How to Greet a Dog (And What to Avoid)

Came across this leaflet a couple of weeks back on “How to Greet a Dog (and What to Avoid)” at a local fair for pet owners. Reading it, I realized that I was doing everything wrong when it comes to approaching an unknown dog. I’m guessing that you might be as well.

Did you know, for example that you aren’t supposed to approach an unknown dog directly and look it in the eyes? You are supposed to approach sideways and watch the dog with your peripheral vision.


So head over to Dr. Sophia Yin’s website and fill out a simple form to get the flyer.

While you’re there, there are videos to watch and have your children watch that will teach everyone how to avoid being bitten by any dog, unknown or familiar.

Dog Bite Prevention

For most of us dogs are a part of our household, part of our “family”. We dote on them, spend a small fortune on them (Americans spend $41 billion on their pets each year) and pamper them.

Sometimes, however, our furry friends can turn on us! We tend to forget that they have a mouthful of extremely sharp teeth designed to rip apart meat and if and if certain safety measures aren’t met those teeth can rip into us or our children (Children are the largest percentage of those who are injured).

4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the US each year. 20% of those bites require medical attention. Back in 2006 some 31,000 people had to have reconstructive surgery because of dog bites.

According to the CDC page on dog bite prevention:

Before you bring a dog into your household:

  • Consult with a professional (e.g., veterinarian, animal behaviorist, or responsible breeder) to learn what breeds of dogs are the best fit for your household.
  • Dogs with histories of aggression are not suitable for households with children.
  • Be sensitive to cues that a child is fearful or apprehensive about a dog. If a child seems frightened by dogs, wait before bringing a dog into your household.
  • Spend time with a dog before buying or adopting it. Use caution when bringing a dog into a household with an infant or toddler.

If you decide to bring a dog into your home:

  • Spay/neuter your dog (this often reduces aggressive tendencies).
  • Never leave infants or young children alone with a dog.
  • Don’t play aggressive games with your dog (e.g., wrestling).
  • Properly socialize and train any dog entering your household. Teach the dog submissive behaviors (e.g., rolling over to expose the abdomen and giving up food without growling).
  • Immediately seek professional advice (e.g., from veterinarians, animal behaviorists, or responsible breeders) if the dog develops aggressive or undesirable behaviors.

To help prevent children from being bitten by dogs, teach the following basic safety tips and review them regularly:

  • Do not approach an unfamiliar dog.
  • Do not run from a dog or scream.
  • Remain motionless (e.g., “be still like a tree”) when approached by an unfamiliar dog.
  • If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still (e.g., “be still like a log”).
  • Do not play with a dog unless supervised by an adult.
  • Immediately report stray dogs or dogs displaying unusual behavior to an adult.
  • Avoid direct eye contact with a dog.
  • Do not disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
  • Do not pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first.
  • If bitten, immediately report the bite to an adult.

Check out the CDC page for more information or to listen to a 4:05 minute podcast.

Brown Recluse Spider

Yesterday you were cleaning out the garage and today you feel like you are coming down with the flu. Then you notice a red welt on the back of your hand. Chances are you might have had a close encounter of the spider kind, namely a brown recluse spider.

(Sourced from Wikipedia)

Commonly known as a “violin spider” because of the violin shape on the cephalothorax (the small part of the 2-part body that the legs are attached to), the brown recluse is true to its name. Its body is usually about 1/2′ and it is golden brown in color and it likes to build small webs in isolated, hidden areas. For all the bad press it’s gotten, it isn’t actually aggressive and, in areas where it breeds and lives, people have lived with them in their houses for years with no reports of bites.

When it does bite, you might not even feel it at the time and you don’t usually know you’ve been bitten till a few hours (sometimes up to 36 hours later). If you do see a spider that you think might be poisonous, you’re better off catching it and keeping it in a jar for a couple of days to make sure in case someone does come down with symptoms.

If you do suspect that you’ve been bitten:

  • Clean the area with soap and water.
  • Elevate the limb to slow the flow of blood
  • Ice the limb to slow the spread of the venom
  • Seek medical attention

Fortunately, the habitat of the brown recluse is fairly limited to a specific area in the South of the US. Reports of brown recluse bites in other areas generally turn out to be Hobo spiders whose symptoms are often similar.

