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When a Dog Bites

Having recently experienced a very minor attack by a dog, I found out how little I knew on what do do when a dog attacks. Having learned some valuable lessons, here are some hints and tips to help you cope better should you ever have to deal with a dog attack.

Coincidentally, the third full week of May is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. Man and woman's best friend bites more than 4.7 million people a year, and key experts believe that public education can help prevent these bites.

What I learned

  1. If a dog does bite, or even bruises you, get as much identifying information from the owner as possible.
  2. This includes owners details as well as the dog's. Do ask about the inoculations.
  3. Always ensure that you have a small writing pad and pen on you when you leave home. I did not have a pen to write information about the dog and owner.And do remember to use your cell phone to record information. I did not.
  4. Is it a stray dog or is there an owner? The former is more of a concern, as a stray dog is more likely to have no immunizations. My doctor told me that since the dog that attacked me was on a leash and the owner was around, most likely the dog would have had his shots.
  5. Note the color of the dog, size and breed. If you don't know, ask the owner. I was also told that the owner ought to have volunteered all this information.
  6. Do visit the doctor to get expert opinion on the injury. The doctor will decide on treatment and whether antibioitics are necessary.

Learn from my Errors

Most of the information below is from the The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. The link that I suggested previously does not work. This was recently brought to my attention by an injury claim coach, with suggestions to add different and useful information on:
Dog Bite Prevention

Dog Safety Guide

At the doctors office, I learned that all cases of animal bites have to be reported to a state health department who contacts the owners to check on the dogs immunizations and what action to take in the interests of safety.

In the USA, CDC, Center for Disease Control, is committed to reducing this public health problem by working with state health departments to establish dog bite prevention programs and by tracking and reporting trends on U.S. dog bite injuries.

Things to Consider Before You Get a Dog

  1. Consult with a professional (e.g., veterinarian, animal behaviorist, or responsible breeder) to learn about suitable breeds of dogs for your household. Dogs with histories of aggression are inappropriate in households with children.
  2. Be sensitive to cues that a child is fearful or apprehensive about a dog and, if so, delay acquiring a dog.
  3. Spend time with a dog before buying or adopting it. Use caution when bringing a dog into the home of an infant or toddler. Spay/neuter virtually all dogs (this frequently reduces aggressive tendencies)
  4. Never leave infants or young children alone with any dog
  5. Do not play aggressive games with your dog (e.g., wrestling)
  6. Properly socialize and train any dog entering the household. Teach the dog submissive behaviors (e.g., rolling over to expose abdomen and relinquishing food without growling)
  7. Immediately seek professional advice (e.g., from veterinarians, animal behaviorists, or responsible breeders) if the dog develops aggressive or undesirable behaviors

Teach children basic safety around dogs and review regularly

  1. Do not approach an unfamiliar dog
  2. Do not run from a dog and scream
  3. Remain motionless (e.g., "be still like a tree") when approached by an unfamiliar dog
  4. If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still (e.g., "be still like a log")
  5. Do not play with a dog unless supervised by an adult
  6. Immediately report stray dogs or dogs displaying unusual behavior to an adult
  7. Avoid direct eye contact with a dog
  8. Do not disturb a dog who is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies
  9. Do not pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first
  10. If bitten, immediately report the bite to an adult

In my case the bruise was cleaned and an antibiotic ointment applied. I had the option to use the antibiotics right away or see how I was doing and take them in 2 days time if there was swelling and if the pain persisted. I followed the instructions to clean the wound everday. I did not need to take antibiotics.

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