Skip Navigation

What Should I Know about Dog Bites?

Preventing Dog Bites and Attacks

More than 4 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year. When a dog bites, everyone pays. Dog bite victims suffer painful and disfiguring injuries. Dog owners suffer legal and liability consequence. Insurance companies pay millions in medical costs. And the dog often loses his home, his family and even his life.

A significant percentage of dog bite victims are young children. The elderly and home service people such as mail carriers and meter readers are also frequent victims of dog bites.

Fortunately, there are steps we can take to address this problem.

What's a dog owner to do?

Carefully consider your pet's selection. Your veterinarian is a good source for information about behavior and suitability.

Spay or neuter your pet. Its fact, dogs who have been spayed or neutered are happier, healthier and three times less likely to bite.

If you adopt a dog, make sure that you socialize it properly so that they feel comfortable around other people and animals. Ease your dog into a variety of situations a little at a time. Don't push them into a position where they feel threatened or teased.

Dogs are social animals; spend time with your pet. A dog that is left alone or tied up for long periods of times have a greater chance of developing behavior problems.

Train your dog, the basic commands: sit, stay, down, no, and come can be incorporated into fun activities which build a bond of obedience and trust between pets and people.

Don't play aggressive attack games like wrestling or tug-of-war with your dog. He won't always understand the difference between play and real life situations.

Keep your dog healthy. Have him vaccinated against rabies and preventable infectious diseases. Good health is important to how your dog feels and behaves.

If you're having a social gathering, please put your pet in his crate.

During Halloween if you pass out candy, keep your dog inside in his crate. Dogs don't understand the scary costumes at the door.

Obey leash laws. It's the law.

License your dog. It's the law.

How Can I avoid dog bites?

Be cautious around strange dogs and treat your own pet with respect.

Because children are frequently the victims of dog bites, parents and caregivers should teach children at a young age to be careful around pets.

Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.

Children should be taught to ask permission from the owner before petting a dog.

Don't run past a dog that's caring for puppies, sleeping or eating.

Be cautious around a confined or chained dog. An un-neutered dog that is confined most of the time is the most likely type of dog to bite.

If a dog approaches to sniff you, stay still.

If you're threatened by a dog, remain calm, don't scream. Don't turn and run.

If you fall to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your head and neck, protecting your face.

What should I do if my dog bites?

Restrain the dog immediately- separate him from the scene of the attack and confined him.

Call 911 if paramedic attention is required.

If immediate police response is needed call 911, otherwise call your SCACC to report the bite.

Wash wound with soap and water.

Consult your veterinarian for advice about dog behavior that will help prevent similar problems from occurring.

Dogs are wonderful companions; by acting responsibly owners not only reduce the numbers of dog bites, but also enhance the relationships they have with their dogs.