The American Academy of Pediatrics has recently distributed their dog bite prevention tips for 2017. Each year more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs and about 800,000 receive medical attention. About one-half of those receiving medical attention are children. Most dog bites occur with familiar animals in everyday activities so prevention starts in your home.

Preventing dog bites:

• Never leave a small child and a dog alone together, even if it is the family dog, a dog that is known to you or a dog that you have been assured is well behaved. Any dog can bite.

• Teach children that they should never tease a dog, even the most laid-back and friendly animal. No wrestling or tug-of — war.

• Let a dog sniff you or your child before petting and stay away from the face or tail.

• Teach them to be gentle and calm around dogs, especially with dogs they don’t know. Tell children not to run, jump or scream around an unfamiliar dog, since they don’t know what actions may cause fear or aggression in the animal.

• Tell children not to stare into a dog’s eyes as they may take that as a threat or challenge and become aggressive.

• Children should not wake up a sleeping dog or bother a dog while he’s eating or caring for puppies.

• Tell children not to climb on any dog.

• Children should know that they shouldn’t pet unfamiliar dogs without asking permission.

Treatment for dog bites:

• Request proof of rabies vaccination from the dog owner. Get the owner’s name and the dog’s veterinarian.

• Immediately wash out the wound with soap and water

• Call your pediatrician because the bite could require antibiotics, a tetanus shot and/or rabies shots.

• If your child is bit severely, call 911.

Owners should socialize their pets to children but should watch all play carefully and stop the play if it becomes too rough. Owners should teach their pets to allow touching on all body parts. Play with the family dog and young children should be supervised and young children should not be left alone with pets. If a dog’s behavior suddenly changes he may be in pain and need medical attention. If a dog is not OK around children, it is the owner’s responsibility to keep the animal out of a situation where he might bite a child.