DHEC offers tips to prevent potential rabies exposures during National Dog Bite Prevention Week

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– This week is National Dog Bite Prevention Week, and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is reminding both pet owners and the public that most dog bite injuries and rabies exposures can be avoidable.

“Dogs play many roles in our lives and can be great companions. They can be trained for search and rescue, to guide the blind, and to help in an array of other supportive services. But, like all animals with teeth, they also can bite,” said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program Team Leader. “National Dog Bite Prevention Week is a good time to remind pet owners why it’s so important to keep pets current on their rabies vaccinations.”

DHEC encourages all owners to make sure your pups are healthy, because dogs are more likely to bite if they are sick or in pain.

“Keeping your pets up to date on their rabies vaccination is the easiest way to protect you and your family, including your pets, from the rabies virus, which can be deadly,” McCollister said. “Any mammal has the ability to carry and transmit the disease to people or pets. Keeping pets current on their rabies vaccinations is state law and part of the responsibility of being a pet owner.”

Additionally, if your dog has only been interacting with family in the past, don’t rush them into a crowded area or dog park. Lastly, educate yourself in positive training techniques. Devote time to interact with your dog to be aware of signs of possible aggression to avoid any accidents.

Officials say it is important that you report all dog bites and exposures to DHEC and your medical provider.

You can learn more about preventing dog bites by visiting the American Veterinary Medical Association website.

Categories: News, State