Dog Bite Prevention

Dog Bite Facts:Dog bite prevention

  • Each year, more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs.
  • Almost 1 in 5 people bitten by dogs require medical attention. 
  • Every year, more than 800,000 Americans receive medical attention for dog bites; at least half of them are children.
  • Children are, by far, the most common victims of dog bites and are far more likely to be severely injured.
  • Most dog bites affecting young children occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs.
  • Senior citizens are the second most common dog bite victims.

There are many things you can do to avoid dog bites, ranging from properly training and socializing your pet to educating your children on how - or if - they should approach a dog. Information and education are the best solutions for this public health crisis.

May 19-25, 2013, Is National Dog Bite Prevention Week!

Visit the National Dog Bite Prevention Week page for more information and resources to educate people about dog bite prevention.

Useful Links

The following AVMA resources can help you learn more about dog bite prevention:

For parents and pet owners:

What you should know about dog bite prevention (brochure)
This informative brochure offers tips on how to avoid being bitten, as well as what to do if you are bitten by a dog. It also addresses what you need to do if your dog bites someone.

The Blue Dog Parent Guide and CD
This innovative dog bite prevention program is designed to help parents and children safely interact with dogs both inside and outside their home. The program is geared toward children from 3 to 6 years old. It's the only dog bite educational tool scientifically proven to help young children learn behaviors that can keep them safe.

What you should know about rabies (brochure)
Rabies is a deadly disease that is transmitted to people through a bite. It is transmitted through the rabid animal's saliva. Rabies vaccinations for dogs are an excellent defense against this disease, as many times families are exposed to rabies after an unvaccinated pet dog is bitten by a rabid wild animal. This brochure educates on how to prevent rabies.

For children:

Bilingual Dog Bite Prevention activity/coloring book

Bilingual Dog Bite Prevention activity/coloring book
Teach children about different ways to avoid dog bites, by educating them on how, or if, they should approach a dog. A creative tool for use all year, including during Dog Bite Prevention week in May.

For veterinarians, legislators and animal control officers:

Backgrounder: The role of breed in dog bite risk and prevention
This backgrounder reviews and provides scientific context on dog breeds and their purported tendencies to bite.

A community approach to dog bite prevention (PDF)
The American Veterinary Medical Association Task Force on Canine Aggression and Human-Canine Interactions has produced this report intended to help state and local leaders develop effective dog bite prevention programs in their communities.

Article: Why breed-specific legislation is not the answer
This article and our other resources about breed-specific legislation desribe why stereotype-based laws are not the answer to dog bite problems.

Articles about Preventing Dog Bites

Read, learn, and feel free to share these articles to educate people about dog bite prevention. 

AVMA Podcasts Audio icon

Victoria Stilwell Shares Tips to Stop Dogs From Biting

Preventing Dog Bites: an Interview with Dr. Gregory Hammer

Dog Bite Prevention: Sensible Advice

Handling an Injured Pet

Other Dog Bite and Dog Bite Prevention Resources:

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) Statistical Brief #101: Emergency Department Visits and Inpatient Stays Involving Dog Bites, 2008. (PDF)

American Academy of Pediatrics – A Lesson in Dog Safety Can Help Prevent Bites

United States Postal Service – Dog Bite Awareness

American Society of Plastic Surgeons – Dog Bite Information

American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons

American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery