People are more likely to get bitten by a dog during the summer than at any other time of the year. The increase in dog bites is attributed to several factors, including children not attending school, dogs getting taken on long walks and excursions, and the hot weather. However, dog bites remain rare and can be avoided when proper safety is observed and taught.
Causes of the Increase in Bites During Summer
According to the Centers for Disease control, young children are more likely to get bitten by a dog than any other age group. Moreover, several studies indicate that dog bites are more common during the summer than in other seasons. These studies suggest several possible contributing factors.
Summer Vacation: during the summer, most children are out of school and therefore more exposed to the world. They are at higher risk of everything – getting bit by dogs, getting hit by a car, but also having more fun! During the summer, children are more likely to play outside, which increases the odds they may encounter a dog. Moreover, young children are more likely to pet a dog unfriendly or make the dog feel threatened than adults or older children.
Hot Weather: while still not conclusively established by the evidence, some research indicates that dogs are more aggressive or temperamental when the weather is hot.
Outdoor Activities: during the summer, all age groups engage in more outdoor activities – including pet owners. People, in general, are more likely to encounter dogs are parks, beaches, and other places. These increased interactions inevitably increase the chances at which a bite may occur.
It is nearly impossible to eliminate the risk of a dog bite but it is possible to minimize the risk.
For example, parents should instruct their children on how to approach and treat dogs. Parents can teach children to avoid unfamiliar dogs. Further, if an unfamiliar dog approaches the child, the child should remain still and try to appear unthreatening. If the dog knocks the child over, the child should stay curled up in a ball with his or her hands cover the ears and neck.
Owners should keep their dog on a leash when in parks or beaches because even well-tempered dogs can get stressed in unfamiliar social settings, which could result in a bite.