Dog Bite Facts:
- 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.
Dog bite prevention: top ten scenarios to avoid
Here’s a list of when you should avoid petting a dog, whether the dog is yours or someone else’s.
- If the dog is not with its owner.
- If the dog is with its owner but the owner does not give permission to pet the dog (yellow ribbons on their leash are a sign note to pet the dog)
- If the dog is on the other side of a fence, don’t reach through or over a fence to pet the dog.
- If a dog is sleeping or eating.
- If a dog is sick or injured.
- If a dog is resting with her puppies or seems very protective of her puppies and anxious about your presence.
- If a dog is playing with a toy.
- If the dog is a service dog. Service dogs are working animals and shouldn’t be distracted while they are doing their jobs.
- If the dog is growling or barking.
- If the dog appears to be hiding or seeking time alone in its special place.
There are many things you can do to avoid dog bites, ranging from properly training and socializing your pet (our sister clinic Valleydale Animal Clinic has a Certified Dog Trainer on staff), to educating your children on how – or if – they should approach a dog.
The American Veterinary Medical Association produced these videos for kids so they can learn how to safely interact with pets and avoid dog bites.