Avoiding Dog Bites
According to the Humane Society, there are approximately 57 million dogs in the United States, and nearly 40% of all homes now have a dog. Dog attacks are becoming more frequent and violent, with 4.7 million Americans bitten annually, and it is estimated that four times this many go unreported. Each year an average of 12 fatalities occur and as many as 800,000 people require medical treatment due to dog bites. Awareness can help reduce the number of incidents.
While some breeds can be a greater risk than others, ALL BREEDS OF DOGS CAN AND WILL BITE!
Stop and observe whether there are indicators of a dog’s presence on a property, such as:
- Paths worn in the yard
- Dog feces on or barking coming from the property
- A dog house, dog toys, leash, or chain
- “Beware of dog” signs
Become familiar with different breeds of dogs and their habits.
Dogs are hierarchical, territorial, and sense fear. Your body language should be dominant but not aggressive. Never take your eyes off of the dog, but avoid direct eye contact, as that may be interpreted as aggression.
Avoid petting dogs.
Avoid surprising a dog, especially one that is sleeping, eating, playing with a toy, or caring for puppies.
Dogs that have NOT been spayed or neutered are much more likely to bite than are dogs that have been spayed or neutered.
Report stray dogs to the proper authorities.
Ask a dog owner to properly secure a dog BEFORE entering the property.
If attacked by a dog, let the dog grab onto something and tug on it, such as a clipboard, jacket, or tool. Don’t let go of the object, and back out to a safe place. Never turn and run from the dog. If you are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball, protecting your ears and neck, and remain motionless until it is safe to leave the area.
Immediately and thoroughly wash the wound with soap and warm water. If you are in severe medical distress, call 911 immediately.