Dog Bite Prevention Tips

Learn how to help prevent dog bites.

Dog bites can be scary, traumatic, and painful. They can even be life-threatening. Here are some things to know that can help you and your loved ones avoid being bitten by a dog. If you are a dog owner, be sure you check out the section on how to keep your dog from biting someone.

How to Avoid Being Bitten by a Dog

Here are some basic things to keep in mind when dealing with dogs that will help you avoid a bite:

Body Language Is Key

Pay attention to the body language of any dog near you, whether they are approaching you, you are approaching them, or they are simply nearby. Dogs that might bite often display one or all of the following body language cues:

What to Do If a Dog Attacks You

If you believe that a dog is about to bite you, try to stay calm. Don't scream and run, but stay still and do not make direct eye contact with the dog. Keep your hands down and wait. Once the dog moves away or otherwise shows that he's lost interest, back slowly away.

If a dog attacks you, try to give him something to bite instead of you, like a purse, hat, wallet, or another object. If you fall down, curl up in a tight fetal position, and cover your ears and face with your arms. Try to remain quiet and as still as possible.

How to Teach Children to Avoid Being Bitten by a Dog

Kids should be taught from an early age how to treat dogs, both their own and those of strangers. Respect for animals and gentle treatment are important for kids to learn. They should also be taught never to approach dogs they don't know and to follow the rules in the first section here on avoiding dog bites.

Small children should never be left alone with dogs. They should always be supervised and separated if there is no adult present.

Kids should be reminded routinely that teasing dogs or treating them roughly is disrespectful, unkind, and dangerous. You can learn more here: "How to Introduce Dogs and Children."

How to Reduce the Chances of Your Dog Biting Someone

First, it's important to understand that any dog can bite. Even if your dog has never shown any indication that he might bite someone, it could happen at any time. Here are three ways to help reduce the risk of your dog biting someone:

What to Do If a Dog Bites You

If you receive a dog bite, wash it well with warm water and soap, and then see a doctor right away. The bite should also be reported to your local animal control agency so they can investigate the situation and determine whether the dog has been vaccinated against rabies.

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Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at DogHealth.com is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.