(Sourced from Wikipedia)

Safety Alert- Spider and Snake Awareness Tips

*** Safety Alert Bulletin ***

Spider and Snake Safety Awareness

With the days becoming warmer or just down-right hot, one of nature’s most dangerous natural creatures is awakening – those reptilian wonders we call SNAKES as well as the eight legged creatures called SPIDERS. Before you pack-up your tool bag or walk up to those warehouse metal buildings, splicing wires, generators, AFC remotes, Fiber and Cell site locations take a refresher course on snake bite and spider bite survival!

Here’s How:

Avoid Snakes and Spiders! Know the environment where you are adventuring and the kinds of snakes and other natural hazards. Avoid dense brush, stacked firewood, rock piles, etc. – Think before you leap! If you are bitten, identify the snake if possible. As a general rule, most poisonous snakes have a triangular shaped head, and somewhat flat. Know the different kinds of poisonous snakes and insects of the area! Same if bitten by a spider, try to identify what type of spider, most common poisonous spider in our area are the Brown Recluse and Black Widow.

Watch where you step…rattlesnakes are very active in the spring any time of the day.

Tips to rattlesnake safety: 

1. Don’t play with the snake. As silly as it sounds one of the common causes of rattlesnake bite is someone (usually under the influence of alcohol) plays with the snake.

2. Watch where you walk at night. I can’t think of any bites I have been on where someone has stumbled into one at night, but I am sure it has probably happened. When I go outside at night, I always use a flashlight and actively look for snakes. They will look motionless, like a rag or other non descript item on the ground. All you have to do is watch where you step. I even do this in my back yard in unlighted areas.

3. Watch where you put your hands! One of the common bites I have seen has been a person that is hard of hearing doing gardening. I always rustle around with a stick and look prior to picking tomatoes, or trimming. Another common bite is on the golf course. The guy or gal who can’t shoot straight (like me) and ball ends up off course. They reach down, scare the snake and get bit. Often times without a rattle. No matter what – watch where you put your hands!


1. If bitten by a rattlesnake, DO NOT use ice to cool the bite.

2. If bitten by a rattlesnake, DO NOT cut open the wound and try to suck out the venom.

3. If bitten by a rattlesnake, DO NOT use a tourniquet. This will cut off blood flow and the limb may be lost.

4. Avoid rattlesnakes altogether. If you see one, don’t try to get closer to it or catch it.

5. Keep your hands and feet away from areas where you cannot see, like between rocks or in tall grass where rattlesnakes like to rest.

If you are bitten by a rattlesnake, stay calm and get to a doctor as soon as possible. The National Poison Control Center advises:

1. Stay Calm

2. Wash bite area gently with soap and water

3. Remove watch, rings, etc. that may constrict swelling of the limb or area.

4. Immobilize the affected area

5. Keep the area of the snake bite lower than the heart.

6. Transport immediately to nearest medical facility!

Nonpoisonous snake or lizard bite

If you are certain the snake or lizard was not poisonous, use home treatment measures to reduce symptoms and prevent infection.

· Use direct pressure to stop any bleeding.

· Look at the wound to make sure a snake or lizard tooth is not in the wound. If you can see a tooth, remove it with tweezers, taking care to not push it farther into the wound.

· Clean the bite as soon as possible to reduce the chance of infection, scarring, and tattooing of the skin from dirt left in the wound. Wash the wound for 5 minutes with large amounts of warm water and soap (mild dishwashing soap, such as Ivory, works well).

· Do not use rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, iodine, or mercurochrome, which can harm the tissue and slow wound healing.

· Soak the wound in warm water for 20 minutes, 2 to 4 times a day, for the next 4 to 5 days. The warmth from the water will increase the blood flow to the area, which helps reduce the chance of infection.

· Puncture wounds usually heal well and may not need a bandage. You may want to use a bandage if you think the bite will get dirty or irritated.

o Clean the wound thoroughly before putting the bandage on it.

o Apply a clean bandage when it gets wet or soiled. If a bandage is stuck to a scab, soak it in warm water to soften the scab and make the bandage easier to remove.

o If available, use a nonstick dressing. There are many bandage products available.

o Be sure to read the product label for correct use.

· Use of an antibiotic ointment has not been shown to affect healing. If you choose to use an antibiotic ointment, such as polymyxin B sulfate (for example, Polysporin) or bacitracin, apply the ointment lightly to the wound. The ointment will keep the bandage from sticking to the wound. If a skin rash or itching under the bandage develops, stop using the ointment. The rash may be caused by an allergic reaction to the ointment.

