Tuesday, August 2, 2016

How to be a Responsible Pet Owner

Would your dog attack? The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that more than 4.5 million dog bites are reported to local authorities each year. Countless more go unreported.
Dog attacks can range from a relatively painless nip to a fatal mauling. Dog attack victims account for up to 5 percent of all hospital emergency room visits. Children are most often the victims. Dog attacks are the most commonly reported childhood public health problem in the United States.

You may feel confident that your dog won’t add to these statistics, and it is probably true that your trusty companion will never seriously harm anyone. However, if your dog does attack or bite someone, you could be liable for the victim’s pain, suffering, and medical expenses. Potential victims include your city⁄rural carrier and neighborhood children. 

Recently, a Miami city carrier, who delivers mail from the Jose Marti Station, sustained serious injuries to her arm during a vicious dog attack. Following six hours of surgery, doctors were optimistic about her use of this arm.

Why do some dogs attack? Lack of socialization, improper training, excitement, and fear can all contribute to a dog attack. Even a nip on the leg is unacceptable behavior for a family dog. Reducing the likelihood your dog will ever bite someone helps protect you, your canine companion, and everyone else in the community.
How can you help reduce dog bite attacks?
  • Teach your dog appropriate behavior. Don’t play aggressive games with your dog such as wrestling, tug of war, or siccing your dog on another person. It’s essential that your dog recognize members of your family as dominant figures not to be challenged.
  • For everyone’s safety, don’t allow your dog to roam. Make your pet a member of your family. Dogs that spend too much time tethered to a dog house or in the backyard have a much greater chance of developing aggressive behavioral problems.
  • Stay on the safe side. Help your dog become accustomed to a variety of situations. If you don’t know how your dog will react to a new situation, be cautious. If you think your dog could panic in a crowd, leave him or her at home. If your dog may overreact to visitors or delivery people, keep him or her in another room.
Set a good example in your community. Be a responsible pet owner. Your letter carrier (and your neighbors) will thank you.

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