Keep dog days of summer safer by teaching bite prevention

Dog bites occur more often than pet owners might realize. An estimated 4.7 million people are bitten each year. Children are the most common victims, and summer is the most common season for these incidents.

“It’s surprising how many times it occurs, and the majority of dog bites aren’t from strays,” says Dr. Ron Hoxworth, a plastic surgeon at UT Southwestern Medical Center. 

He said dogs by nature remain territorial, especially when eating, and young children are both unpredictable in their actions and less able to protect themselves.

Children are often bitten on the face, which can result in severe lacerations, infection and permanent scarring. In 2010, most of the nearly 33,000 reconstructive procedures from dog bites were performed on children.

Dr. Hoxworth, an expert in reconstructive surgery who has performed numerous dog-bite repairs, recommends the following precautions:

• Watch your children carefully around dogs, even family pets.

• Make sure kids avoid getting close to a pet when it is eating.

• Keep children’s immunizations and pet vaccinations up to date.

• Don’t delay treatment if a bite occurs. If severe bleeding results,

take your child to a hospital emergency room immediately.

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/plasticsurgery to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in plastic and reconstructive surgery, or call 214-645-2353.

Media Contact: Robin Russell

Return to June 2011 News Tips

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