San Diego Veterinarians Join Dog Bite Prevention Campaign

Are San Diego residents at risk of dog bite injuries? More than fifty percent of California households own dogs, according to data collected by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA). And according to the Humane Society, homes across the U.S. have more than 83 million dogs as family pets. While we don’t like to think about the dangers posed by domestic animals, dog bites occur with some frequency in Southern California. In fact, the U.S. Postal Services lists each “ten worst cities for dog attacks” each year, and three major metropolitan areas in California made the list. As such, the AVMA and local veterinary offices are hoping to advocate for dog bite prevention in San Diego, according to a report from San Diego’s local CBS 8 News.

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Have you or a loved one sustained a dog bite injury? Animal attacks can happen without warning, and they can produce life-threatening injuries, particularly when children are involved. If you were bitten by a dog, it’s important to have experienced legal counsel on your side. Contact an experienced San Diego dog bite lawyer at the Walton Law Firm today.

Veterinarians Hope to Prevent Dog Attacks

According to the report in CBS 8 News, the AVMA is “urging action to help prevent dog bites.” How might this work? In short, veterinarians are working to develop a “community-based program” that will “reduce the incidence of bites.” The key to dog bite prevention, according to the AVMA president Roger Mahr, is a combination of training, knowledge, and caution. As Mahr explains, “any dog may bite if it feels threatened, if it’s put into an unfamiliar situation, if it’s out of control, or if it’s scared.”

Important Facts and Safety Tips

The first step to preventing dog bites is knowing the facts about when domestic animals might attack and who remains susceptible to injury. Most important, perhaps, is the fact that children account for more dog bite injuries than any other age group. And according to the AVMA, they’re “far more likely to be severely injured.” When do these dog bites typically occur? They’re difficult to anticipate, since “dog bites affecting young children occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs,” reported the AVMA. After children, senior citizens are the second-largest age bracket affected by dog bites.

According to Dr. Eileen Ouellette, the president of the American Academy of pediatrics, given the fact that children are most frequently the victims of dangerous dog bites, it’s important to teach children about animal safety, but it’s also essential for families in general to make sure they’re taking the proper training and safety precautions around their pets.

In other words, we may be able to prevent dog bites by taking specific steps related to our own family pets. The AVMA provides a list of safety tips for families who are thinking about buying or already own a dog:

  • Pet selection: think carefully about the size and breed of the dog you’re thinking about buying, and consult with your veterinarian about “behavior and suitability” for your children.
  • Socializing your pet: it’s important for puppies to “feel at ease around people and other animals” early on. Socializing with other pets helps your dog become exposed to, and more comfortable within, a number of different settings “under controlled circumstances.”
  • Consider your child’s age: children aged four and younger are typically the ones most affected by dog bites. You might want to wait to buy or adopt a family dog until your child is at least five years old.
  • Training: by training your dog with basic commands, you’ll “build a bond of obedience and trust” between your pet and people.
  • Avoid rough games: dog games like tug-of-war can unnecessarily excite a pet and aren’t advisable, particularly when children are around.
  • Vaccinations: keeping your dog healthy with routine vaccinations can help to ensure that your dog doesn’t contract a disease that can lead it to behave erratically.
  • Neutering/spaying: male dogs that haven’t been neutered are responsible for a high majority of dog attacks.

In addition to safety measures for your own pet, it’s also important to remain alert when you encounter a strange dog. If you or your child sustained serious injuries from a dog bite, contact an experienced injury lawyer at the Walton Law Firm today. You may be able to file a claim for compensation.

Photo Credit: WilliamMarlow via Compfight cc

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