Preventing Dog Bites

Child Attacked by Dog at Daycare

A child attending an in-home daycare required advanced medical attention after being bitten in the face by a dog. The daycare owner’s son was visiting and brought the dog with him. Both the child and the dog were unsupervised when the attack occurred. The bite caused significant damage, required surgery, and resulted in permanent facial scarring.

Dog Bite Statistics

gilman dog attackMost people consider dogs to be man’s best friend, but every year a shocking number of people require medical attention and suffer horrific injuries due to dog bites. A recent study demonstrates just how prevalent dog bites are, especially among children, and why it’s important for parents, homeowners and business owners to take certain precautions.

  • Dogs bite 4.7 million people every year.
  • 800,000 people annually seek medical attention for dog bites.
    • Almost 400,000 of these injuries are treated in an emergency room.
    • 31,000 people require reconstructive surgery following a dog bite, half of which are children.
  • Children between ages 5 and 9 account for the largest portion of dog bite injuries.
  • An average of 16 people are killed every year from dog attacks.

Preventing Dog Bites

As demonstrated in the story above, bringing dogs into a situation with children can have very serious consequences if all necessary precautions aren’t taken. Everyone should take a few simple precautions before getting a dog, especially if the dog is going to be exposed to children or strangers on a regular basis.

  • Any dog with a history of aggression should not be allowed to come into contact with children and should also be closely monitored when interacting with unfamiliar adults.
  • According to both the American Kennel Club and the American Humane Association, a good way to reduce aggressive behavior in a dog is to have it spayed or neutered.
  • Consult with a professional about selecting the proper dog breed for you and select one that fits your lifestyle and personality best. Dogs can become aggressive if their owners aren’t prepared to handle their unique personality traits.
  • Spend time with a dog and learn as much as possible about its history before making any purchasing decisions.
  • Socialize your dog in a familiar place as often as possible before exposing it to strangers.

Other ways to prevent dog bite injuries include:

  • Never approach or touch an unfamiliar dog;
  • Do not make loud noises or sudden movements around a dog;
  • Instruct children never to play with a dog unless supervised by an adult;
  • Never approach a dog that is sleeping, eating, or has puppies;
  • Children should be instructed to report any aggressive or unusual dog behavior to an adult.

Some Dog Breeds are More Aggressive

Some dog breeds, statistically, are much more likely to bite than others, and some breeds account for an overwhelming percentage of fatal dog bites. Pit bulls, Rottweilers, and wolf mixtures account for over half of all fatal dog attacks and 25% of all dog bites. While not every Pit Bull or Rottweiler is dangerous, statistics do show that these breeds, on average, tend to be more aggressive than others. The CDC has more information in this study on aggressive dog breads [PDF].

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