All dog behaviour experts seem to agree that the vast majority of dog attacks are preventable.  In the U.S. there are an estimated 4.7 million attacks per year with over half of the victims being children with two thirds of child dog attacks being to the head and neck. In a recent press release Dr Gregory Evans, President of the American Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery said:

"Even the friendliest dog may bite when startled or surprised. Be cautious ; once a child is scarred they are scarred for life. Most children love dogs and like to put their faces up close to the dog's face. Parents should never permit this. Injuries to the face and hands can be disfiguring or disabling and require prompt, expert medical attention."

Figures from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons show in 2014 about 28,500 reconstructive surgeries were carried out in the U.S. to repair damage caused by dog bites a 6% from the previous year. Joining with the American Academy of Pediatrics the ASRM have chosen to highlight the issue of dog bites and are looking to educate children and adults about how to handle, train and treat dogs to try and prevent attacks. The following 7 tips are a summary of their guidelines:

  1. Before even getting a dog speak to a vet and research what breed will best suit your family and lifestyle.
  2. Socialise the dog. Train it properly using commands and have it neutered which will make it less likely to bite.
  3. Never ever leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
  4. Make sure your children know never to bother a dog if it is sleeping, eating or caring for puppies. Also make sure they know to never run by a dog.
  5. Let your children know they must always ask permission before they touch a dog. Let the dog sniff the child first. Let children know they should touch the dog gently nd to avoid the face, head or tail.
  6. If under threat from a dog remain calm and avoid eye contact. Stand still until the dog leaves or back away slowly. if knocked to the ground curl into a ball and cover your face with your hands.
  7. If bitten rinse the wound with soapy water and elevate the limb. If deep bites or puncture wounds apply pressure with a clean towel or bandage to stop the bleeding. Wash the wound and dry it and cover with a sterile dressing. Call a doctor as antibiotics or a tetanus may be required.

James McNally personal injury expert at dogbitesolicitors says:

Knowledge really is key in preventing dog attacks. We have seen a marked rise in the number of claims we are dealing with and certainly a large number of these are children bitten on the face and head. These are victims who will have to live with the consequences for the rest of their lives and while we are able to help by recovering compensation and more importantly getting them the help they need and treatment such as counselling what would be best is if the dog owner had be responsible and exhibited care in the first place.  

Any responsible owner knows that no matter how friendly they think their dog is that they are unpredictable animals with moods and problems just like us. If they took the time to learn about the dog before and after taking the decision to get a pet I am sure we would see the number of attacks fall.

If you have suffered as a result of a dog attack James can be contacted via email on james.mcnally@sleeblackwell.co.uk or on 08081391601.

U.S. Doctors work to increase knowledge to prevent dog attacks
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