In support of National Dog Bite Prevention Week, we’re using this opportunity to take a look at some responsible dog ownership tips and how to keep you and your family safe.
Dogs and dog owners are more common than ever before! Did you know that there are approximately 77 million dogs in the U.S and that nearly 40% of homes have at least one dog?
While most dogs won’t be involved in a bite incident, the price is high for individuals and families that own a dog that bites. In 2019, insurers paid out $797 million in liability claims related to dog bites and other dog-related injuries.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 800,000 people are treated for dog bites every year. Sadly, children are the most common victims of dog bites and are far more likely to be severely injured.
Ways to Prevent Dog Bites
1. Responsible Pet Ownership
Owning a dog (or any pet!) is a major commitment that involves your finances, emotions, and your lifestyle. A few considerations that can help minimize bite risk include:
- Carefully selecting the dog that's right for you or your family
- Proper training for YOU and your dog
- Regular exercise
- Neutering or spaying your dog
- Annual vet visits; and
- Following all dog-related laws (i.e., leash laws, waste disposal, etc.)
Knowing more about dogs (i.e., what foods they shouldn’t eat, what their body language means, etc.), and specifically knowing more about your dog’s breed, will prepare you and your family for responsible ownership.
Remember, even if you don’t have a dog, you or your children are likely to encounter a four-legged pet at the park or at a friend’s house.
Educate yourself and your children about how—or whether—to approach a dog, and what to do in the event of a dog bite.
3. Avoid Risky Situations
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, it’s important to know how to avoid escalating situations and to understand when you should and should not interact with dogs. For example, don’t pet a dog if:
- The dog isn’t with its owner
- The owner doesn’t give permission to pet the dog
- The dog is sick or injured
- The dog appears to be hiding or seeking time alone