May 17th through 23rd is Dog Bite Prevention Week. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs each year. With an estimated 70 million dogs living in U.S. households, even the most cute and cuddly dogs can bite. In 2013, insurers across the country paid over $483 million in dog bite claims, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Luckily, nearly all dog bites can be prevented.
Below are some tips from the Humane Society to prevent a dog from biting you:
- Respect the dog's personal space. Do not disturb a dog while it is eating, sleeping, or chewing on a toy.
- Be aware of the dog's body language. If you notice the dog is indicating it is uncomfortable and feeling the need to bite, put a safe distance between you and the dog.
If you are approached by a dog who may bite, follow the steps below:
- Resist the urge to scream and run away. Put your hands at your sides, and refrain from making direct eye contact with the dog.
- If the dog attacks, feed it anything you can to put distance between you and the dog.
- If the dog is to knock you to the ground, curl into a ball, put your hands over your ears and stay calm and as motionless as possible.
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