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Paw prints: How to be proactive in preventing dog bites

Community Columnist

Teach your child to never reach through a car window or fence to pet a dog. Always ask permission before petting a dog.

Also, teach them not to disturb a dog that is sleeping or eating. Adults should never leave a young child alone with any dog.

If you are in a situation where you feel you may be bitten what should you do? Avoid running away from the dog. Instead, walk calmly and avoid eye contact.

Do not yell or make loud noises. If you are knocked down, curl into a ball and protect your face with your hands until you feel safe to get up.

If the worst does happen and you are bitten or if your dog bites someone, what steps do you take next? First, confine the dog immediately. Wash the bite wound with soap and water and then seek medical attention.

Even a minor bite can develop serious complications if left untreated. Record the name and address of the dog owner and description of the dog.

Contact local law authorities or dog control to report the incident.

If the dog that bites is not current on its rabies vaccine, a lengthy quarantine or even euthanasia may be necessary for public health reasons.

Lastly, if your own dog is the biter, contact your veterinarian for advice on behavior or to determine an underlying medical condition for the cause of biting.

Dogs are special companions for many of us. Part of being a responsible pet owner is to be mindful of the reality of dog bites and how to prevent them.

This awareness will strengthen the wonderful relationship we have with dogs, so they will forever be known as man’s best friend.

Dr. Anne Weiskotten Galton is a veterinarian at Cazenovia Animal Hospital. She can be reached at 655-3409 or agalton28@yahoo.com.

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