161 dog bites reported in 2012Published 11:47am Wednesday, May 29, 2013
The Alabama Veterinary Medical Association recognized May 19 through May 25 as National Dog Bite Prevention Week.
During this week the AVMA is encouraged dog owners to be aware of the risks involved with dog bites and learn about ways to protect themselves and others from dog bite incidents.
According to the AVMA, dog bites are one of the top injuries reported in Alabama homes. Most dog bites can be prevented with education, pet socialization and proper supervision.
Dogs bit approximately 7.000 Alabamians in 2012. According to the Morgan County Health Department, 161 dog bites were reported in Morgan County in the last year. Most dog bites affecting young children occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs.
Dog owners can help prevent dog bites by carefully selecting their pet and making sure the pet is socialized and comfortable around people as a young puppy. Owners should train their dog basic commands to help build trust between the dog and people. Dogs should be walked and exercised regularly to provide mental stimulation.
Owners should also use a leash in public and keep their dog’s vaccinations up to date. It is important to make sure a dog’s pen is secure and the dog can be contained inside a fence or on a leash. Also be sure to neuter pets, which can prevent aggression.
Non-owners can also help with dog bite prevention. Be cautious around strange dogs and treat the dog with respect. Parents should never leave a small child alone with a dog. Teach children to be careful around pets, both familiar and non-familiar, and to ask permission from the dog’s owner before petting the dog.