Lessons in Respecting Pets Keeps Children Bite-free

American Veterinary Medical Association National Dog Bite Prevention Week

After  National Dog Bite Prevention Week®–led by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), comes to an end this weekend, there are still lessons to be learned for the rest of the year.

Because children make up more than 50 percent of all dog bite-related injuries, the AVMA released three lively videos featuring puppet preschoolers interacting with “Jimmy the Dog” in ways which may provoke him to bite.

“While an overwhelming majority of interactions with dogs don’t result in injury, most dog bites could be prevented,” said Dr. Ted Cohn, AVMA president. “The key is early education for children and early socialization for dogs. These videos are designed to grab a child’s attention and teach them respect and understanding.”

To better understand the level of knowledge about dog behavior among children, the National Dog Bite Prevention Week® Coalition created a quiz focused on children age 5-9. The quiz was distributed by State Farm and Prevent the Bite to schools and community organizations last month with the results indicating that the need for education about safely interacting with dogs is significant.

Quiz results

710 children answered the dog safety quiz
No child answered all twelve questions correctly
34% of the children indicated they had been bitten by a dog at least once
50% of the children who took the Spanish translated quiz indicated they had been bitten
Only 33% of children correctly answered the question “does an angry dog ever wag his tail?” (the correct answer is YES)
Only 27% of children correctly answered the question “is a dog that is afraid as dangerous as a dog that is angry?” (the correct answer is YES)
Only 24% of children correctly answered the question “do dogs like to be hugged and kissed?” (the correct answer question is NO)
“The AVMA is committed to preserving the special bond between people and their dogs,” said Dr. Jose Arce, AVMA Board of Directors member and companion animal practitioner from Puerto Rico. “AVMA has an extensive library of dog bite prevention materials. Take a minute and you will find many ideas to keep your friends, family and dog safe.”

Visit the AVMA’s website for more tips on dog bite prevention, and talk with your veterinarian if you have concerns about your pet’s behavior. Many times dogs will bite when they are in pain, so your veterinarian can help identify and treat conditions that may make dogs more prone to bite. Your veterinarian can assist you in finding a veterinary expert in behavior who can work with you and your dog to help reduce the incidence of dog bites.

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