Information came from the fliers of PAWS working hand in hand with Master Foods Phils., Inc, the makers of Pedigree & Whiskas.
Dogs Can Be Friendly, and Dogs Can Bite!
The friendship of a dog can be wonderful for children’s emotional and physical health. But children are most at risk for dog bite injury.
According to the Public Health office of the San Lazaro Hospital, a total of 6815 cases of dog bite were reported to their office, in the last quarter of 2001. That’s 75 dog-biting incidents a day – and covers only parts of Metro Manila.
The Bite Free (Iwas Kagat) Program aims to reduce the incidence of dog bite injury – by encouraging responsible dog guardianship and by teaching children safe behaviour around dogs.
While no prevention program is 100% successful, teaching children how to approach or retreat safely from a dog, and which situation to avoid, will give them greater confidence and safety in handling encounters with dogs. It can make life more enjoyable for dogs too!
How to Meet a Dog Safely
1. Never run up to any dog, you might frighten them.
2. Ask your parent or adult with you, if you can pet the dog.
3. Ask the person holding the dog if you can pet the dog.
4. Ask the dog if you can pet him. Stand beside the dog, extend a fist and allow him to sniff your closed hand. Move slowly and speak softly. Quick movements and loud noises can scare a dog.
5. Pet the dog, starting under his chin and then you can move your hand up on top of his head.
6. Always remember, NEVER RUN AWAY FROM A DOG. No matter how gentle they are, they will want to chase you.
How to Act Around A Stray Dog
Things to Remember with Dogs (and all Animals)
- Ask Permission before petting someone else’s dog
- Leave mother animals and their young alone.
- Do not try to pet dogs that are tied up, sleeping, eating, behind fences, or in vehicles.
- Do not pull their ears or tails.
- Do not grab their food, bones, or toys.
- Do not try to stop fights. Call an adult for help.
- Always act kindly and gently. Animals have feelings too.
- Leave wild animals alone.
- Report the details of injured, stray and threatening animals to adults who will call the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) or animal control authorities.
Why do Dogs Bite?
The vast majority of dogs are safe, reliable companions but even a friendly dog may bite if threatened, angry, afraid, or hurt. Some dogs can be described as dangerous-bred, or trained to be aggressive, with predatory instincts that may case them to chase and attack a fleeing child.
Dogs Protect Things, Places and PEOPLE
Just as humans do, dogs protect things they care about, whether it be food, their puppies or their favorite toys. They are also protective of spaces – their own and their guardians’. Eating and sleeping areas, yards, porches, and parked cards are all commonly defended by dogs. A child reaching through a fence or arriving unannounced at the door can turn a neighbor’s warm loyal pet in to a growling, aggressive protector.
Other reasons dogs may bite
- Cornering, crowding, or standing over a dog, particularly a small one, may make it feel defensive. Children should stand back and never put their faces close to a dog’s mouth. The face is the most common site of serious dog bite injuries.
- Stray dogs are in danger and maybe dangerous. Any dog that is loose may be lost, frightened or injured – and more likely to bite.
- Sick or injured dogs may be afraid or irritable and should be avoided by children.
- Elderly dogs may have impaired vision or hearing which can cause them to be more easily startled.
- Some dogs are inadequately socialized. Dogs living with and around children need to be able to tolerate degree of rough treatment without resorting to biting. Choose your dog carefully and discourage even play biting by puppies, to avoid problems later.
- Most dog bites injuries occur during play. A dog that is excited or nervous can bite by mistake. Children should be taught not to play fight, tease, yell, or chase dogs or other animals.
- Dogs can feel left out, especially when a new baby or pet joins the household. Give a dog extra love and attention at these times.
Guardian’s Responsibilities: Selection, Socialization, Spay/Neuter, Care & Control
- Under the law, owners can be held liable for their dog’s action – including dog bites. You can reduce the likelihood of your dog biting someone by observing these points:
- Do not let your dog run loose. Provide a fenced run and leash your dog when you go for a walk. Avoid having young children walk dogs they cannot control.
- When you meet children while out for a walk, be sure they approach your dog properly. This ensures their safety as well as protecting your dogs.
- Socialize and train your dog. Puppies from pet shops may not have received the socialization they need to be well adjusted, particularly if they are from puppy mills.
- Choose your dog carefully. Pups should be evaluated in light of the parent dog’s behavior.
- Ensure that your dog is vaccinated annually for rabies and other communicable diseases. If your barangay has an existing regulation for dog registration, have your dog registered. This will help in identification, should your dog get lost or is impounded.
- Do not leave babies or very young children alone with a dog.
Feel free to share this with your friends who are planning to adopt a dog, or already have dogs The more people know about their responsibility – not just to dogs but to animals in general, the better for everyone in this planet.