Raising Dog Bite Awareness to Prevent Injuries and Fatalities

Updated Article – Original Publish Date: 9/15/14

Each day, over 1,000 people in the United States require emergency treatment for dog bites, with a total of 4.5 million Americans bitten by dogs each year. 58% of these attacks happened to adults and 42% happened to children under the age of 11. Through advocacy and dog bite awareness, these numbers can be reduced.

Additional statistics from DogBites.org:
  • Nearly 1 out of 5 bites become infected
  • Dog bites account for more than one-third of homeowners insurance liability claims. In 2015 this was more than $570 million.
  • Adults with two or more dogs in the house are five times more likely to be bitten
  • In 2015 82% of total dog-bite deaths were caused by Pit Bulls

Always remember that any dog, even a friendly family dog, can attack at any given moment. There is no way to 100% prevent dogs from biting and or attacking, but there are steps that can be taken to help prevent startling or upsetting a dog.

Follow these steps when around dogs:

  • Always properly approach a dog by walking slowly and allowing the dog to sniff your hand.
  • Always supervise small children around dogs. Many fatalities occur when children are left alone with dogs.
  • Always play non-aggressive and playful games that do not require violent behavior.
  • Always follow the rule “let sleeping dogs lie”. Never bother a sleeping dog.
  • Never stare a dog in their eyes, they will take this as a threat and have reason to attack.
  • Never startle a dog that is eating, their first reaction may be to defend themselves
  • Never chase or corner a dog, they may feel threatened and become aggressive

If you are considering bringing a new dog into your household it is a good idea to follow a few tips by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) before making the decision:

  • Work with an experienced and reputable breeder or shelter. They can assist in recommending a dog that will work best for you situation.
  • Find a reputable trainer through a veterinarian or an experienced dog owner.
  • Be careful if your children seem fearful towards a dog.
  • Spending time with a potential dog before bringing it home is highly recommended.

Once you decide to move forward with bringing a dog into your household it is a good idea to spay/neuter him or her to reduce aggression.

If you currently own a dog that is of concern you can read an article with tips on how to correct dog aggression. Many of the statistics within this article take place from the family dog so paying close attention to your dogs behavior can forewarn you of potential risks.

Newborn babies and young children have a much higher risk so keeping them safe from the family dog should be a priority at all times. It is important to know that in the event of a dog bite, you should immediately seek medical attention. Over 27,000 reconstructive surgeries were performed in 2012 due to dog bites.