Dog Days of Summer: Avoiding Injury with Your Loved Ones and Man’s Best Friend

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I am a dog lover.  In fact, it’s difficult to imagine my life and my family without our dear adopted labrador retriever.  Turning 11 this month from the date of her rescue when she was just 6 months old, little Montana (pictured above) has never hurt a fly.  But having two young kids in the house, most parents like me worry about protecting our loved ones from getting mixed up with other doggies in the neighborhood.

As a plastic surgeon here in San Diego, I often see a complete other side to what can happen when doggies are not so nice. There are an estimated 70 million dogs living in U.S. households.  Sad to say, millions of people (most of them children) every year visit the ER bitten or injuried by dogs.  According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in 2013 over 26,000 reconstructive procedures were performed to repair injuries caused by dog bites. Most of these injuries occur in the head and neck and can lead to unsightly scarring.
As we approach the heat of summer, its important to teach our children strategies for avoiding injury and respecting man’s best friend.