As summer gets underway and children are out of school, there will be an increase in outdoor activities for both families and pets. This means an increased chance of encounters with unfamiliar dogs, with an owner or loose.
Adults may shy away from the canine, but a child’s instinct is usually to run up and pet the dog. This is not always a safe situation.
Not all pets are kid friendly. It is important to teach children to always ask the owner before approaching an unfamiliar dog. While a dog may not be aggressive, he may bite out of fear if he is startled or made to feel uncomfortable.
A child should never approach a lost or stray dog. In addition, a child should never be left unattended with an animal, even a familiar pet. Young children can be rough with animals and may cause an otherwise friendly pet to bite if he is scared or injured by the child.
Regardless of age, if approached by an unfamiliar dog, the Louisiana SPCA recommends the following:
Do not run or climb atop or hide under an object; dogs are faster than humans and can climb. Instead, stand still like a tree or curl up in a ball like a rock if you fall.
Do not make eye contact with the dog, but keep it in your peripheral vision.
Do not scream or panic; be very quiet and move away slowly.
Remain standing, if possible. If on the ground, curl up in a ball and cover the face and neck.
Try to put an object between you and the dog, such as a purse, trash can or tree branch.
Seek shelter inside, if possible.
When walking pets, if a lost or stray dog approaches, it is best to avoid the situation. The dynamic between a leashed pet and a loose dog can cause tension in and of itself, and if either animal is aggressive, the situation can quickly escalate into a fight.
This is not to say a lost animal should not be helped; rather, safety should be the top priority when approaching a stray animal. If an injured animal is found, it is always best to call for help because an animal in pain may bite out of fear.
In Orleans and Jefferson parishes, dogs are required by law to be on a leash when off the owner’s property. To report a stray or roaming dog, contact the Louisiana SPCA at (504) 368-5191, ext. 100. In Jefferson Parish, call (504) 736-6111 on the east bank or (504) 349-5111 on the West Bank.
DINE OUT 4 PAWS: Dozens of restaurants will donate 20 percent of their dining proceeds to the Louisiana SPCA on Thursday. For a list of participating restaurants, visit la-spca.org/ dineout.
DOG ADOPTION EVENT: Animal Rescue New Orleans will hold a dog adoption event from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at Petco, 3520 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie. For information, send email to adopt@animalrescue neworleans.org.
PET FIRST AID: A Red Cross-certified instructor will teach first aid and CPR for pets from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday at the Louisiana SPCA, 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd., New Orleans. The hands-on training course will cover the basics of animal handling, restraint, pet first aid and CPR using realistic animal mannequins. The cost is $65, and preregistration at la-spca.org is required.
PUPPY SOCIAL TIME: Owners of puppies can kick-start or continue their socialization during a 30-minute puppy social beginning at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at Deutsches Haus, 1023 Ridgewood Drive, Metairie. The $10 fee is waived for Louisiana SPCA Puppy Manners students. For information, visit la-spca.org/training.
LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish, you can send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact information to email@example.com.
Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. Contact ARNO at animalrescuecolumn@ gmail.com, www.animal rescueneworleans.org or call its recorded information line at (504) 571-1900.