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How to Prevent Dog Bites

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A three-year-old Jackson, Michigan girl was severely injured after being bitten in the face by a Golden Retriever on Thursday night. The girl was quickly taken to Allegiance Health with severe, but non-life threatening injuries. The owner of the six-year-old dog signed off to have it humanely euthanized and tested for Rabies.

Dog bites have also been a problem for Consumers Energy, who says that it has witnessed an uptick this summer. Several Consumers Energy employees have been bitten while attempting to take meter readings at homes. Overall, there were a total of six bites in the last two weeks, totaling 14 bites this year alone. Last year, Consumers Energy employees reported six bites total. One of the injuries was serious, with the employee requiring stitches on their face and neck. Consumers Energy says that it will not enter a yard to read a meter with an unrestrained dog, but that customers can help by making sure their pets are leashed or confined away from meters.

As you can see, dog bites are a serious issue. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 45 million Americans a year are bitten by a dog, with one in five dog bites requiring medical attention. Unfortunately, children are typically the most susceptible to getting bitten, followed by adult males, and those with dogs in their home. Although it is difficult to predict a dog's behavior sometimes, you can follow some basic guidelines to prevent it from happening.

  1. Consult with a professional to pick the right dog for your household.
  2. Dogs with a history of aggression problems are not suitable for households with children.
  3. Be sensitive to cues that a child is frightened of a dog, and consider waiting to add a dog to the family.
  4. Spend time with a dog before adopting or buying it.

Once you have made the decision to purchase or adopt a dog, you can also:

  1. Spay or neuter your dog to reduce aggressive tendencies.
  2. Never leave young children or infants alone with a dog.
  3. Don't play aggressive games with your dog.
  4. Socialize and train your dog to demonstrate submissive behaviors such as rolling over on its back to expose its belly and willingly giving up food when asked.
  5. Hire an expert (e.g. veterinarians, animal behavioral specialists, or experienced and responsible breeders) immediately upon witnessing aggressive behavior in your dog.