As soft and cuddly as dogs are, some of them cross the line when protecting their home and owners. They attack humans and leave them with serious injuries requiring reconstructive facial plastic surgery.
An average of 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs every year, and children are three times more likely to be bitten than adults are. Approximately 600,000 children require medical care after a dog bit every year, and most of them are in grade school.
When a violent dog attack occurs, most victims need reconstructive microsurgery and maxillofacial surgery. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, almost 33,000 reconstructive procedures were performed in 2010.
The most common part of the body to be attacked is the face, especially when children are attacked. This causes severe lacerations, which can lead to infections and scarring.
How to Protect Yourself from Dog Attacks
While reconstructive surgery is available for dog bite victims, it’s important to implement these tips to decrease the chances of a dog attack.
- Never walk up to a dog you do not know and start petting it. Ask the owner first if the dog is friendly and then let the dog smell you before reaching out to it.
- If you are getting a dog for your family, speak to a veterinarian about the best breed for your household. Some breeds do well with young children while others do not.
- Neutering and spaying a dog reduces the likelihood of attacks, so be sure to have yours neutered or spayed.
- Make sure your dog has all of his or her vaccinations, especially the rabies vaccination.
- Never leave a baby or child with a dog, even if you know the dog well.
- Teach children to stay away from dogs they do not know.
- Teach children to always ask a dog owner if it’s okay to pet his or her dog.
- If a dog runs up to you, do not run away because the dog will follow. Stand still, do not make eye contact, and wait for the dog to sniff you and go away. Try not to make any sudden movements.
- If a dog attacks you, remain calm. Curl into a ball and protect your face with your arms and fists.
With school letting out for the summer, share these tips with your children to keep them safe around dogs. If a dog you don’t know bites you or your children, be sure to contact the owner to ensure the dog is up to date on all vaccinations, clean wounds with soap and water immediately, and seek medical attention if the wounds are serious.
For more information on reconstructive surgery after a dog attack, please contact the experienced cosmetic and facial plastic surgeons at Advanced Cosmetic Surgery of New York.