the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, The Ridgewood Health Department offers these guidelines for staying safe around dogs. According to a study from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 4.7 million dog bites occur in the United States each year, and 800,000 of those bites result in medical care.
These are scary statistics. But scary becomes a lot less so when you’re armed with the right information. From accounting for your own behavior around animals, to why dogs actually bite in the first place, we’re giving you an arsenal of information in this article so you can bite back in the dog bite debate.
Why does a dog bite?
• Dogs bite as a reaction to a stressful situation.
• They may be scared or threatened.
• To protect themselves, their puppies, or their owners.
• They’re not feeling well or if they’re startled.
• They may nip or bite during play (which is why rough play should be avoided to ensure you don’t overly excite your animal).
Keep these triggers in mind anytime you’re around a canine. Your awareness of their mental state will help you recognize a potential bite situation more quickly.
While we’re not absolving the canine completely of its own responsibility in a dog-bite situation, there are always two sides to a story — even a bad one. When it comes to your side, there are more than two things that you can do to decrease your chances of an attack.
Just like people, there are always good pets that snap. Even though the dog never displayed any aggressive attitudes, even though you didn’t provoke him to attack, there are still those unaccountable instances that no one can explain or rationalize. However, more often than not, this isn’t the case.
That’s why, when dealing with any dog, you should maintain confident, but cautious body-language. Below are a few things you can do to make sure your attitude doesn’t trigger an attack.
• Don’t approach an unfamiliar animal.
• Do not run from a dog, panic or make loud noises.
• If an unfamiliar dog approaches you, remain motionless. Do not run or scream. Avoid direct eye contact.
• Don’t disturb a dog while they’re eating, sleeping, or taking care of their puppies.
• Allow a dog to sniff and smell you before you attempt to pet it. Afterward scratch the animal under the chin, not on the head.
• Report strays or dogs displaying strange behavior to your local animal control.
• If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and remain motionless. Be sure to cover your ears and neck with your hands and arms. Avoid eye contact and remain calm.
• Don’t encourage your dog to play aggressively.
• In some situations when a dog is approaching you just giving the command “no” or “bad dog” will make the dog back off.
If you are bitten by a dog you must get the information of the owner to see if the dog is current on vaccinations. You must also report the bite to the local Health Department and/or Police Department to investigate. It is also recommended that you see a physician to prevent any infections. Dog bites can get infected.