National Dog Bite Prevention Week (April 10-16, 2022) takes place during the second full week of April each year. With an estimated population of nearly 85 million dogs living in U.S. households, millions of people – most of them children – are bitten by dogs annually. In fact, there are over 4.5 million reported dog bites in the U.S. yearly and that means that in the time it takes you to read this, someone, and probably a child, will have been bitten by a dog. Most of these bites, if not all, are preventable.
The past couple of years have been like no other, as both pets and owners had to adapt to new lives at home in each other’s company. On top of this, more than 23 million American households — nearly one in five nationwide — adopted a pet during the pandemic, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. There were major disruptions in normal routines and dogs picked up on the anxiety that came with it.
According to US dog bite statistics, an unneutered male dog is more than 2.5 times likely to bite than a neutered one and it’s estimated there was a 300% increase in dog attacks during the height of the pandemic.
This year, as we finally emerge from the throws of the pandemic, our concern at Central Bark is making sure dogs across our communities – many of which were adopted over the last two years as pandemic puppies – are prepared to safely interact with children and people outside of their home. The anxiety that isolation produces, and a lack of socialization can lead to negative behaviors in our pets. It’s our hope that by taking the steps to properly socialize our dogs and educate people on dog bite prevention, we can help reduce bites and keep dogs in loving homes, where they belong.
So, what does all this mean? It tells us a great many things, but first and foremost, this is a completely preventable problem that begins with responsible pet ownership, awareness, training, and education. Every year, Central Bark works with local schools and organizations to bring awareness to this issue while providing guidance and instruction on how to prevent dog bites and save dogs. Our customizable program is designed to educate children and keep them safe around dogs. We teach them when, and how, to approach a dog, what to look for in dog behavior, to “ask permission,” and to be mindful and respectful because dogs are animals with teeth, and any animal with teeth will bite under the right circumstances.
It’s important to remember that even well-trained and well-behaved dogs can bite if they are put into the wrong situation. Addressing and avoiding these situations is key to reducing dog bites, and not focusing on unrelated factors such as a dog’s breed or appearance.
For more tips on preventing dog bites or to schedule a bite prevention seminar, visit centralbarkusa.com.