Avoiding Dog Bites
Q: How can I avoid being bitten by a dog?
A: Never approach a strange dog, especially one who's tied or confined behind a fence or in a car. Don't pet a dog--even your own--without letting him see and sniff you first. Never turn your back to a dog and run away. A dog's natural instinct will be to chase and catch you. Don't disturb a dog while she's sleeping, eating, chewing on a toy, or caring for puppies. Be cautious around strange dogs. Always assume that a dog who doesn't know you may see you as an intruder or a threat.
Q: What should I do if I think a dog may attack?
A: If you are approached by a dog who may attack you, follow these steps:
- Never scream and run.
- Remain motionless, hands at your sides, and avoid eye contact with the dog.
- Once the dog loses interest in you, slowly back away until he is out of sight.
- If the dog does attack, "feed" him your jacket, purse, bicycle, or anything that you can put between yourself and the dog.
- If you fall or are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your ears and remain motionless. Try not to scream or roll around.
Q: What should I do if I am bitten by a dog?
A: If you are bitten or attacked by a dog, try not to panic.
- Immediately wash the wound thoroughly with soap and warm water.
- Contact your physician for additional care and advice.
- Report the bite to your local animal care and control agency. Tell the animal control official everything you know about the dog, including his owner's name and the address where he lives. If the dog is a stray, tell the animal control official what the dog looks like, where you saw him, whether you've seen him before, and in which direction he went.
Q: Can children be taught to avoid being bitten by a dog?
A: Yes, just as we teach our children to practice safety in other situations, we can teach them to be safe around dogs. The most important lessons for children to learn are not to chase or tease dogs they know and to avoid dogs they don't know.