May 19-25 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week
Pasadena Humane Society gives tips on recognizing signs
With Los Angeles holding the reins as the number one city with most dog bite insurance claims according to State Farm, the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA reminds people that most dog bites are preventable.
Early warning signals include:
· Closed mouth
· Stiff body
· Wide eyes with the white of the eye visible
· Raised hackles (the ridge of hair along the dog’s spine and base of its tail)
· Curled lips exposing canines
· Growling – the best indicator that a dog is uncomfortable
“The key to preventing a dog bite is management of your dog’s environment and understanding of these signals so you can take action before matters escalate,” says Carol Ann Heinis, Behavior Supervisor at the Pasadena Humane Society. “Dogs have thresholds of tolerance, just as humans do.”
PHS reminds parents of the importance of teaching children how to interact with dogs. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, children are the most common bite victims. Always ask a pet owner if it is okay to pet a dog beforehand. Most dogs do not like hugs and kisses or being petted on the head. Instead, teach children to pet on the chest or on the sides of the chest. Never tease a dog or disturb it while sleeping, eating or guarding an item, such as a toy. If an unfamiliar dog approaches, stand still, be silent, and avoid eye contact.
It is a good sign when a dog shows that is it stressed or uncomfortable. It is much better to have a dog who vocalizes its discomfort, than a dog that doesn’t and goes right into a bite. Never punish a dog for demonstrating signs of discomfort. Enrolling a dog in an obedience class or teaching it a few commands can help strengthen the bond between the owner and dog, and, in turn, help prevent bites. For information on dog bite prevention, call thePasadena Humane Society & SPCA’s Behavior Hotline at626.792.7151 ext. 155. For more information on National Dog Bite Prevention Week, visit https://www.avma.org/Events/
About the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA
The Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA is an open door, community-funded center, which provides all animals a place where they receive a safe have, care and respect. For more information, visit www.pasadenahumane.org.