Dog Bite Prevention Message Points

May 2009

DOG ATTACKS ARE A SERIOUS HEALTH PROBLEM

  • Dog bites requiring medical attention in the United States number 500,000 to 800,000 annually. Countless more bites go unreported and untreated.
  • On average, about a dozen people died each year from dog bites.

DOG BITES CAN ALSO RESULT IN CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LIABILITY FOR PET OWNERS

  • Over the past 15 years, more than half the states have passed laws with stiff penalties for owners of dogs who cause serious injury or death.
  • The Insurance Information Institute estimates that dog bites cost insurers roughly $317.2 million in 2005.

REGARDLESS OF SIZE OR BREED, ALL DOGS CAN BITE IF PROVOKED. RESPONSIBLE PET OWNERSHIP IS KEY TO REDUCING THE LIKELIHOOD OF A DOG BITE AND CAN ENHANCE THE OWNER/DOG RELATIONSHIP

  • There is no such thing as a bad breed of dog. All dogs can bite if provoked. Responsible dog ownership is key.
  • Carefully consider your pet selection. Consult your veterinarian.
  • Socialize your dog so it feels at ease around strangers and other animals. Don't put your dog in a position where it feels threatened and teased.
  • Train your dog to respond to the basic commands.
  • Keep your dog healthy. Have your dog vaccinated against rabies.
  • Neuter your dog. Neutered dogs are three times less likely to bite.
  • Be alert to signs your dog is uncomfortable or feeling agressive.

IN MANY INSTANCES, A DOG ATTACK IS AVOIDABLE. IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER TO SAY CALM IF APPROACHED BY A DOG.

  • Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
  • Be on the lookout for potentially dangerous situations.
  • Teach young children to be careful around pets. Children should be taught not to approach strange dogs. They should ask permission from a dog's owner before petting the dog.
  • Never disturb a dog that's caring for puppies, sleeping or eating.
  • If a dog approaches to sniff you, stay still. In most cases, the dog will go away when it determines you are not a threat.
  • If you are threatened by a dog, remain calm. Don't scream. If you say anything, speak calmly and firmly. Avoid eye contact. Try to stay still until the dog leaves, or back away slowly until the dog is out of sight. Don't turn and run.
  • If you fall or are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your head and neck. Protect your face.
  • A brochure titled "What you should know about Dog Bite Prevention," provides tips on responsible dog ownership, as well as suggestions on how to avoid being a victim of a dog attack.