most dogs will give advanced warning or an pending bite by growling or barking. Teach your children not to approach a dog that is barking or growling and never get face to face with a strange dog expecting a kiss like their own dog might give. This is the most common scenario when children, and news reporters, are bitten in the face.
- If the dog is hiding or in their special place, do not reach in and try to pull the dog out. Their territorial instinct may kick in and that will also result in a bite.
Always watch your children when around dogs and teach them that any dog, even their own dog, can bite.