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Dog Bite Prevention

Increasing Safety, Reducing Risks

To reduce the number of injuries from dog bites, adults and children should be educated about bite prevention, and dog owners should practice responsible dog ownership.

Click here to learn what to do if a dog bite occurs.

Adult Education

Be aware of the fact that any dog can bite. From the smallest to the largest, even the most friendly, cute and easygoing dogs might bite if provoked. The vast majority of dog bites are from a dog known to the child-his or her own pet, a neighbor's or a friend's. You can help protect your child from dog bites by discussing with them the appropriate way to behave around dogs.

  • Don't approach any dog who's sleeping, eating, chewing on a toy or bone, or caring for puppies.
  • Animals are more likely to bite if they're startled, frightened or caring for young.
  • Never approach a barking, growling or scared dog.
  • Don't pet unfamiliar dogs without asking permission from the dog's guardian first. If the guardian says it's okay, the child should first let the dog sniff his closed hand. Then taking care to avoid petting the dog on the top of the head, pet the dog's shoulders or chest.
  • Don't try to pet dogs who are behind a fence or in a car. Dogs often protect their home or space.
  • If a dogs off-leash outside, never approach the dog and tell an adult immediately.
  • If a loose dog comes up to you, don't run or scream. Instead, avoid eye contact with the dog and stand very still, like a tree, until the animal moves away. Once the dog loses interest, slowly back away until you are out of sight.
  • If you are knocked to the ground by a dog, curl up in a ball with your knees tucked into  your stomach with your fingers interlocked behind your neck to protect your neck and ears. If you stay still and quiet like this, the dog will most likely  go away.

Understanding Dog Body Language

Understanding dog body language is another key way to help you and your children avoid being bitten. Teach your children that they can read dogs' body language to better understand what dogs are feeling and avoid those whose body language indicates that they're feeling anxious, afraid, threatened or aggressive. Click here to learn more about dog body language.