Dog bites are not as uncommon as you may believe. In fact, The AVMA Dog Bite Prevention website states that 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs in the United States each year. Of those people, one in five requires medical treatment.
The reason so many dogs end up biting people may simply have to do with proximity. Everyone either has or knows someone who has a dog. This means that there are many you could come into contact with each day, week, month and year of your life, leading to a possibility of bites.
The good news is that it's possible to prevent bites. Here are three good ways to stop bites from taking place.
1. Don't approach dogs you don't know
If you are greeted by a strange dog and it seems friendly, the likelihood is that it's someone's pet that escaped and that it won't hurt you. However, if you see a dog standing a distance away, appearing scared or shy, it's a good idea to look away from it, to back away and to get to a safe position. You can call the local dog warden to have someone come and collect the dog if it is in a contained area.
2. Keep pets out of stressful situations
Nothing is more likely to make pets bite than being forced into stressful situations. Dogs that feel scared or like they're being attacked are likely to lash out to protect themselves. Unfortunately, their bites do significant damage. To avoid this, always keep your pet in a safe, calm environment. If you know you'll be somewhere stressful, consider investing in a muzzle to prevent bites.
3. Look at the dog's body language
This is something you should do yourself and that you should teach your family, friends and children. If a dog has its ears down and tail tucked, it's likely scared or nervous. If it bares its teeth, it feels frightened, and you should back away. Even dogs that wag their tails could show signs of nervousness if their ears are pressed down. Over-excited dogs may jump and nip, even if they appear friendly. Learn how to gauge the situation, so you can avoid a bite.
These are three ways to avoid and prevent dog bites. Bites are very serious, but with good precautionary measures, it's possible to eliminate or significantly reduce the risk of being bitten by a dog.