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By Dr. Colleen McCafferty, Chief of Staff  & Veterinarian

The American Veterinary Medical Association [AVMA] recognizes this week as National Dog Bite Prevention Week, so what better time to learn about the dangers and prevention techniques to keep your furry friends and family members safe.

It can be a tough concept for all of us to digest, because we all know how much we love our pets and how important they are to our families. We also know, however, that even the sweetest of canine companions can bite if they are injured, startled, feel threatened or are trying to protect a family member from harm’s way.

Below are four interesting facts according to the AVMA:
1. Each year over 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs.
2. 20% of those bites [~900,000] end up requiring medical attention.
3. Research shows that children are the most common victims of dog bites, and are far more likely to be severely injured.
4. The majority of dog bites that involve children occur during everyday activities with familiar dogs.

Here are four things you can do to help prevent dog bites with children:
1. Make sure that you socialize your new puppy with humans and other dogs so that they feel comfortable in social settings.
2. When another owner is present, always teach your child to ask for permission to pet their dog – even if the dog seems friendly and welcoming.
3. We always advise to make sure your dog is getting enough exercise. It is important for physical health but also for mental health and well-being.
4. Spaying or neutering your pet may help to reduce aggression and prevent bites.

If your pet suffers from a bite please contact us immediately, as treating the wound properly and efficiently is of extreme importance.

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