EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) – This week is National Dog Bite Prevention Week, and although there are millions of nice dogs living in the U.S., experts say any dog can bite.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, millions of people, most of them children, are bitten by dogs every year.
However, Dr. Matthew Schaefer, an associate veterinarian with the Eau Claire Animal Hospital, said these bites can be preventable.
If your children want to pet a dog, he said make sure they approach it slowly and don’t make loud sounds or rapid movements.
Ask the owner permission, and even let the animal smell you.
Whether it’s someone else’s dog or your own pet, Dr. Schaefer said there are signs to look out for if the dog is becoming uncomfortable or agitated.
“Certainly, the most obvious one would be something like growling, but there are more subtle signs like if a dog has its ears laid back. Sometimes dogs will pant with their tongue out, and that is just a sign of anxiety, and those dogs are dogs you want to be careful with,” Dr. Schaefer said. “And a dog that’s in pain is more likely to bite a person so we can treat that. We can help with that.”
Dr. Schaefer said preventing dog bites is also the responsibility of the owner.
He said socialize your pet, obey leash laws, vaccinate them for rabies, and spay or neuter them to avoid behavior-related aggression.
If you have questions, speak to your vet or an animal behaviorist.