Learning Center

Preventing Dog Bites

Prevent dog bites with these common sense steps.

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More than 43 million U.S. households have pet dogs, according to the American Pet Products Association. Among all those canines are a few problem pups.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are 4.7 million dog bites per year.

Help prevent injuries by training your pooch

When considering a new dog, look for a breed that fits with your family, especially if you have young children.

Consider consulting a professional (veterinarian, animal behaviorist or responsible breeder) for help in selecting the best breed for your situation. Such animal experts can also assist with proper socialization and training.

Other important considerations:

  • Take time to get to know a dog before buying or adopting it.
  • Spay or neuter your pet.
  • Seek professional advice if your dog develops aggressive behaviors.
  • Make sure your liability insurance covers the type and breed of dog you own.

Avoiding dog bites

Children are most at risk for dog bites, but anyone can be a victim. Following these simple safety tips can reduce your chances of being injured:

  • Do not approach an unfamiliar dog.
  • If a strange or threatening dog approaches you, do not run or scream; remain motionless. Try to back against (or climb) a tree or car. Then call for help.
  • If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball, put your fists over your ears and lie still.
  • Don’t allow children to play with a dog unless they’re supervised by an adult.
  • Don’t stare; direct eye contact with a dog can make it feel threatened.
  • Don’t disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating or caring for puppies.
  • Allow a dog to see and sniff you before you pet it.

Additional dog safety resources

For more information about preventing dog bites, visit these sites: