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Dog Bite Prevention
Safety Tips
The Virginia Department of Health suggests using the following safety suggestions to protect children from dog bites:
  • Do not disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating or caring for puppies.
  • Do not look a dog in the eye.
  • Do not pet a dog without letting it see and sniff you first.
  • If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still (be still like a log).
  • Never approach an unfamiliar dog.
  • Never play with a dog unless supervised by an adult
  • Never run from a dog and scream.
  • Stay still when an unfamiliar dog comes up to you (be still like a tree). 

Dog Bite Statistics
Recent highly publicized cases in San Francisco and other parts of the nation have highlighted the dangers of dog attacks and the need for information on how to prevent these incidents.

Each year in the United States dogs bite an estimated 4.5 million people. In 2000, dogs were responsible for many of the 16,242 animal bites reported in Virginia.

More than half of dog bite victims who receive medical attention are children. Often children are bitten on the face. Because a child's small size may cause a dog to act in a dominant way toward the child, close parental supervision of children when they are around dogs is key.

National Dog Bite Prevention Week
During National Dog Bite Prevention Week May 20-26, the Virginia Department of Health urges adults to increase their efforts to protect children from dog bites. "These bites inflict considerable physical and emotional damage on victims," said Robert B. Stroube, M.D., M.P.H., Acting State Health Commissioner. "Many dog bites can be prevented by following some basic safety guidelines."

Additional Details
For more information on being safe around dogs, call the Virginia Department of Health's Center for Injury and Violence Prevention toll-free at (800) 732-8333.