· Determine whether you need a tetanus shot.

· Apply and ice or cold pack may help reduce swelling and bruising. Never apply ice directly to a wound or the skin. This could cause tissue damage.


Spiders are common in homes during cold weather and move indoors as temperatures drop outside, although they can be found indoors any time during the year. Their numbers usually peak during late summer. With the cooler temperatures now in the evenings you may start to see more of these creatures in your homes.

Black Widow:

Brown Recluse:

Many people routinely find spiders in their garden and many places where spiders like to hide. Favorite hiding spots for many spiders include woodpiles and basements, attics, and even closets in our homes. Fortunately, extremely few of these spiders are dangerous though. In the Unites States, just two species of spiders are poisonous enough to cause harm. They include the black widow spider (Latrodectus mactans) and the brown recluse spider (Loxosceles reclusa).

It is important to remember than even dangerous black widow and brown recluse spiders aren’t wandering around your house trying to attack. They usually like to live in places where they won’t be disturbed. Unless youre crawling through boxes in a closet or attic, or someplace else where he may have disturbed a spider, it is unlikely that any bites on his skin were caused by a “bad spider.” Here are a few simple safety tips to help identify spider bites, symptoms and control spider numbers both outside and inside your homes.

Spider Bite Symptoms

Surprisingly, most spider bites aren’t that painful. It may feel like a pin prick and they are often unnoticed when the spider actually bites you. Common spider bite symptoms can include a single bite mark with:

· swelling

· redness

· itching

· pain

In fact, most spider bites will resemble a bee sting. Your child may also develop hives and other allergy symptoms if he is allergic to the spider bite.

Symptoms of a black widow spider bite might also include severe muscle pain and cramps, which develop within a few hours of the bite. Other symptoms may include weakness, vomiting, trouble breathing, abdominal pain, and high blood pressure.

Brown recluse spider bites can be painful. In addition to pain, these spider bites may cause burning and itching. Another characteristic finding is that the spider bite may look like a bull’s eye, with a red ring around a white center that turns into an ulcer.

Spider Bite Treatments

For most spider bites, you can follow some simple home treatments, including:

· washing the spider bite with soap and water 

· apply an ice cube to the bite for about 20 minutes 

· give your child a pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil)

· apply a topical antibiotic ointment to the bite two or three times a day 

· apply a topical steroid cream to help control itching and redness a few times a day

· continue home treatments for one or two days, the typical time that it takes a spider bite to go away

Of course, you should seek medical attention if you think you were bitten by a black widow spider or brown recluse spider.

Outdoor Control of Spiders

If it is necessary to reduce the number of spiders in and around your home, start with nonchemical methods including sanitation to prevent spiders from entering from the outside.

  • Keep grassy or weedy areas near buildings cut short.
  • Trim back shrubs and other plants that directly contact your home.
  • Knock webs down with a broom or a hard spray of water.
  • Remove and destroy any egg sacs or spiders that are found.
  • Caulk or seal obvious cracks or spaces around the foundation, doors, and ground level windows.
  • Check to be sure screens fit tightly.

Indoor Control of Spiders

Regular housecleaning is very important in the control of spiders indoors. Large, persistent spider populations indoors indicate the presence of a significant insect population that serves as their food.

  • Remove papers, boxes, bags, and other clutter to minimize favorable sites for spiders.
  • Remove webbing with a broom or vacuum, and destroy any egg sacs and spiders that are found. Look especially around windows, in corners and other relatively quiet places.
  • Eliminate insects that serve as a food supply, especially when large numbers exist. Check particularly in and under webs to see what insects have been captured.
  • Shake out any clothing left on the floor or shake your shoes prior to putting them on in the morning to help remove spiders from their hiding spots.

You can supplement your sanitation efforts with an insecticide treatment. Treat especially behind base-boards, in cracks and crevices, and other places where spiders may hide. General treatments on surfaces and fogs are not effective. Most insecticides labeled for ants and cockroaches are also labeled for spiders. These products are commonly found in aerosol ready-to-use cans.

CAUTION: Read all label directions carefully before buying insecticides and again before using them. The label is the final authority on how you may legally use any pesticide!

