Each year, approximately 4.7 million dog bite injuries are reported across the country. Nearly 50% of dog bite incidents involve children who are bitten by a familiar or household dog. Within the the state of Florida, nearly 500 dog bite cases require hospitalization every year.
Many people simply do not understand dog behavior. A majority of dog bites occur because people are uneducated on dog safety or children are not properly supervised around dogs. In other cases, dogs are abused or mistreated and become uncharacteristically aggravated or territorial. Abuse and mistreated dogs can become easily agitated in otherwise normal circumstances and some larger breeds can cause severe injury if they bite or attack.
Understanding a dog’s behavior and teaching children the proper and safe way to behave around dogs can help reduce the likelihood of a dog bite or dog attack.
Dog bite incidents are reported to occur most frequently in the victim and/or dog’s home. The majority of cases involve a family dog. Small children at play may inadvertently injure or provoke a dog, resulting in a bite. In these common cases, parents must know the risks of keeping a dog with small children and must decide whether a bite incident warrants separating the child and dog either temporarily or permanently.
Since nearly 75% of dog bites are associated with intact males, a strong preventive measure for all male dogs is to ensure their dog is neutered. Neutering greatly improves a male dog’s temperament and also prevents any unintentional breeding – a growing problem contributing to the number of stray and feral dogs in the US.
Once a child is old enough to learn simple rules and instructions, begin teaching and reinforcing a few simple (but potentially life-saving) rules for dogs in the home and for encounters with dogs outside the home