Let Sleeping Dogs Lie: 4 Tips for Avoiding Dog Bites
While interacting with a dog is a regular part of many people’s lives it can still carry an amount of danger. Just as two people can experience a situation of misunderstanding, a dog can experience this while interacting with a person. The Minnesota Safety Council reports that millions of Americans are bitten by dogs each year, and 800,000 of these Americans seek out medical attention for the bites. Those who are most at risk of being bitten are children, adult males, and people who live with a dog. Children between five and nine are most likely to be bitten, and this usually occurs during every day activities. However, the number of child injuries related to dog bites seems to be going down.
Like many injuries, most dog bites can be avoided if a person takes the correct steps and precautions:
- Make sure to always ask the owner for permission before petting their dog.
- When you go to pet the dog, first turn your hand so the palm is facing up, and let the dog sniff you. This lets the dog confirm you’re not threatening, so it will be comfortable when you pet it.
- To avoid startling the dog, move your hand slowly to pet it, and speak quietly.
- If you come across a dog that is eating, sleeping, playing with a toy, sitting in a car, tied up in a yard, or sitting behind a fence it’s best to leave it alone.
If you find yourself in a situation with an aggressive dog that might attack, there are a few actions (or inactions) you can take. The best thing you can do right away is resist the urge to run or scream. If you do this, the dog will most likely follow its natural instincts and chase after you. It’s best to stand still and place your hands by your sides while avoiding eye contact with the dog. Eventually, the dog will lose interest, and you will be able to slowly back away until you no longer see the dog.
If a dog does attack, you have a few safe options you can choose. You can give it any item available to occupy it. It can be a purse, jacket, hat, or anything else in order to get something between you and the dog. If you fall, you should curl your body into a ball, and place your hands over your ears. While in this position, stay still and quiet, and wait for the dog to lose interest. Following these simple rules will help you avoid dog bites.