National Dog Bite Prevention Week, aimed at curbing canine attacks on people, got under way Monday.
According to the Center for Disease Control, 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year. Some of the victims require reconstructive surgery.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, “Every 40 seconds, someone seeks medical care because of a dog bite.”
As part of National Dog Bite Prevention Week, Dr. Michael Hoops of the Cleveland Plastic Surgery Clinic, is hoping to raise awareness to children, of the dangers of dog attacks.
Numerous reports of dog bite incidents are reported to local law and animal control agencies every day. Children seem to be the most likely victims of dog bites. CDC indicated the most likely age group of children who were attacked is between 5-9 years-old. Hoops said he treats on the average of two dog bites to children each month.
“It’s usually grandma’s dog that bites. The dog is not at fault. Neither is the child. Education and precaution should always be exercised around dogs,” said Hoops.
Due to recent tornadoes in Bradley County, the Cleveland Animal Shelter has been housing pets lost during the storms. Officials at the shelter are required by state law to vaccinate the animals for rabies prior to being returned to their owners.
ASP recommends that if attacked by a dog;
- Seek emergency medical attention immediately.
- If needed, a plastic surgeon will be notified by emergency room physicians.. According to the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), board certified surgeons can offer the best recovery methods in preserving and rearranging affected tissue all over the body which will insure proper wound healing for less conspicuous scarring.
- Dog owners should follow basic steps to avoid dog bites.
- Don't play aggressive games with dogs.
- Children should never approach unfamiliar dogs.
- Never run from a dog or scream at it.
- Children should never play with a dog unsupervised and should always tell an adult if a stray dog or dog is noticed acting strange.
- Never approach a dog while it is eating.
- Owners may also consider a canine behavior specialist.
“Properly socializing and training any dog can help prevent aggression,” Hoops said.
Other safety tips from the CDC include:
- Do not approach an unfamiliar dog.
- Do not run from a dog or scream.
- Remain motionless when approached by an unfamiliar dog.
- If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still.
- Do not play with a dog unless supervised by an adult.
- Immediately report stray dogs or dogs displaying unusual behavior to an adult.
- Avoid direct eye contact with a dog.
- Do not disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
- Do not pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first.