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How To Prevent Animal Bites

Here are some tips and tricks to preventing animal bites:

  • Neuter or spay your dog. Sterilization will help reduce aggression and prevent unwanted puppies.
  • Across all categories of dogs, unneutered male dogs under age five years have the highest bite rates. Spayed female dogs are generally best for homes with children.
  • Before selecting your pet, thoroughly research the breed and the sellers. Avoid “puppy mills” and be wary of some newspaper advertisements. See both parents of the dogs, if possible to check for disposition of health.
  • Choose a breed that fits your lifestyle. Certain breeds have specific exercise needs or may display strong guardian and hunting instincts that need to be channeled.
  • Socialize with your pet. If possible, obtain a puppy when it is seven or eight weeks old. The dog will form a strong bond to humans at this age rather than to litter-mates t0 other dogs. Once immunized, introduce your puppy to as many people and situations as possible.
  • Train your dog. Start early by taking your dog to puppy kindergarten. At four months, begin obedience classes that teach basic commands.
  • Set firm limits on acceptable behavior. Do not engage in rough play such as tug-of-war, wrestling, or “play-attacks”. Never tolerate growling or nipping, even from very young puppies.
  • Keep your dog on a leash when in public. Regularly exercise your pet…leaving him confined in a kennel or on a chain for long periods of time may create behavioral problems.
  • Never leave a dog unsupervised with an infant or child under six years of age.
  • Never approach or pet an unfamiliar dog, no matter how friendly he looks. Many dogs attack without warning.
  • Don’t let a child take mail from the carrrier in front of a dog… his instinct may be to “protect” the family and bite the “intruder”.
  • If two dogs attack each other, don’t try to separate them yourself. Use a garden hose or broom to break up the fight.
  • Exercise caution when jogging past a strange dog who may give chase or attack.
  • Do not disturb a dog who is eating, sleeping, or caring for puppies. Even the most trustworthy dog may react instinctively by growling or biting.

If bitten or scratched by an animal you think might be rabid, or if its saliva touches you, it is important that you following the necessary steps without delay.

What To Do If Bitten

If bitten or scratched by an animal you think might be rabid, or if its saliva touches you, take the following steps without delay:

  1. Wash the affected parts of the body thoroughly with soap and water to dislodge virus particles. The wound should be cleaned and flushed to its full depth for several minutes.
  2. After cleaning, apply an antiseptic.
  3. Call a doctor and tell him/her what happened
  4. Call Public Health to report the bite. They will also want to know about the animal, who owns it, where it lives, what it looks like, etc

If the animal is a cat or dog it will be confined in isolation for a period of ten days. Unusual behavior during this period could be a sign of rabies.