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The recent National Dog Bite Prevention Week created awareness of how big the problem of dog bites is in the United States, as well as provided education on how to prevent dog bites. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 4.5 million Americans are the victims of dog bites annually. Of these victims, about one in five require medical attention due to their injuries (totaling 885,000). Over 31,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery as a result of being bitten by dogs in 2006. People most at risk for being bitten by a dog include children, adult males, and people with dogs in their homes.

There are ways to make dog bites less likely for adults and children. If a household is considering bringing a dog into their home they should first consult with a professional to find out what breed best fits the household, never choose a dog that has a history of aggressive behavior if there are children in the home, pay attention to fearful cues children are showing when around dogs (if any), spend time with the dog before adopting it, and use caution when bringing a dog into a home with infants or toddlers.

Once a dog is brought into a home, spay or neuter the dog, never leave the dog alone with infants or toddlers, avoid playing aggressive games with the dog, properly socialize and train the dog, and contact a professional if the dog develops aggressive behavior.

To help prevent a child from being bitten, teach and follow the safety tips outlined by the CDC:

    • Do not approach an unfamiliar dog.

    • Do not run from a dog or scream.

    • Remain motionless (e.g., "be still like a tree") when approached by an unfamiliar dog.

    • If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still (e.g., "be still like a log").

    • Do not play with a dog unless supervised by an adult.

    • Immediately report stray dogs or dogs displaying unusual behavior to an adult.

    • Avoid direct eye contact with a dog.

    • Do not disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.

    • Do not pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first.

    • If bitten, immediately report the bite to an adult.


  1. Gravatar for Fan of Education
    Fan of Education

    Good advice.

    We should have dog bite education year round.

    Although dog bites are trending downwards,education can only help.

    Just an FYI, the 4.5 million number mentioned above comes from a 1994 Telephone survey.

    More up to date info below.

    [quote]...There is no national system in the United States for tallying reports of dog bites. The often-repeated numbers that inspired some to declare a dog bite “epidemic” were estimated on the basis of a telephone survey conducted in 1994. From among the 5,328 persons who responded to this survey, interviewers obtained reports of 196 dog bites within the previous 12 months. (Only 38 of those sought medical attention).*

    Alarmists quote the numbers extrapolated from this 14-year-old telephone survey as evidence that dogs are a growing threat. However, communities across the country report the good, less publicized news that actual (not estimated) reports of dog bites are decreasing, and have been for years....[/quote]

    Florida Info

  2. Gravatar for fred piercey

    Everytime I ask, "please restrain your (aggressive, attack-bred dog)

    ", people say the same thing, "Oh, he doesn't bite". No doubt they also brag about him as a protector on other occassions. Dog owners are the problem, and they're all about the same. They generally focus on the victims behavior (moving, looking in the dogs eyes ect.). Funny how it's accepted that dogs are allowed to behave so aggresively, if I did that I'd be locked up for good.

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