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Useful tips for our Members

Dog Bite Prevention Tips for Children

     Each year, over 4.5 million people across the U.S. are bitten by dogs, and of the approximate 800,000 Americans who receive medical attention for dog bites, at least half are children. Children are the most common victims of dog or animal bites and are far more likely to be injured severely, particularly in the head or neck areas.

     Most dog bites affecting younger children occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs, like the family dog or a dog well-known to the family. Remember, as most dog bites involve familiar animals, prevention starts in your home.

How to Prevent Dog Bites Involving Children

  1. Almost one in every five people bitten by a dog requires medical attention. Children are more likely to suffer serious injuries because the majority of injuries occur in the head, face, or neck. Parents should be aware of some simple preventative measures for dog bites.

  2. Never leave a small child alone with a dog, regardless of whether it is the family dog, a dog you know, or a dog you have been assured is well-behaved. Any dog has the potential to bite.

  3. Allowing your child to play aggressive games with a dog, such as tug of war or wrestling, can result in bites.

  4. Teach your child to always ask a dog owner for permission before petting a dog.

  5. Allow a dog to sniff you or your child before petting, and avoid touching the dog’s face or tail. Pet the dog gently and always try to avoid eye contact, especially at first.

  1. Never bother a dog that is asleep, eating, or caring for her puppies. Even if the person is familiar, dogs are more likely to react aggressively in these situations.

  2. Teach your child to move slowly and calmly around dogs.

  3. Teach your children that if a dog is behaving aggressively, such as growling and barking, they should remain calm. They should avoid eye contact with the dog and back away slowly until the dog loses interest and leaves.

  4. If a dog knocks you or your child over, curl up in a ball, then shield your eyes and face with your arms & palms.

  5. Never run from a dog and scream.

  6. If bitten, immediately report the bite to an adult.

How to Treat Dog Bites

Here is what you need to do if a dog bites your child:

  • Request proof of rabies vaccination from the dog’s owner and the owner’s name and contact information. Also, request the name and phone number of a veterinarian familiar with the dog’s vaccination records and history.

  • Wash the wound with soap and water right away.

  • Call your pediatrician right away because the bite may necessitate antibiotics, tetanus, and rabies shots. The doctor can also assist you in reporting the incident to the appropriate authorities.

  • If your child has been severely bitten, dial 9-1-1 or take them to an emergency room for treatment.

  • Prepare to tell the emergency department doctor about your child’s tetanus vaccination status, the dog’s vaccination status (or provide contact information for the dog’s veterinarian), the dog’s owner, and whether or not the dog has previously bitten.

  • To ensure proper healing, follow your pediatrician’s instructions.

Recommendations for Dog Owners
  • Spay or neuter your dog to reduce aggression.

  • Properly socialize and train any dog entering the home.

  • Immediately seek professional advice (e.g. veterinarian, animal behaviorist, animal trainer) if the dog develops aggressive or undesirable behaviors.

  • Do not play aggressive games with your dog (e.g. wrestling, tug-of-war).

  • Keep your dog on a leash when it is off your property.

Once reported to Animal Control

If you are an animal control officer and need help with how to handle an animal bite, please reach out to one of the Board Members and we can assist you in the procedure.   

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