The U.S. Postal Service has released dog attack rankings for 2012 by city. Last year, nearly 5,900 letter carriers were attacked by dogs. Overall, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were thought to be about 4.7 million dog bites in 2012. The term 'thought to be' is used because most dog bites occur within the home, and some go unreported.
Still, most people are never bitten by a dog. In fact, dogs are less likely to attack people compared with the odds of people being attacked by other people.
10. Cleveland and Dayton, OH: 26 attacks each
9. Houston, TX, and Minneapolis, MN: 27 attacks each
8. Baltimore, MD, and Sacramento, CA: 29 attacks each
7. St. Louis, MO: 32 attacks
6. Detroit, MI: 33 attacks
5. Philadelphia, PA: 34 attacks
4. San Francisco, CA: 38 attacks
3. Chicago, IL: 41 attacks
2. San Antonio, TX, and Seattle, WA: 42 attacks each
1. Los Angeles, CA: 69 attacks
Since the majority of victims are children, preventing bites before they happen is key. The American Humane Association offers a free guide "Pet Meets Baby," at http://www.americanhumane.org/assets/pdfs/interaction/pet-meets-baby-2013.pdf.
NEW PET OWNER SURVEY
According to a new survey of pet owners by Royal Canin, the pet food manufacturer, temperament matters most when choosing a new best friend. Eighty-seven percent of cat owners and 80 percent of dog owners rank disposition as their most important consideration. This is good news, and coincides with what experts suggest, noting that many times when pets land in shelters it's because of a mismatch: the wrong home for the wrong pet, such as an active family with a couch potato dog.
However, over half of all cat owners surveyed (55 percent) rank appearance as the most important factor, while 62 percent of dog owners concur that looks matter most. (In voting, respondents were allowed to 'check off' choices multiple times.)
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Bulldog is among the trendiest dogs around, ranking as the 5th most popular breed today. Despite their popularity, Bulldogs are expensive and can suffer a wide array of health problems. So what's the attraction? According to the Royal Canin survey, 59 percent of dog owners identify most with the personality of the English Bulldog. These pooches tend to be laid back and prefer to spend most of their time relaxing at home. Apparently, they're the new "cuddle dogs" of choice. Who knew?
Among cat owners, just over half (53 percent) identify most with the personality of the Maine Coon cat, saying they lead active lifestyles. Twenty 20 percent of cat owners surveyed say they're more like Siamese cats because they're outspoken. Siamese (and related breeds) are known for their tendency to their "opinions."
NEW TICK DISEASE
Researchers at Yale University have discovered a new, still to be named tick disease, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. The report suggests that this new malady, a relative of Lyme disease, could be infecting more than 4,300 Americans a year with flu-like symptoms and relapsing fevers. Scientists don't yet know if any chronic, long-term effects may occur later. Luckily, one dose of antibiotics seems to at least eliminate symptoms in people (and perhaps the disease all together, but research is still underway).
Since most tick diseases which impact people also affect dogs, it's likely this new disease affects dogs. While veterinary parasitologists don't know for sure yet, they do know ticks often inject a cocktail of nasty diseases when they bite people or dogs.
This new pathogen lives in areas where Lyme disease thrives. Ask your veterinarian about tick protection for your pets, including the vaccines for Lyme. Learn more at http://www.dogsandticks.com.
(Steve Dale welcomes questions/comments from readers. Although he can't answer all of them individually, he'll answer those of general interest in his column Send e-mail to PETWORLD(at)STEVE DALE.TV. Include your name, city and state. Steve's website is http://www.stevedalepetworld.com; he also hosts the nationally syndicated "Steve Dale's Pet World" and "The Pet Minute." He's also a contributing editor to USA Weekend.)