Information provided by National Poison Control Center and Urgent Care Association of America.

Today’s blog post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald Safety and Security Manager for Plateau


Dog Bite Safety Tips

Prevent Dog Bites Before They Happen

Every year, more than 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs, with more than half of all victims younger than age 14.

What Are the Signs That a Dog Is Going to Bite?

A dog’s body language is the key to understanding when it may be preparing to bite. Here are some common signs that a dog is relaxed and not looking to bite:

  • A relaxed dog will hold its head up.
  • The dog’s tail with either be resting, pointed down, or gently wagging back and forth.
  • The ears should be neither back nor forward.
  • The dog’s hair will lie smooth along its back.
  • Its mouth and lips are relaxed, almost appearing as if they were smiling.
  • You can see the dog’s tongue.

Signs that a dog may be readying itself to bite:

  • The dog’s nose may be pulled back and wrinkled.
  • The dog’s lips are drawn back to reveal its teeth.
  • The hair along the back of its neck is raised straight down the spine.
  • You can see that the dog’s ears may lie back or be pushed up forward.
  • Its body may appear tense and cocked.
  • The dog is making noises such as growls or snarls.

Ways to Avoid Dog Bites and Dog Attacks

Good behavior begins with dog owners. Here are some tips to help dog owners encourage safety and prevent dog bites:

  • Know and follow leash laws. This goes for your home, as well as anywhere you may visit. Keeping your dog properly restrained at all times is a way to cut down on dog attacks.
  • Don’t let your dog run loose, even in your backyard. Make sure that the dog is kept on a run, inside an enclosed or fenced area, or wearing an electronic restraint collar. Dogs can easily get loose and bite people if there are no restraints in place.
  • Train your dog. Proper animal education allows the dog to establish positive patterns of behavior. With a solid background of training, your dog will understand basic commands and have a better sense of right and wrong.
  • Socialize your dog with both people and other dogs. Dog parks and doggie daycares are just two of the ways that your dog can gain safe exposure to other animals and humans. The more comfortable your dog is around strangers, the less chance there is that your dog will bite.
  • Train your dog to drop toys on command. Avoid reaching inside its mouth to retrieve toys.
  • Focus on non-aggressive games such as fetch. Tug-of-war and wrestling can encourage aggressive behavior.
  • Never, under any circumstances, leave a small child unsupervised with a dog.

Safety doesn’t just end with dog owners. It’s important for everyone to understand that behaviors can provoke an otherwise gentle dog into attacking. Here are some safety tips when dealing with dogs that don’t live in your home:

  • Teach children to always ask a dog’s owner for permission petting a dog.
  • Respect a dog’s space. Don’t casually place your hands on a dog’s fence or other property. Dogs are territorial by nature and may feel threatened if they don’t know you.
  • Always act with extra caution around a mother dog and her puppies. She will be very protective of her babies.
  • If approached by a dog that has gotten off its leash, do not run away and yell or make loud noises. Stand still, with your arms crossed over your chest, avoiding eye contact with the dog.
  • When you feel that a dog may be approaching your with the intent to bite, toss an object away from you and away from the dog to distract its attention. Then confidently turn and walk away from the dog.
  • Remember that a sick or old dog may be more irritable than a younger animal. Approach these dogs with extra caution.

Are Some Dog Breeds More Dangerous Than Others?

Unfortunately, this question has two very valid answers that contradict each other. First and foremost, it’s not a dog’s breed that makes it dangerous – a dog’s upbringing and lifestyle can makes an otherwise gentle dog turn vicious. In that sense, the answer is “no.”

But some dog owners seek out specific dog breeds for their supposedly aggressive temperaments. Because certain breeds have been targeted by dog owners who encourage aggression, these breeds have become disproportionately represented in dog bite statistics and other sources of information. In that sense, the answer is “yes.”

Fighting breeds may pose a unique threat. Pit Bull, Bulldog, Akita, Bullmastiff, Cane Corso, Dogo Argentino, Dogue de Bordeaux, Fila Brasileiro, Presa Canario, Shar Pei, and Tosa Inu dog breeds are often coveted as fighting dogs. While they hold no specific threat when raised as a loving family dog, many members of these breeds are raised to be fierce by their owners and thus should be approached with extra caution.

Today’s blog post is courtesy of Ken Oswald

Safety and Security Manager for Plateau