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Dog Bite Prevention Tips

Dog Bite Prevention Tips for kids and families courtesy of The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery (ASRM), and the American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons (ASMS).

Every year about 600,000 children require medical attention for dog bites. Children are more than three times as likely to be bitten by dogs as adults. Some of these injuries can be serious, so prevention programs are important.

The AAP, ASPS, ASRM and ASMS are offering the following tips so children and adults can avoid being bitten by dogs:

Dog Bite Prevention Tips

  • Pick a dog that is good match for your home. Consult your veterinarian for details.
  • Socialize your pet. Gradually expose your puppy to a variety of people and other animals so it feels at ease in these situations; continue this exposure as your dog gets older.
  • Train your dog. Commands can build a bond of obedience and trust between the dog and owner. Avoid aggressive games with your dog.
  • Vaccinate your dog against rabies and other diseases.
  • Neuter or spay your dog. These dogs are less likely to bite.
  • Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
  • Teach your child to ask a dog owner for permission before petting any dog.
  • Let a strange dog sniff you or your child before touching it, and pet it gently, avoiding the face and tail.
  • Never bother a dog if it is sleeping, eating or caring for puppies.
  • Do not run past a dog.
  • If a dog threatens you, remain calm. Avoid eye contact. Stand still or back away slowly until the dog leaves. If you are knocked down, curl into a ball and protect your face with your arms and fists.

If bitten, request proof of rabies vaccination from the dog owner, get the owner’s name and contact information, and contact the dog’s veterinarian to check vaccination records. Then immediately consult with your doctor. Clean bite wounds with soap and water as soon as possible. If the victim is bleeding from a bite wound, apply pressure with a clean bandage or towel to stop the bleeding before washing, and immediately take the person to a doctor or emergency room.

For more information on dog bite prevention, please visit the Web sites of the following organizations:

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is the largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons in the world. Representing more than 7,000 physician members, the Society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises more than 94 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the Society represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

The American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery (ASRM) is an organization of more than 600 surgeons that perform microsurgery and other complex reconstructive surgeries.  The ASRM is dedicated to promoting, encouraging and advancing the art and science of microsurgery and other complex reconstructions through education and research.

The American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons is the oldest organization representing maxillofacial plastic surgeons.  The Society accomplishes its mission to advance the science and practice of surgery of the facial region and the craniofacial skeleton through excellence in education and research, and advocacy on behalf of patients and practitioners.

Prevent the Bite’s mission is to prevent dog bites to children through education. Visit for more information and dog bite prevention tips.

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