Tips for avoiding dog bites

Playing it safe with man’s best friend

Dogs are man’s best friend and all that, but they’re also animals with sharp teeth and fighting instincts. Even well-behaved dogs can bite, and in fact some 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year. One in five of those bites (800,000) results in injury requiring medical attention; half the victims are children, who are more likely to be severely bitten. An average of 16 people die each year from dog bites, and in 2006 more than 31,000 underwent reconstructive surgery as a result of being bitten by dogs.

The Butte County Public Health Department offers these suggestions for avoiding dog bites:

• Do not approach an unfamiliar dog.

• Do not run from a dog and scream.

• Keep dogs contained on the owner’s property.

• Make sure dogs are vaccinated for rabies.

• Make sure dogs are well socialized around adults and children.

• Never assume a dog will not bite.

• Put dogs away until unfamiliar visitors are gone.

• Do not put your dog in a defensive position.