National Dog Bite Prevention Week
According to a 2013/2014 survey from by the American Pet Products Association: around 68 percent of U.S. households, or 83.3 million homes, own a pet. Approximately 44 million American homes have at least one dog. A recent study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), shows that Americans have a one in 50 chance of being bitten by a dog in any given year.
One in fifty may seem like pretty good odds, but once you see what’s at stake, you might change your mind. Children and senior citizens are the most common victims of dog bites, and most of them are preventable.
Why Dogs Bite
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association:
• Dogs bite as a reaction to something: a stressful situation, or to defend itself or its territory.
• Dogs can bite because they are scared or have been startled: They can bite because they feel threatened, or to protect something that is valuable to them, like their puppies, their food or a toy.
• Dogs might bite because they aren’t feeling well: They could be sick or sore due to injury or illness and might want to be left alone.
• Dogs also might nip and bite during play: Even though nipping during play might be fun for the dog, it can be dangerous for people. Avoid wrestling or playing tug-of-war with your dog. These types of activities can make your dog overly excited, which may lead to a nip or a bite.
When to Avoid Petting a Dog
• If the dog is not with its owner.
• If the dog is with its owner, but the owner does not give permission to pet the dog.
• If the dog is on the other side of a fence, don’t reach through or over a fence to pet the dog.
• If a dog is sleeping or eating.
• If a dog is sick or injured.
• If a dog is resting with her puppies or seems very protective of her puppies and anxious about your presence.
• If a dog is playing with a toy.
• If the dog is a service dog. Service dogs are working animals and shouldn’t be distracted while they are doing their jobs.
• If the dog is growling or barking.
• If the dog appears to be hiding or seeking time alone in its special place.
The Real Cost of Dog Bites
– About 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year and about 885,000 require medical attention for these injuries; about half of these are children.
– A 2010 study conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality showed that the average cost of a dog bite-related hospital stay was $18,200, about 50 percent higher than the average injury-related hospital stay.
– In 2014, dog bites and other dog-related injuries accounted for more than one-third of all homeowner’s insurance liability claim dollars paid out – more than $530 million. – The Insurance Information Institute –