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Dog bites are up; parents advised to supervise children, gives pets a little 'me time'

Dog bites are up; parents advised to supervise children, gives pets a little 'me time'

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As the number of dog adoptions have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, so have dog bite injuries, according to an Omaha hospital.

Children’s Hospital & Medical Center saw 20 dog bite injuries in May, four of which required hospitalization, compared to 13 bites in May or last year, according to a press release from the hospital.

The hospital and the Nebraska Humane Society have partnered to advocate for child safety and educate families on dog ownership.

“Always have your child ask permission from the owner of the dog before approaching or petting it,” said Travis Hedlund, trauma injury prevention coordinator at Children’s. “Even when the owner gives permission, the child should proceed with caution and respect. Parental supervision is one of the No. 1 ways to prevent injury. Never leave your child unattended with an animal.”

Children’s Hospital and the Nebraska Humane Society shared these tips to help prevent dog bites:

  • Ensure that your pet has a designated kid-free space and respect your dog’s space.
  • Avoid pulling on a puppy’s tail.
  • Don’t tease a dog.
  • Never interrupt a pet while it is eating.
  • Avoid waking a dog from a nap.
  • Playful interactions can overexcite a dog, leading to an unexpected bite.
  • Stay alert and supervise children when interacting with the family pet.
  • Prevent children from hugging and kissing dogs.
  • Keep children from taking food, toys or other items out of a dog’s mouth.

“Families are spending a lot more time at home with their animals than they have in the past. Many dogs need their ‘me time,’ too — which may be time and space away from the kids,” said Alicia Buttner, director of animal behavior at the Nebraska Humane Society.

“Look for signs that your dog may be feeling stressed or overwhelmed, so you know when they need some alone time, or one-on-one time with Mom or Dad.”

jwade@owh.com, 402-444-1067

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