So you and your family have decided it is time to get a dog. This is a decision that should be well thought-out and should not be made impulsively. You should consider having a detailed discussion with a veterinarian about your wants and needs before making a decision on what type of dog to get for your family.
Keeping Friends & Family Safe
One of the major considerations you should have is the safety of your family members and your friends will come in contact with your dog. More than half of all dog bite injuries occur inside the dog owner's home. There are a number of issues you should consider before buying a dog so that you can ensure that your friends and family members avoid being attacked were bitten by your dog.
There are some basic considerations that you should discuss before getting a dog, which could include the following:
- What exactly are you looking for in a dog? The larger the dog more difficult it might be to care for this animal. If you have young children then it might not be a good idea to get a breed of dog that has a more aggressive temperament. You should also consider the experience and ability of the main caregiver for this dog which might have an impact upon your decision as to the size of your new dog.
- If you have any young children then you should seriously consider waiting until your child or children are older before getting a dog. Most dog bite injuries occur to children between the ages of 4 and 9.
- Do you currently have other pets in your home? Consider how well your current pet or pets might interact with this new member of the household. Do you currently own pets that are aggressive or are very timid which might affect your decision as to the type and breed of dog that you get?
- Do you live in an area that has restrictions or limits the type of dog that you might be able to obtain? Some cities or towns have restrictions as to certain breeds of dogs. Some condominium associations or homeowners’ associations have restrictions on dogs, the type of dog, or the size of dog that you can obtain.
- Are you able to provide the proper amount of attention that your new dog might need? Some breeds of dog require certain types of care and may have special needs. How long will you be away from your pet during the course of a normal day or do you travel quite frequently where you will have to make arrangements to have someone else care for your dog?
After carefully selecting your dog there are a number of things that you can do to help reduce the risk that your dog will attack or bite someone. A partial list of these recommendations are as follows:
- Make sure your dog is socialized as a puppy so that it gets used to being around people and other animals.
- Always use a leash when you are in public so that you can control your dog. You should also train your dog so that you can build a bond of trust and obedience between the dog owner and the dog.
- Be a responsible pet owner. Make sure you properly license your dog, get all necessary shots for your dog, obey leash laws, fence in your yard if appropriate, and make sure that you have insurance coverage for your home where you will be keeping your dog.
- Make sure your dog is kept healthy. Have regular vet appointments. How your dog feels may very well affect how your dog behaves. You should also have a discussion with your vet about whether or not it is proper to neuter your dog is some research suggests that neutering may cause a dog to be less aggressive and less likely to bite.
- You should make sure that you monitor your dog when friends and family members come to visit you. Make sure that young children are supervised while around your dog and provide some basic ground rules to help ensure the safety of your guests.
Naturally, not all dog bites can be prevented, but by following the preceding suggestions, you can help reduce the risk that your dog might bite or attack another person or animal. Getting a pet should be a happy experience in the last thing you want to do is to have your dog seriously injure or permanently disfigure a family member, friend or another person. Owning a dog comes with some heavy responsibilities and they should not be taken lightly because of the danger that might be present.
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