National Dog Bite Prevention Week

   

April 10th 

  We all love our dogs, most of the time we think of them as sweet and innocent but, dogs could potentially bite anyone or anything at anytime. With 78 millions American households owning at least one dog, many other people are potentially at risk, especially children. Here are some responsible tips, and safety tips, for dog owners and dog lovers.

Do’s:

Always ask for permission before going to pet someone’s dog before reaching your hand out.
When approached by an unfamiliar dog, remain motionless (“be still like a tree”) if possible; refrain from reaching out to pet or grab the dog.
If a dog aggressively knocks you over, curl into a ball with your head tucked and your hands over your ears and neck if you are in a dangerous situation.
Immediately let Animal Care and Control know about any stray dog or dogs that are behaving strangely or are potentially aggressive.

Don’ts:

Don’t approach an unfamiliar dog.
Don’t run from an aggressive dog.
Don’t panic or make loud noises if in a potentially dangerous situation.
Don’t disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies if they have a history of being aggressive.
Don’t pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first.
Don’t push a dog outside of their comfort zone if they aren’t okay with the situation.
Don’t encourage your dog to play aggressively, accidents happen.
Don’t let small children play with any dog unsupervised.

What to do if you are accidentally bitten or attacked by a dog:

Always Wash Wounds with Soap and Water!

Minor Wounds:

Wash wound with soap and water.
Apply pressure to stop the bleeding.
Apply antibiotic cream after the bleeding stops.
Cover wound with bandage.
Seek medical attention if conditions worsen

Major Wounds:

Apply pressure with a clean, dry cloth to stop bleeding.
If it’s too deep and requires stitches, immediately go to a hospital or emergency clinic.
If you can’t stop bleeding or you feel faint/weak, call 911 immediately.
● If you are aware, or unsure, that the dog that bit you might not have had their rabies vaccination, get a tetanus shot immediately.
*Report the bite immediately to the local animal control agency or police department in cases you have reason to believe the dogs has rabies. Always contact the owner, if possible, to ensure the dog has a current rabies vaccination and that the dog is properly out of harm’s way.

Diseases You Can Get from Dog Bites:

    • Rabies is one of the most serious diseases people can get from dog bites. Although it is rare, it is still a risk. Rabies is a virus that affects the brain and is almost always fatal once symptoms appear. Rabies virus is most commonly spread through the bite and saliva of an infected animal. The disease can be prevented by vaccinating dogs.
    • Capnocytophaga bacteria live in the mouths of people, dogs, and cats. This bacteria type does not make dogs or cats sick. Rarely, it can spread to people through bites, scratches, or close contact from a dog or cat and cause illness. Most people don’t become sick, but those with weakened immune systems are more of a risk.
    • Pasteurella is a type of bacteria seen in over half of infected dog bite wounds. It commonly causes a painful, red infection at the site of the bite, but can cause a more serious disease in people with weakened immune systems. There may also be swollen glands, swelling in joints, and difficulty moving.
    • MSRA is a type of staph infection that is resistant to a certain group of antibiotics. Dogs can carry MRSA without showing any symptoms, but the bacteria can cause skin, lung, and urinary tract infections in people. In some people, MRSA can spread to the bloodstream or lungs and cause life-threatening infections.
  • Tetanus is a toxin produced by a type of bacteria called Clostridium tetani. This toxin causes rigid paralysis in people and could be a problem in deep bite wounds.
Please be a responsible dog owner. Keep your dog on a leash, keep them out of harm’s way, and be responsible for yourself and others.

References

“Preventing Dog Bites | Features | CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/features/dog-bite-prevention/index.html.

Author: Paige Lukosavich

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Last updated: January 11, 2019

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