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Dog Bites: How to Avoid Them

Approximately 885,000 Americans are bitten by dogs every year and require medical attention. In some cases, extensive surgery is required. For example, in 2006, 31,000 people required reconstructive surgery as a result of being bitten by dogs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children ages 5 to 9 are most at risk for being bitten by a dog and requiring medical treatment. Among adults, men are more likely than women to be bitten. Adults with two or more dogs in their home are more than five times more likely to be bitten than those without dogs. How can you and your family avoid becoming one of these statistics?

According to the CDC, teaching your children the following safety tips will help keep both you and your loved ones safe from this unfortunately common occurrence:

  • Never approach an unfamiliar dog.
  • Do not run from a dog or scream. Dogs instinctively chase.
  • If you are approached by an unfamiliar dog, remain completely motionless. ("Be like a tree.")
  • If you are knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still. ("Be still like a log.")
  • Do not play with anyone else's dog unless supervised by an adult.
  • Immediately report stray dogs or dogs that are acting strangely to an adult. Adults should contact their local Animal Control representative.
  • Avoid staring at a dog or making direct eye contact.
  • Never disturb or pet a dog that is sleeping, eating or caring for puppies.
  • Do not pet a dog without letting it see and sniff you first. If you try to pet a dog on the top of the head, it could think you are trying to hit it.
  • If bitten, immediately report the bite to an adult. Adults should seek appropriate medical treatment.
  • Do not play aggressive games with your dog or wrestle with it.
  • Never leave infants or young children alone with a dog.

"Man's best friend" still deserves caution to avoid a mistaken response. If you or your family are injured by someone else's dog, seek medical attention and the advice of a competent dog bite attorney