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MAF Study Finds Veterinarians and Physicians Want More Dog Bite Prevention Training During Schooling

Media Contact:

Tina Martinez, 800.243.2345 or 303.882.9376
tmartinez@MorrisAnimalFoundation.org

 

Tips to Avoid Dog Bites by Taking Precautionary Steps

August 2, 2010

Denver — Morris Animal Foundation (MAF), a nonprofit organization that promotes longer, healthier lives for animals through humane research, recently funded a study to determine how educated veterinarians and physicians are about dog bite prevention techniques. Only 21 percent of veterinarians and 5 percent of physicians reported that they had acquired most of their knowledge about dog bites from medical or veterinary school. Most interesting, the study found that the vast majority of those surveyed would like to have more information about dog bite prevention during their schooling.

"We hope the information from this study can be used to develop better curricula for medical and veterinary training programs," said Patricia N. Olson, DVM, PhD, president/CEO of MAF. "This curriculum could prove to be of benefit to both people and dogs alike, helping us to better live side by side."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has collected some eye-opening statistics on dog bites. Fifty percent of dog attacks involve children under 12 years old. The rate of dog bite-related injuries is highest for children ages 5 to 9 years, and the rate decreases as children age. Almost two thirds of injuries among children ages four years and younger are to the head or neck region. Sixty-five percent of bites among children occur to the head and neck. 

The CDC and other dog bite prevention experts offer these simple precautions to parents, veterinarians and physicians about the dangers of dog bites and how to avoid them. These precautions are particularly important during the summertime, when people and dogs are outside more and the bite rates rise.

Parents can take several precautionary steps: 

  • Instruct your children never to approach and interact with dogs they don't know. 
  • Avoid contact with a chained dog unless the owner gives permission that it is safe to approach the animal. 
  • Never allow children to tease or pester any dog. 
  • Adopt a zero-tolerance policy for any form of animal abuse, and instruct children to treat all dogs in a humane and caring manner. 
  • Teach your children how to interpret a dog's body language, such as recognizing changes in posture or when a dog shows its teeth.
  • Never leave small children alone with a dog.

Dog owners can take steps to avoid potential dog bite situations: 

  • Take your dog to obedience and socialization classes to decrease the threat of biting. 
  • Recognize the warning signs of aggression and act accordingly. 
  • Choose a dog you are confident you can physically control. 
  • Keep dogs that demonstrate strong predatory tendencies, such as hunting and killing smaller animals, away from toddlers and young children. 

Following these steps can help ensure that you have a fun, safe summer with your children, and it can also significantly decrease the number of dog bite accidents. For more information, contact your veterinarian or family physician/pediatrician. You can also visit us at www.MorrisAnimalFoundation.org or on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter for up-to-date information. 

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