Dog Bite Facts
- Each year, more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs.
- Almost 1 in 5 people bitten by dogs require medical attention.
- Every year, more than 800,000 Americans receive medical attention for dog bites; at least half of them are children.
- Children are, by far, the most common victims of dog bites and are far more likely to be severely injured.
- Most dog bites affecting young children occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs.
- Senior citizens are the second most common dog bite victims.
There are many things you can do to avoid dog bites, ranging from properly training and socializing your pet to educating your children on how – or if – they should approach a dog. Information and education are the best solutions for this public health crisis.
May Brings National Dog Bite Prevention Week®!
The third full week of May is celebrated every year as National Dog Bite Prevention Week®. For 2016, the dates are May 15-21. Visit the National Dog Bite Prevention Week® page for more information and resources to educate people about dog bite prevention.
- Use our social media tips to develop content on your own social media channels
- Listen to the podcast
- Listen to Victoria Stilwell’s dog bite prevention tips
- Listen to the Radio News Release (RNR)
- Watch the videos
The following AVMA resources can help you learn more about dog bite prevention:
For veterinarians, legislators and animal control officers:
Socialization of Dogs and Cats
Get good information to teach clients about socialization, including free client handouts for new puppy and kitten owners, plus a socialization literature review and other resources.
Literature Review: The Role of Breed in Dog Bite Risk and Prevention
This backgrounder reviews and provides scientific context on dog breeds and their purported tendencies to bite.
Client Brochure: What you should know about dog bite prevention
This informative brochure offers tips on how to avoid being bitten, as well as what to do if you are bitten by a dog. It also addresses what you need to do if your dog bites someone.
Client Brochure: What you should know about rabies
This client-ready brochure explains all the basics, including the importance of vaccination against rabies, signs of rabies in animals, what to do if a person or pet is bitten, and much more. .
A Community Approach to Dog Bite Prevention (PDF)
The American Veterinary Medical Association Task Force on Canine Aggression and Human-Canine Interactions has produced this report intended to help state and local leaders develop effective dog bite prevention programs in their communities.
For parents and pet owners:
Socialization of Dogs and Cats
Adding a dog to your family is wonderful and exciting. Learn how to socialize your pet so that everyone – both human and canine – has the best possible experience.
The Blue Dog Parent Guide and CD
This innovative dog bite prevention program is designed to help parents and children safely interact with dogs both inside and outside their home. The program is geared toward children from 3 to 6 years old. It’s the only dog bite educational tool scientifically proven to help young children learn behaviors that can keep them safe.
Rabies and Your Pet
Rabies is a deadly disease that is transmitted to people through a bite. Rabies vaccinations for dogs are an excellent defense against this disease, as many times families are exposed to rabies after an unvaccinated pet dog is bitten by a rabid wild animal.
Bilingual Dog Bite Prevention activity/coloring book
Teach children about different ways to avoid dog bites, by educating them on how, or if, they should approach a dog. A creative tool for use all year, including during Dog Bite Prevention week in May.
Articles about Preventing Dog Bites
Read, learn, and feel free to share these articles to educate people about dog bite prevention.
- Responsible dog ownership
- Why do dogs bite?
- How to read dog body language
- Top ten scenarios to avoid
- Recognizing risky situations
- Dog bite emergencies
- Planning for success
- Teaching children how to prevent dog bites
- Why breed-specific legislation is not the answer
Other Dog Bite and Dog Bite Prevention Resources:
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) Statistical Brief #101: Emergency Department Visits and Inpatient Stays Involving Dog Bites, 2008. (PDF)