Dog Bite Prevention Tips

posted: by: Dawn, RVT Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

As we near Memorial Day and the start of summer, more people are getting outside to enjoy themselves.  That also means that more of the estimated 70 million pet dogs in the US are getting outside as well.


This week has been National Dog Bite Prevention Week.  Here are some stats to consider:

  • 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
  • Prevent The Bite reports that according to the Center for Disease Control, dog bites were the 11th leading cause of nonfatal injury to children ages 1-4, 9th for ages 5-9 and 10th for ages 10-14 from 2003-2012.
  • The Insurance Information Institute estimates that in 2013, insurers across the country paid over $483 million in dog bite claims.
  • The American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery reports that according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 26,935 reconstructive procedures were performed in 2013 to repair injuries caused by dog bites.
  • The U.S. Postal Service reports that 5,581 postal employees were attacked by dogs in 2013. Children, elderly, and postal carriers are the most frequent victims of dog bites.
  • The American Humane Association reports that 66% of bites among children occur to the head and neck.

What'™s a dog owner to do?

  • Carefully select your pet. Don'™t get a puppy on impulse. Before and after selection, your veterinarian is your best source for information about behavior, health and suitability.
  • Make sure your pet is socialized as a young puppy so it feels at ease around people and other animals. Gradually expose your puppy to a variety of situations under controlled circumstances; continue that exposure on a regular basis as your dog gets older. Don'™t put your dog in a position where it feels threatened or teased.
  • Wait until your child is older. Because so many dog bite injuries happen to young children, it is suggested that parents wait to get a dog until children are older than 4 years of age.
  • Train your dog. The basic commands 'œsit,' 'œstay, 'down,' 'off,' 'leave it,' and 'œcome' can be incorporated into fun activities that build a bond of obedience and trust between pets and people. Avoid highly excitable games like wrestling or tug-of-war.
  • Use a leash in public to ensure you are able to control your dog. Keep your dog healthy. Have your dog vaccinated against rabies and preventable infectious diseases. Parasite control and overall health care are important because how your dog feels directly affects how it behaves.
  • Neuter your pet. The available science suggests neutered dogs may be less likely to bite.
  • Be a responsible pet owner. License your dog with your community as required. Obey leash laws. If you have a fenced yard, make sure the gates are secure.
  • Dogs are social animals; spending time with your pet is important. Dogs that are frequently left alone have a greater chance of developing behavioral problems. Walk and exercise your dog regularly to keep it healthy and provide mental stimulation.
  • Be alert. Know your dog. Be alert to signs of illness. Also watch for signs your dog is uncomfortable or behaving aggressively.

How can my family and I avoid being bitten?

Be cautious around strange dogs and treat your own pet with respect. Because children are the

most common victims of dog bites, parents and caregivers should:

- NEVER leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.

- Be alert for potentially dangerous situations.

- Teach children,“ including toddlers,“ to be careful around pets. Children must be taught NOT to approach strange dogs or try to pet dogs by reaching through fences. Teach your children to ask permission from the dog'™s owner before petting the dog.


Other tips that may prevent or stop a dog attack

  • Don'™t run past a dog. Dogs naturally love to chase and catch things. Don'™t give them a reason to become excited or aggressive.
  • Never disturb a dog that'™s caring for puppies, sleeping or eating.
  • Never reach through or over a fence to pet a dog. Dogs can be protective of their territory, and may interpret your action as a threat.
  • 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 or yell. 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.

The staff of Suburban Animal Clinic wish everyone a safe & happy summer!!


Statistics and tips brought to you courtesy of the American Veterinary Medical Association.  For more information, visit

Suburban Animal Clinic is located in West Columbus off I-70 near I-270.  Suburban Animal Clinic serves Galloway, Hilltop, West Side, Georgesville, West Jefferson, Grove CityGrandviewUpper Arlington (including OSU Campus area), Hilliard and Dublin.

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