More than 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs annually.
To help educate the public about dog bites, the AVMA has developed a brochure, "What you should know about dog bite prevention," offering tips on how to avoid being bitten, what dog owners can do to prevent their dogs from biting, and how to treat dog bites.
The brochure's release preceded National Dog Bite Prevention Week, May 21-28, sponsored by the AVMA, American Academy of Pediatrics, and U.S. Postal Service.
"There are more than 61 million 'good' dogs in the United States," said AVMA president, Dr. Henry E. Childers. "But any dog can bite if it feels threatened or is in pain," Dr. Childers added.
Responsible pet ownership and education have been shown to be the key factors in reducing the number of bites that occur in a community. Dog owners must understand the importance of appropriate behavioral training and supervision of contact between their dog and children or strangers.
"As pediatricians, we often see the harm inflicted when dogs bite children," said Eileen Ouellette, MD, AAP president. "In addition to teaching children about safety—whether rollerblading or riding in a car—the AAP hopes families address safety around some of their furry friends."
To access the dog bite brochure online, visit www.avma.org/press/publichealth/dogbite/mediakit.asp.