It’s hard to see a cute dog walk past in the street without reaching out your hand to stroke it.
But sometimes dogs don’t want the attention, as figures released today reveal that hospital admissions due to dog attack injuries have increased.A study by the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) states there have been more than 23,000 admissions in the last three years.
Numbers rose by 5 per cent between 2015 and 2018 – an average of 7,693 each year – with children and teenagers under 18 making up around 21 per cent of the total number.
Now doctors are urging for dog owners and members of the public to take extra precautions, with RCS Professor Vivien Lees adding that dog attacks are becoming a ‘public health issue’.
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She warned even smaller, less intimidating breeds are still capable of causing significant damage – particularly to babies.Jenna Kiddie, Head of Canine Behaviour at Dogs Trust, told Metro.co.uk it is essential members of the public are educated on how to correctly approach dogs.
Here’s looking at you. Dogs have three eyelids, an upper lid, a lower lid and the third lid, called a nictitating membrane or “haw,” which helps keep the eye moist and protected.
She added: ‘It is key for dogs to be properly trained as puppies and that the public, especially children, understand how to behave around dogs.
‘A big focus for us is helping people understand more about dog behaviour, and to recognise behavioural signs that indicate where dogs are distressed or anxious, so that problems can be prevented.’Tracy Genever, Head of Education at Blue Cross pet charity, told Metro.co.uk although it’s difficult to ascertain why hospital admissions have increased, she echoed it is important to notice the warning signs.
She said: ‘Unfortunately, many people may not research the right breed for their lifestyle, or may buy a puppy or dog online with no knowledge of its characteristics.
‘Without educating ourselves in our pet’s behaviour opportunities for accidents could easily occur when a dog may actually be communicating clearly that they wish to be left alone, or are feeling threatened.’
Tracy added it’s important not to disturb pets when they are eating or sleeping and not to taunt a pet over food or toys.
Read your dog's body language.