Dog Bite Prevention

According to the American Veterinary Association, more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year, and unfortunately children are the most common victims. Properly training and socializing your dog, in addition to teaching children when and how to appropriately interact with dogs, are essential steps for dog bite prevention.

Do you know what you should do if you encounter a loose dog? By standing still, avoiding eye contact, and slowly backing away once the dog disengages, you can de-escalate a situation with a dog off-leash. Remember: be a tree. Running away can trigger a dog’s chase instinct. Children are more likely to encounter dogs off-leash when they are playing outside. Teach them these tips. Never allow a child to pet a dog through a fence or without the owner’s permission.

Dog on a leash.As a responsible pet owner, it is your job to keep your dog safe when meeting new people. Some people are unaware of the proper way to greet a dog. Don’t hesitate to let someone know if they are doing something that makes your dog uncomfortable. Think about when you meet a new person: if they are loud, boisterous, or in your personal space, it may make you nervous and wary of them. Dogs are the same way. They need space and time to get to know someone new. Take a look at this diagram from Dr. Sophia Yin, professional dog behaviorist, comparing similarities between meeting a new person and a new dog.

Another way to prevent a dog bite is to pay attention to the dog’s body language to tell if he’s comfortable meeting the new person. A dog who is hunched down, looking away, and licking his lips may be telling you that he’d rather keep more personal distance. A dog who seems relaxed and leaning forward may be eager to make a new friend. If a dog snaps or growls, back away immediately. We want the dog to learn that people will respect their displays of discomfort, and they don’t have to resort to more intense forms like biting. If the dog appears uncomfortable, nervous, or a situation is escalating, allow the dog an escape and remove them from the situation. The ASPCA has a helpful page about reading canine body language if you need some help deciphering what the dog is trying to tell you.

Remember, preventing a dog bite starts with being a responsible owner. Being attentive to your dog’s body language will help you understand how they are feeling and what situations they should be put in.

For more information, check out these facts about dog bites or contact us.

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