Each year there are about 5 million victims of dog bites in Canada and the United States. According to the Canadian Safety Council, 460,000 of those incidents involve children under the age of 10. And even more revealing, the Humane Society of Canada says that every minute, someone is bitten by a dog.
To combat this problem, some communities hold a Dog Bite Prevention Week to teach the public how to properly approach the dog of an acquaintance, what to do when encountering a stray and how to recognize different dog behaviours. These lessons are especially important for young children, who may not see the risk in approaching a strange dog.
If you encounter a strange dog, make sure you follow these steps:
- Stand still—do not attempt to run away.
- Do not make eye contact with the dog.
- Turn your body away if the dog jumps up, but don’t try to push it back down.
- Curl into a ball if you are knocked to the ground.
- Stay calm.
If you are a dog owner, consider these tips to protect yourself and others from dog bites:
- Be aware of a child’s behaviour around your dog.
- Socialize your dog from a very young age with other people and animals.
- Give your dog plenty of time to warm up to new situations, and avoid particular situations that may really upset your dog.
- Seek expert advice if your dog starts behaving aggressively.
- Don’t leave young children alone with your dog.