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This information was gathered from a public health news source of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Here are the facts:

  • 4.7 million people in this country are bitten by dogs every year
  • children are by far the most common victims
  • 800,000 Americans receive medical attention for dog bites each year
  • children are far more likely to be severely injured; approximately 400,000 receive medical attention every year
  • 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 a number of things that 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. 

What’s a dog owner to do?

  • Carefully select your pet.  Puppies should not be obtained on impulse.
  • Make sure your pet is socialized as a young puppy so it feels at ease around people and other animals.
  • Don’t put your dog in a position where it feels threatend or teased.
  • Train your dog.  The basic commands “sit”, “stay”, “no”, and “come” help dogs understand what is expected of them and can be incorporated into fun activities that build a bond of trust between pets and people.
  • Walk and exercise your dog regularly to keep it healthy and provide mental stimulation.
  • 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 other health care are important because how your dog feels affects how it behaves.
  • Neuter your pet.
  • If you have a fenced yard, make sure the gates are secure.

How can your protect your family?

  • Be cautious around strange dogs, and treat your own pet with respect. 
  • Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
  • Be alert for potentially dangerous situations.
  • Teach toddlers to be careful around pets.  Children must learn not to approach strange dogs or try to pet dogs through fences.   Teach children to ask permission from the dogs owner before petting the dog.

Dog Bite Emergencies:  If you are bitten by a dog, here is a checklist of things you should do:

  • If the dog’s owner is present, request proof of rabies vaccination, and get the owner’s name and contact information
  • Clean bite wound with soap and water as soon as possible
  • Consult your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room if it’s after office hours.
  • Contact the dog’s veterinarian to check vaccination records.