In accordance with National Dog Bite Prevention Week this week of April 12 to April 18, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), State Farm, Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), American Humane and the Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training and Behavior are taking the opportunity presented by the surge in pet fostering and ownership during the coronavirus pandemic to reinforce safety and responsible pet ownership.
The agencies make up the National Dog Bite Prevention Week Coalition and join forces each year to draw attention to how people can reduce the number of dog bites.
Stress can affect pets and cause them to feel anxiety. In some cases, dogs will exhibit anxious behaviors such as barking, aggressive behavior or destructive behavior. According to Victoria Stilwell, CEO of Positively.com and the Victoria Stilwell Academy of Dog Training and Behavior, the coronavirus pandemic has affected pets, too. “Dogs that are used to kids being at school and adults at work are now finding themselves surrounded by their families 24/7,” said Stilwell. “Most welcome the company but some dogs are having a hard time adjusting to the constant noise, attention and lack of space.”
Members of the NDBPW Coalition will share information during a public webinar this week focused on how COVID-19 is impacting pets and pet owners. Experts will provide safety tips for sheltering at home with dogs, how to support animal shelters and rescues and release 2019 dog-related injury claims data.
Friday, April 17, 2 p.m. EST – Zoom webinar for the general public
The public is invited to join this free webinar to ask questions related to dog behavior, bite prevention, and how COVID-19 impacts pets.
https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_9cO7OQTVQXSdZb2UXs9ufQ (registration required)
The AVMA estimates there are approximately 77 million dogs in US homes and each year 4.5 million people are bitten or injured by dogs. In noting that 56 percent of all dog bites involve children, Dr. John Howe, president of the AVMA, said, “It’s important to remember that animals and children – particularly young children – should always be supervised, especially during this time. Be mindful of how your child interacts with dogs so they learn to be gentle from the beginning, and make sure your dog has a safe, comfortable space in the house to be alone and away from kids if they choose.”
Howe adds that if dog owners notice changes in their pet’s behavior, including aggression, they should reach out to their veterinarian for a consultation. “It could be a behavioral issue related to changes in the family’s lifestyle, or it could be the result of an underlying medical condition.”