Dog Bite Prevention Week

Millions of people are bitten by dogs every year and most of those bitten are children.  The insurance information institute estimates that in 2013, insurers across the country paid nearly $500 million in dog bite claims. In an effort to reduce the number of dog bites, this week is National Dog Bite Prevention Week.  I think this is very important because so many dog bites can be prevented.  The first step in preventing dog bites is using common sense.   Many bites occur in the home. mean pic Make sure children and dogs aren’t left in the same room without some adult supervision.  And something can happen very quickly, so don’t even leave for a moment.   If you or your kids aren’t in a position to be bitten by a dog, you won’t be bitten.  Even if you don’t have a dog in your home, there are some things you need to be aware of in case you are confronted with a dog.

Sandy Watson, co-owner, of Dog School 101, is a certified dog trainer.  She says you can take some cues from a dog before approaching it.  “Don’t think a wagging dog is a happy dog,” she says.  “Don’t approach a dog if it is behind its owner.  Also watch its hackles to see if they are raised.  You don’t want to approach that dog because it is not at ease.”  Watson also says it’s important not to lower your face to the dog’s level because it can feel threatened.  When you are playing with a dog, don’t hold its toy near your face.  The dog may jump up to get the toy and get your face instead.    The same thing applies with food.  Children should be told not to tease a dog or hold food where the dog can get it.

You should teach your children to treat strange dogs like strange people.  Don’t let them approach one   Children are such frequent victims because they are close to eye level with the dog.  For some more information about this, The American Veterinary Medical Association has a CD available for sale for families to try and prevent dog bites.  The ASPCA has some notes about reading a dog’s state of mind on its website.

When our dog walkers at Fetch! Pet Care are  with a client’s dog and a child approaches the dog, we ask that it not pet it this time.  You never know how the pet may react when it’s with our sitter and not the owner.  If you are approached by a dog that’s not on a leash, Watson has some simple advice.  “Stand like a tree.  If it knocks you down, lie like a log.”  Any sudden movements could spook the dog.

If all these things don’t work and you are bitten, what are the first aid steps you should take?  According to WebMD, if there’s blood; use a clean towel to stop the bleeding.  Keep the wound elevated if possible.  It should be cleaned with soap and water as quickly as possible.  Use an antibiotic ointment daily to prevent infection.  If it’s a serious wound, seek medical treatment.  You should try and get as much information as possible about the dog, including vaccination history and other medical info.  That can help the doctor with treatment.

Hopefully, you and your family won’t have to deal with a dog bite.  Just follow some common sense rules and your time with the dog will be fun.  That’s the way it’s supposed to be!

Fetch! Pet Care provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Marietta and Woodstock, GA.  You can see the happy pets by checking out our Instagram page at http://instagram.com/fetchnwatlanta/.

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Keeping Your Dog Hydrated (and its bowls clean)

Spring is finally here and one of the great things about owning a dog in the spring is taking it out for walks.  Whether it is around the neighborhood, at the local park or for a hike through the woods, the exercise is great for everyone!  It’s important to remember however, that as important as it is for you to hydrate, your dog needs water too.  Make sure you give it some water before you leave.pepper drinks  Dr. Mitzi Schepps, DVM, of The Wellness Waggin, says that if you think of it in human terms, it’s easier to remember to hydrate your dogs.  “When it’s hotter, fluids evaporate quicker.  Dogs don’t have sweat glands, so they only release heat through their paw pads and their tongue.“  I can tell when some of the pets that I do regular dog walks with are dehydrated.  They start to drink water out of a puddle.  That’s something you definitely want to avoid because you don’t have any idea what is in there.  jackson drinks

If you’re going for a longer walk, you may want to carry a portable drinking bowl for your folding bowl editeddog that can be filled by a water bottle that both of you can drink out of.  These collapsible bowls can be purchased at any pet store and they can be carried in a pocket or hooked to a belt loop.  Johnny and Bowl editedYou can tell when the dog is suffering from extreme dehydration by what is called splayed tongue.  “That’s when the tongue gets flat.  The bottom of the tongue is wider than the top,” says Dr. Schepps.  If you see this, you’ll want to get some water however you can and find some shade and take a break.

Let’s say your dog just doesn’t like to drink from a bowl.  Dr. Schepps offers a suggestion.  “Put water in their food and make gravy.”  This way you are kind of tricking your dog to get the hydration as well.

This brings me to another pet peeve of mine that I’ve observed at client’s homes.  Dirty dog bowls.  Yes, they are dogs, but they still shouldn’t have to drink out of dirty bowls.  Bacteria can grow in bowls that aren’t cleaned regularly.  Dr. Schepps says plastic bowls are most susceptible for bacteria.  “Stainless steel and ceramic are much better materials for bowls.”  Besides, they are easier to clean.  One of my clients actually has a soap filled scrub brush by the sink in the room where she keeps the dogs when she is gone.scrubber and sink  That’s awesome!  Don’t forget to clean the food bowl every now and then too.  A Brillo pad is an easy way to clean a bowl.  Put it in the dishwasher from time to time to keep those germs away, your pet out of the vets office and out walking with you.

Fetch! Pet Care provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Marietta and Woodstock, GA.  You can see the happy pets by checking out our Instagram page at http://instagram.com/fetchnwatlanta/.