Dogs bite approximately 4.5 people each year in the United States. While around 800,000 of these people require medical treatment due to an attack or bite, about 15 to 20 people die from these injuries. Children and senior citizens are considered the most vulnerable to these incidents.
It is critical for children and adults to understand how to prevent a dog bite from happening in the first place. Furthermore, dog owners are also responsible for doing whatever it takes to prevent their dog from biting and harming others.
The following are several tips to avoid getting bit by a dog:
- Know the warning signs. If you notice the dog has a stiff tail, tense body, flattened ears, and/or baring teeth, then that means it may be prepared for an attack.
- Request permission from the dog’s owner to introduce yourself. The safest way to introduce yourself to a dog is to ask the owner if it’s okay to approach the canine. If your request is granted, allow the dog to smell you before you touch them. For larger dogs, hold your hand in a relaxed manner that exposes the back of your hand. For smaller dogs, try holding your hand in a cup. Do not reach over their head since they may see this action as a threat.
- If you see an aggressive dog, do not run away. Instead, slowly back away to a place of safety, positioning yourself behind a sturdy barrier. Do not make eye contact or stare at the dog’s eyes.
- If a dog charges you, do whatever it takes to avoid its teeth. Put something in the dog’s path, such as a purse, backpack, or jacket, and let it bite that instead of you.
- If you get knocked down, curl into a ball with your head tucked in and arms around your head. This will make it more difficult for the dog to bite you in a body part that will cause severe injury.