May 15-22 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week, sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Organizations such as the United States Postal service and several medical groups are joining the AVMA in promoting safety measures to minimize the occurrence of dog bites.
Taking a few basic precautions can greatly minimize your risk of being bitten. A dog that feels threatened is more likely to defend itself by biting. Be careful not to startle a dog, especially when it is sleeping or with its puppies. Avoid direct eye contact, which is viewed as a challenge. Never leave young children unattended with a dog, and do not encourage aggressive forms of play such as wrestling and tug-of-war. Spaying or neutering pets also reduces aggressive tendencies. Do not approach unfamiliar dogs running loose, and report any that are behaving strangely to your local animal control center.
Those working with dogs in a professional setting should also practice caution around unfamiliar animals. The proper use of restraints such as muzzles can minimize the risk of bites during medical procedures.
View more animal safety tips here.