DOG BITES ARE A SERIOUS PROBLEM
Be Alert, Be Cautious, Do Not Take Chances
Unwisely, some owners actually promote aggression in their dogs
as symbols of power. They appear to have no regard for the health
and safety of human beings. They seem to enjoy the fact that
their dogs are vicious.
From nips to bites to actual attacks, dog bites are a serious problem.
Dog bite victims requiring medical attention in the United States
number 500,000 to 1 million annually. Countless more bites go unreported
and untreated. On average, about a dozen people die each year from
dog bites. Fortunately, there are steps we can take to address
Who's being bitten?
Children make up more than 60 percent of all dog bite victims.
The elderly and home service people like mail carriers, meter readers
and people who deliver newspapers are also high on the list of
frequent dog bite victims.
How to avoid being bitten
Be cautious around strange dogs. Listed below are some safety tips:
- Be on the lookout for potentially dangerous situations.
- Be careful around pets.
- Do NOT approach strange dogs.
- Ask permission from a dog's owner before petting the dog.
- If you attempt to pet an unfamiliar but seemingly friendly dog, do not stretch out your fingers or make threatening gestures. Point your hand downward gently, with the back of your hand facing the dog' nose.
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
- Never disturb a dog that's caring for puppies,
sleeping or eating.
- If a dog approaches to sniff you - stay still.
In most cases, the dog will go away when it determines you're
not a threat.
- If you're threatened by a dog, remain calm.
- 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. Dogs can sense fear in a person.
- If you fall or are knocked to the ground, curl
into a ball with your hands over your head and neck. Protect
What a dog owner should do if his or her dog bites someone
Even if the bite can be explained (perhaps someone stepped
on the dog's tail), it's important for the owners to take responsibility
for their dog's actions by taking these steps:
- They should restrain the dog immediately. Separate it from
the scene of the attack. Confine it.
- Check on the victim's condition. Wash wounds with soap and
water. Professional medical advice should be sought to evaluate
the risk of rabies or other infections. Call 911 if paramedic
response is required.
- They should provide important information: i.e., their name
and address, and information about their dog's most recent
rabies vaccination. If their dog does not have a current rabies
vaccination, it may be necessary to quarantine it or even euthanize
it for rabies testing. The person bitten may need to undergo
- They should report the bite to their insurance company.
- They must comply with local ordinances regarding the reporting
of dog bites.
- They should consult their veterinarian for advice about dog
behavior that will help prevent similar problems in the future.
What to do if you are bitten
- If YOU are the bite victim - have someone help you treat wounds.
- If your own dog has bit you, confine it immediately and
call your veterinarian to check your dog's vaccination records.
- If someone else's dog bit you, contact authorities and tell
them everything you can about the dog: the owner's name, if you know it;
color of the dog; size; where you saw it; if you've seen it before. These
details may help animal-control officers locate the dog.
Dogs are wonderful companions. By acting responsibly, owners
not only reduce the number of dog bites, but also enhance the
relationships they have with their dogs.
To learn more about the joys and responsibilities of pet ownership,
contact your veterinarian or local veterinary association. Professional
Safety Training Services, Inc. is also available to conduct lectures
on the Dangers of Dog Bites and the serious injuries that can
occur. Click onto contact to learn more and to enroll.