Dr. Dana Johnson: Tips during Dog Bite Prevention Week

2012-05-24T07:00:00Z 2012-06-21T15:56:55Z Dr. Dana Johnson: Tips during Dog Bite Prevention WeekDr. DANA JOHNSON | pediatrician, Meriter Health madison.com

This week is Dog Bite Prevention Week. The majority of dog bites occur to children under age 14, but there are steps both dog owners and parents can take to prevent dog bites from occurring.

Note that dogs don't always bite when being aggressive. It can occur when they are excited or playing. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

For owners

• Research breeds before bringing a dog home to determine the best fit for your household.

• Socialize your dog with other dogs and people.

• Spay/neuter your dog, as this can decrease aggression and the dog's need to wander.

• Don't teach your dog to chase or "sic" someone, even in play.

• Don't play aggressive games with your dog.

• Keep control of your dog. This often is done with a leash or by keeping the dog in a fenced area.

• Correct aggressive or inappropriate behavior before it becomes a larger problem.

• Keep your dog healthy with routine check-ups and immunizations.

For parents

• Teach your child to ask permission of the owner before touching a dog. Children should allow the dog to see and sniff them before petting. Teach them to pet gently and avoid the face, ears and tail.

• Never pet a dog through a fence.

• Never run past a dog, as their instinct is to chase.

• Never disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating or taking care of puppies.

• Do not place your face near a dog's mouth, even in play.

• Never leave a young child unattended with a dog. Both are unpredictable. Even the gentlest of dogs can nip and cause serious injury to a child.

After a bite

If a dog bite occurs, seek care if there are deep or gaping wounds. If there are minor injuries, wash with soap and water and monitor for signs of infection.

All animal bites should be reported to Animal Services, Public Health Madison and Dane County. Additional information can be found at www.publichealthmdc.com/environmental/animal.

Dear Dr. Johnson: When do children get all their baby teeth? I thought my son was done with teething when he began complaining about a new tooth.

Dear Reader: There is variation on when and the order in which the primary teeth erupt.

Usually, the bottom two front teeth are the first to come in, at about 6 to 10 months of age. They are followed by the upper incisors, then the lateral incisors. The first molars come in around 13 to 18 months of age, with the canines at the same time or close behind.

The last teeth to erupt are the second molars, at about 23 to 33 months of age. In total, your child should have 20 primary teeth by age 3. Don't forget to take good care of these teeth with good brushing.

This column provides general health information and is not specific advice intended for any particular individual(s). It is not a professional medical opinion or a diagnosis. Always consult your personal health care provider about your concerns. No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Johnson to people submitting questions.

Copyright 2015 madison.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(2) Comments

  1. Dbqdogtrainer
    Report Abuse
    Dbqdogtrainer - May 24, 2012 7:27 pm
    One of the most important things that was not mentioned is to use positive reinforcement (aka force-free, reward-based) non-aversive training methods. It is a known fact that using force-based training results in aggression. I would also like to point out that, while some people think that playing tug can lead to aggression, it does not. Tug is a useful game to play with your dog so long as it is played properly to help the dog develop mouth awareness and responsiveness to verbal cues. Tug is a natural dog behavior which helps relieve stress and can be used as a reward. This is how we teach service dogs to open doors, pull laundry baskets, etc. So to clarify, it is very important not to "correct" a dog for aggression! This will lead to further aggression. Never punish a growl as a growl is a warning signal. If a dog is punished for growling, he will learn to bite without warning! Instead consult a knowledge board-certified veterinary behaviorist, a certified applied animal behaviorist, a trainer certified in behavior or a certified trainer knowledgeable and experienced and educated in behavior modification using accepted protocols approved by the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior and the American College of Animal Behaviorists.
  2. Renaissance Man
    Report Abuse
    Renaissance Man - May 24, 2012 8:33 am
    Every week is dog-bite prevention week as far as I'm concerned.
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