California Dog Bite Attorney Larry H. Parker

Dog Bite Prevention

Dog bite prevention is often overlooked or brushed aside. However, 4.5 million dog bites occur each and every year in the United States. Put another way, someone is bitten by a dog every seven seconds. Of these victims, 885,000 require medical attention, with around 400,000 victims requiring emergency treatment. Alarmingly, the majority of the severely injured dog bite victims are children, who have an increased risk for head and neck injuries.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), dog bites are a public health epidemic. However, dog bites are preventable. Dog bite prevention efforts can teach adults and children alike how to reduce the chances of being a dog bite victim.

Tips for Dog Bite Prevention

Children are the most likely victims of dog bites. Below are some dog bite prevention tips for children, but can also be helpful for adults. Teaching children these tips can help protect their safety and well-being.

  • Stay away from dogs you do not know.
  • When approached by a dog you do not know, stay absolutely still. Do not run away from the dog and/or scream.
  • If a dog knocks you over, curl into a ball and stay absolutely still.
  • Tell an adult if you see any stray dogs in the area.
  • Tell an adult if you see any dogs behaving strangely.
  • Do not play with any dog unless an adult is present.
  • Do not make direct eye contact with a dog.
  • Do not try to break up a fight between two or more dogs, even if they are only play fighting.
  • Never try to pet a dog that is in a car or truck.
  • Never try to pet a sick, injured, or scared dog.
  • Never try to pet a dog that is chained up or behind a fence.
  • If a dog is sleeping, eating, or is caring for puppies, leave the dog alone.
  • Make sure a dog is familiar with you and sees you before petting it.
  • Tell an adult immediately if a dog bites or tries to bite you.

Dog Bite Prevention Tips for Dog Owners

A un-socialized dog places the dog's owner and the owner's household at risk for dog bites and the associated liability. California is a strict liability dog bite state. What this means is if Bob's dog bites someone in a public place or someone who is legally on private property, regardless of whether the dog has bitten anyone before, Bob would be held liable for the injury. If you own a dog, be sure to follow these tips to reduce your risk of dog bite litigation.

  • Teach your dog non-threatening games, such as fetch in lieu of rougher games, such as tug-of-war.
  • Spay and neuter all dogs in the household. Spaying and neutering can prevent aggression in dogs.
  • If your household has children, verify that the children are not fearful of any new dog prior to brining the dog in to the family.
  • Prior to getting a dog, research which dog breeds would fit well into your household.
  • Do not wrestle or encourage aggressive behavior with your dog.
  • Bond with a dog before brining it in to the family. Be especially careful if you have an infant or toddler.
  • If your household has children, you should not have any dog with aggressive tendencies.
  • Do not chain your dog up or leave it alone in a yard.
  • When training a dog, emphasize submissiveness. Do not let your dog bare teeth or growl at you.
  • If your dog becomes aggressive, seek the assistance of trained professionals.
  • Never leave an infant, toddler, or young child alone with any dog.

For more information on dog bites, please visit CDC dog bite prevention website here.

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