The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) offers shocking facts about dog bites:
- One-half of American children suffer a dog bite before age 12.
- About 800,000 bites a year require medical treatment. Another one to two million go unreported.
- The vast majority of bites are by a dog known to the child…even the child’s family dog.
Most Dog Bites Are Avoidable Injuries
Here are some tips from the ASPCA and the Humane Society to help keep from suffering an awful dog bite attack. Consider them tips for children of all ages, as we’d all do well to follow these instructions to respect our dogs and protect ourselves and our children:
- Don’t go near an unfamiliar dog, especially if it’s tied up, behind a fence, or in a car. It may see you as an invader, and instinct may force it to protect its territory by attacking the intruder—you.
- Don’t go near a dog running loose. Children who see one should tell an adult immediately.
- Don’t disturb a dog who’s sleeping, eating, chewing on a toy, or caring for puppies. Awakening the dog can frighten it into biting. The other acts may cause the dog to think you’re a threat.
- Assume an unfamiliar dog sees you as an intruder or a threat.
- Don’t pet a dog until you get permission from the dog’s owner. Dogs respond to their owners. If the owner welcomes you, so should the dog.
- Before petting a dog, ask permission from the dog by letting him sniff your closed hand. Dogs may see an open hand as a threat because the surface area is larger.
- Never pet a dog without letting him see and sniff you first, even if it’s your own dog. The unexpected touch could trigger a defensive bite.
- Never stare into a dog’s eyes. It may see this as a threat. Look somewhere else on its body, but keep its face within your field of vision.
- Never tease a dog.
- If a loose dog comes near, do not scream or run away. Stand still and quiet. The dog’s instinct is to chase you.
Hopefully, these tips can help you and your children avoid the horror, pain, and scars of a dog bite attack. For more information about these cases and what you can do if you’re a victim, check out other articles on our site or start a live chat right where you are.