Learn how to prevent dog bites
By Arnold Ecle
Nov. 13, 2017 at 8:06 p.m.
Updated Nov. 14, 2017 at 6 a.m.
According to the American Pet Products Association, there are 83.3 million dogs in the United States, which are kept by 56.7 million households.
In the United States, dog bites account for nearly 90 percent of all animal bites. There are 4.5 million dog bites each year, and more than 27,000 victims require reconstructive surgery of the bite wounds.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains the annual dog bite estimate is too low.
Many victims of dog bites do not seek medical treatment or report the incident of the dog attack to the authorities.
Three very important issues need to be addressed with a dog bite wound:
Injuries to underlying tissues, such as muscles and bones.
Infections from bacterial diseases.
Potential infection of the wound is of great importance to consider. Dog bites inject bacteria deep into tissue, muscles and nerves. While not as common, bacteria involved in such infections include Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, Pasteurella, Tetanus and rabies. Rabies is a deadly infection transmitted by a dog bite.
Cleaning the wound decreases the risk of infection by killing bacteria that may thrive and infect the wounds. Tissues and skin reconstruction increase the risk of infection, and the decision to suture the wound balances the risk of infections against the appearance of scars from the bite wound.
Dogs have a tendency to chase moving objects, and there are many measures to prevent dog bites:
Children need to learn to not run and scream in the presence of a dog.
Hugging and kissing a dog expresses a sense of submission to the animal, which is confusing to them because dogs view humans as being in charge. This confusion may lead to aggressive behavior by the animal.
Do not pet a dog without letting the dog sniff you first.
Never approach an unfamiliar dog if you are not trained to deal with them.
Be still like a tree when approached by a dog.
Children should never play with a dog without an adult present.
Avoid direct contact with a dog.
Do not disturb a dog that is eating, sleeping or caring for its puppies.
Immediately report stray dogs or dogs with unusual behavior (aggressiveness, growling, jaw is dropped, paralysis, seizures, change in tone of the barking).
Tell children to report a dog bite to an adult immediately.
If you are bitten by a dog - your own dog or a stray dog - do not try to stop, catch, or hold the dog. Immediately contact authorities for medical care and assistance.
Animal Control will capture the dog. The dog will be quarantined for a period mandated by law and will be under strict observation for any behavior changes.
References: CDC, "Dog Bite Prevention"
American Pet Products Association
Arnold Ecle is a state certified animal control officer with Victoria County Animal Control