10 January 2009

Tips on Avoiding Dog Bites

Avoiding Dog Bites
Before giving tips on avoiding dog bites, lets consider some basics about dogs. First and foremost, dogs are animals. If we like they are anything other than that, it is unfair to them and puts undue pressure on them to act like something other than dogs. The number one question I get from people considering euthanasia or putting a dog up for adoption relates to biting.

Dog nips, bites and attacks in the United States are on the rise. The CDC estimates that over 5 million people are bitten by dogs every year. That is about 2% of the population in the United States. Of those, only about 16% seek medical attention. The majority of people bitten by dogs are children, but service people and the elderly are also high on the frequently bitten list.

American Family Insurance all ready has a policy in place that prohibits coverage to households with a wolf, wolf hybrid or pit bull. The ineligible dog list is ever expanding and will likely continue to do so. It is up to dog owners to train their dogs and help them become good canine citizens.

Here are some basic tips to reduce your risk of dog bites:

Don't leave babies or children unattended with dogs or puppies.
Don't play aggressive games with dogs.
Don't disturb sleeping or eating dogs.
Don't bother a bitch caring for her puppies.
Don't tease dogs or make loud noises around them.
Don't stick your face into a dog's face.
Don't put your hand between two dogs.
Don't stare into a dog's eyes.
Don't make fast, jerky movements around a dog's head.
Don't approach a dog you don't know, especially if it is chained or tied up.
Don't chase dogs.
Don't move suddenly or make any direct contact with an unfamiliar dog. If a dog approaches you, don't run or scream but remain still. If the dog does knock you down, roll into a ball, protect your head and face, and don't move.

DO ask the owner's permission to pet a strange dog. Approach the dog slowly with your hand out flat and let him sniff you. Instead of petting the top of the dog's head, pet him underneath his chin. If he growls, back away.

For more information on dog bites, visit the AVMA web site, State Farm Insurance web site, the Insurance Information Institute web site or the CDC web site. (These links will take you away from this blog.)

1 comment:

Mark said...

One more rule: follow the sign that says “Beware of dogs.” This means that you don’t simply enter into another person’s property without invite or permission. Otherwise, there’s a huge chance that you will not be able to win a claim for dog bites against the dog owner. You will not be able to recover the losses you will incur during the treatment.