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Dog Bite Prevention - What Can You Do?


Community Involvement in Dog Bite Prevention

Dog bite-related injury is a community problem, and success in preventing dog bites necessarily requires the support and involvement of the entire community. Educational interventions have been developed specifically for:

  • Children
  • Parents
  • Current and future dog owners
  • Senior citizens and other adults
  • Professionals who play a role in preventing or treating dog bites, including:
    • Veterinarians
    • Environmental health specialists
    • Animal control officers
    • Nurses in schools and county health departments
    • Other health care professionals (pediatricians, plastic surgeons, and emergency room physicians and nurses).

Educational Messages

The Dog Bite Prevention Program's educational messages are tailored according to the concerns of each target audience, and cover the following general areas:

  • How to approach a dog with an owner:
    • Always ask permission before you pet a dog;
    • Hold your out your fist so the dog can smell you; and
    • Pet the dog on its chest under the chin, never on the head.
  • Identify situations in which you should stay away from dogs:
    • Dogs that are behind a fence, in a car, tethered to a post or object;
    • Stray dogs;
    • Injured dogs; and
    • Dogs that are nursing puppies, eating, sleeping or protecting property.
  • If approached by a dog, how to "stand like a tree":
    • Stand STILL;
    • Arms at your side; and
    • Look ahead, not at the dog - don't stare into the dogs eyes.
  • If attacked or knocked down by a dog, how to "be like a log":
    • Lie face down on the ground;
    • Hands behind neck, covering ears; and
    • Wait until the dog leaves before you get up.
  • Responsible dog ownership:
    • Socialize and train your dog;
    • Keep current with your pet's vaccinations;
    • Do not let your dog run loose;
    • Use a leash, especially when required by law; and
    • Spay or neuter your dog.