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Animal and Human Bites - Prevention

The following tips may help prevent bite injuries.

Animals

  • Do not disturb animals, even your family pets, while they are eating, sleeping, or nursing. Animal mothers can be very aggressive when protecting their young.
  • Never leave a young child or baby alone with a pet.
  • Do not approach or play with unfamiliar or stray pets.
  • Teach children to ask permission from a pet's owner before petting the animal. Do not pet an animal without first letting it sniff you.
  • Don't run past a dog, because dogs naturally love to chase and catch things.
  • Many animals give a warning sign before they attack. If you have animals in your home, know their warning signs and teach them to your children.
  • Do not try to separate fighting animals. If available, water sprayed from a hose will often break up the fight.
  • If you see a threatening dog:
    • Stay still. Do not run.
    • Do not make direct eye contact with the dog or stare at the dog. Staring at a dog may be interpreted by the dog as a threat and aggression.
    • Don't scream. If you say anything, speak calmly and firmly.
    • If you fall or are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your head and neck. Protect your face.
    • Notify animal control and, if possible, speak with the dog's owners.
  • Tell children to report an animal bite to an adult immediately.
  • Do not keep wild animals as pets.
  • Do not touch or tease wild animals.
  • Do not handle sick or injured animals or animals that are acting strangely.
  • Get help from animal control personnel if you need to rescue a trapped or injured animal. If no help is available, wear the heaviest gloves and clothing you have. Do not move quickly when approaching the animal, and talk in a low, gentle voice to reassure the animal.

Choose and care for your pets wisely

  • Do not buy a pet on impulse. Do some research and learn about how different types of pets act and what their needs are. Ask a veterinarian or your local humane society for more information.
  • Keep your animals healthy. Regular examinations and vaccinations are important for their health and for yours. Vaccinate pets against rabies and other diseases.
  • Promote attitudes of animal love and respect. Do not tolerate any form of animal abuse or cruelty.
  • Obedience-train your dogs. If you have children, involve them in the training so they can handle and learn respect for their companion animals. Keep pets on a leash in public areas.
  • Do not allow your pets to roam free. Fence your yard, and keep your pets on a leash in public areas.
  • Contact your local humane society or shelter about workshops for your school or service group that teach about animal care.
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