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Talking Points on Dog Bite Prevention
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 Talking Points for Dog Bite Prevention 

Provided by the ALVMA Public Health Committee 

National Dog Bite Prevention Week is every year in May. This effort to educate Americans about dog safety is a team effort by the Alabama Veterinary Medical Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and others. This year a link to a report on dog bite prevention that was published in JAVMA in 2001 is included with the talking points. This thorough and informative report was generated by the Task Force on Canine Aggression and Human-Canine Interactions. This report is a useful resource for community leaders who are struggling to address this ongoing public health issue.We hope the information below will be helpful to you.


Every Year, more than 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs, with more than half of all victims younger than age 14. Each year over 6,000 dog bites are reported in Alabama and many require emergency room visits with some needing hospitalization. 

The average cost of a dog bite related hospital stay was $18,200 in 2008 according to a 2010 Statistical Brief from the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality.

Most dog bites affecting young children occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs.

Senior citizens are the 2nd most common dog bite victims .


If you are bitten, here is a checklist of things you should do:

• If the dog's owner is present , request proof of rabies vaccination, and get the owner's name and contact information.
• Clean the bite wound with soap and water as soon as possible.
• Consult your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room if it's after office hours.
• Contact the dog's veterinarian to check vaccination records.


Be cautious around strange dogs, and treat your dog with respect.

Because children are the most common victims of dog bites, parents and caregivers should:

• NEVER leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
• Be alert for potentially dangerous situations.
• Teach children - including toddlers - to be careful around pets .
• Children must learn not to approach strange dogs or try to pet dogs through fences.
• Teach children to ask permission from the dog's owner before petting the dog.


• Carefully select your pet . Puppies should not be obtained on impulse.
• Make sure your pet is socialized as a young puppy so it feels at ease around people and other animals ..
• Don't put your dog in a position where it feels threatened or teased.
• Train your dog . Basic commands help dogs understand what is expected of them and help build a bond of trust between pets and people.
• Walk and exercise your dog regularly to keep it healthy and provide mental stimulation.
• Avoid highly excitable games like wrestling or tug of war.
• Use a leash in public to ensure you are able to control your dog.
• Keep your dog healthy.
• Have your dog vaccinated against rabies and other preventable infectious diseases.
• Parasite control and other health care are important because how your dog feels affects how it behaves.
• Neuter your pet.
• If you have a fenced yard, make sure your gates are secure.

Useful Links/Sources

Link to “A community approach to dog bite prevention:

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