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Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498
Date: December 12, 2014
Dover (December 12, 2014) - The holiday season is a busy time for families and can be stressful for pets, especially dogs. The Delaware Division of Public Health's (DPH) Office of Animal Welfare (OAW) urges dog owners to consider bite prevention and other safety issues, especially around the holiday season.
Dog bites can result in tremendous pain, be fatal in extreme cases, cause fear in the community, increase homeowner's liability, and require the euthanasia or relinquishment of family pets. A 2013 study in The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association shows that nearly half of all fatal dog attacks involve young children. A staggering 84 percent of dogs involved in attacks are unneutered. In addition, dog mismanagement, such as allowing dogs to repeatedly run loose or keeping the dog isolated from usual human contact, is a strong indicator of the dog's likelihood to attack. Dog owners and communities can use this information to keep people and neighborhoods safe.
Many of the common factors seen in most dog attacks are preventable. To reduce the risk of dog bites during the holidays and every day:
If you think a dog may attack, the Office of Animal Welfare recommends that you stand tall and still. "Resist the urge to scream, or run away, as this can increase your likelihood of being attacked," says Mark Tobin, OAW enforcement officer. "You should also avoid eye contact, as the dog may read this as a challenge. Instead do not move and keep your hands at your sides." Once you feel as though the dog has lost interest, back away slowly.
If attacked, try to put something between you and the dog. This may be a bag, jacket, or a tree. While he is biting on this object, try to find a collar which you can grab and pull up sharply until the dog releases. If you fall on the ground, curl into a ball with fingers interlocked behind your neck to protect your neck and ears.
Stress is not the only challenge for pets during the busy holiday season. Holiday gifts, decorations, and food can also be a problem. To protect your pets from common holiday dangers:
For more information on animal care visit the DPH Office of Animal Welfare at dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/oaw/oawhome.html.
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, drink almost no sugary beverages.
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.