Safety Around Dogs

This article is from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website. For more information please go to www.cdc.gov

Safety Tips for Parents

In 2011, roughly 4.7 million persons in the United States were bitten by dogs. Nearly 1 million people (more than half of which were kids) required medical attention for these bites. You can teach children how to reduce their chances of being bitten by dogs if you teach them some basic safety tips:

• Never approach an unfamiliar dog.

• Never scream and run from a dog.

• Stay still when an unfamiliar dog comes up to you (tell children to “be still like a tree”).

• If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still (“be like a log”).

• Do not look a dog in the eye.

• Do not disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.

• Do not pet a dog without letting it see and sniff you first.

• Never play with a dog unless supervised by an adult.

Additional Dog Safety Tips

Any adult can lessen the risk of dog-bite injuries. Here are some tips that will greatly reduce the chance of anyone being attacked or bitten by a do:

At Home

Never leave an infant or child alone with any dog.

Teach your dog submissive behaviors, like rolling over to show its stomach.

Do not play aggressive games with your dog, such as wrestling.

Seek medical care for any serious dog bite and report all dog attacks.

In the Community

Support animal-control programs in your community and the enforcement of local laws regulating dangerous or vicious dogs.

Support dog-bite prevention educational programs in schools.

Work with a Veterinarian

Get the advice of a veterinarian about the right breed of dog if you are thinking about getting a family dog.

Spay or neuter your dog. This often reduces its aggressive tendencies.

Be sure all pets are properly immunized.

Seek a veterinarian’s advice quickly if your dog becomes aggressive.

The Problem

Who Is Affected?

Dogs can make great pets. Many people who have dogs think of them as part of the family. But dogs can also bite, and dog bites can cause serious injury and even death. According to statistics by DogsBite.org, 38 people in the U.S. died as a result of dog bites. Of the 38, 19 of the victims were children.

Children are often bitten on the face or head, and any bite can cause severe injury or infection. Children’s small size may cause a dog to act in a dominant way toward a child. Many children’s lack of judgment and ignorance about how to behave around a dog and their inability to fend off an attack can add to the risk. Infants are especially susceptible to attacks. It is very important that parents closely supervise children of any age when around dogs.