National Dog Bite Prevention Week educates on bite avoidance

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An aggressive German Shepherd attacks and shows its teeth.
The American Veterinary Medical Association kicked off National Dog Bite Prevention Week Sunday to remind Americans that dog bites are a widespread problem.

According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dog bites send nearly 400,000 children to the hospital each year.

The United States Postal Service’s website states that aside from children, dog bites occur most frequently in the elderly as well as the USPS mail carriers, and that dog bites exceed the number of reported measles, whooping cough and mumps combined.

According to there are a number of ways both children and adults can protect themselves from a dog bite or attack.

The news provider reported that dogs often become aggressive when they feel like their space is invaded. The source offered the following suggestions to deflect a potential problem:

1. Always ask a pet owner whether it is okay to pet their dog. Allow the dog to sniff your hand before you touch it.
2. If you encounter an unfriendly dog, do not run. Instead back away slowly. Try to avoid eye contact
3. Do not scream if a dog approaches you. Try to remain calm and speak in a quiet voice.
4. Should you come upon a group of dogs, throw a small object, like a rock, away from you to distract the animals. Then slowly inch away.
5. If you are a parent, ensure your child is never alone with a dog. Do not allow your child to play roughly with the animal or discipline it.

If the problem occurs within the household, suggests taking the animal to a veterinarian if it displays behavior problems such as biting. Oftentimes, the news provider reported, the fix can be as simple as spaying or neutering, which can diminish dog aggressiveness.

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