Dog Bite Prevention Week Promotes Safety

Each spring National Dog Bite Prevention Week occurs the third week of May. This week is used to promote safety tips and prevention.


According to the the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the US. Almost 20% (800,000) of them requiring medical attention.

Sadly, children are by far the most common victims of dog bites. They are also more likely to be severely injured. Children represent half of the dog-bite victims requiring medical attention every year. Senior citizens are the second most common dog bite victims.

Most dog bite-related injuries occur in children 5-9 years of age. Almost two thirds of injuries among children 4 yrs or younger are to the head or neck region.

The family pet is often to blame, so it is important for parents to teach their children how to treat dogs. It is also important to train the family dog in obedience.


Dog bites are a largely preventable public health problem. There are a number of things that you can do to avoid dog bites.

Take care in selecting a family pet. Obedience training and socializing the pet beginning at a young age will insure the dog feels at ease around people and other animals. Keep the dog healthy.

Don't put your dog in a position where it feels threatened or teased. Teach your children not to tease the family dog or any other dog. Neutered dogs are less likely to bite.

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

Basic safety around dogs

  1. Do not approach an unfamiliar dog.
  2. Do not run from a dog and scream.
  3. Remain motionless (“be still like a tree”) when approached by an unfamiliar dog.
  4. If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still (“be still like a log”).
  5. A child should not play with a dog unless supervised by an adult.
  6. A child should immediately report stray dogs or dogs displaying unusual behavior to an adult.
  7. Avoid direct eye contact with a dog.
  8. Do not disturb a dog who is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
  9. Do not a pet a dog without asking permission from its owner first.
  10. Do not pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first.

American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)