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National Dog Bite Prevention Week 2016

IMG_1812-1The cost of dog-bite claims for U.S. insurers climbed 16 percent last year on higher medical expenses and larger settlements to resolve court disputes.

The average claim increased to $37,214 in 2015 from $32,072 a year earlier, according to the Insurance Information Institute, an industry group.

About 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year.  Children need to be especially careful, as they make up more than 50% of all dog bite incidents.

To reduce the number of injuries to people and the risk of relinquishment of dogs who bite, American Humane Association offers the following suggestions:

For Children:

•Never approach an unknown dog or a dog that is alone without an owner, and always ask for permission before petting the dog.

•Never approach an injured animal – find an adult who can get the help s/he needs

•Never approach a dog that is eating, sleeping or nursing puppies.

•Don’t poke, hit, pull, pinch or tease a dog.

For Dog Owners:

•Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog, even if it is a family pet.

•Interactions between children and dogs should always be monitored to ensure the safety of both your child and your dog.

•Teach your children to treat the dog with respect and not to engage in rough or aggressive play.

•Make sure your pet is socialized as a young puppy so it feels at ease around people and other animals.

•Never put your dog in a position where s/he feels threatened.

•Walk and exercise your dog regularly to keep him/her healthy and to provide mental stimulation.

•Use a leash in public to ensure you are able to control your dog.

•Regular veterinary care is essential to maintain your dog’s health; a sick or injured dog is more likely to bite.

•Be alert. If someone approaches you and your dog, caution them to wait before petting the dog to give your pet time to be comfortable with a stranger.

 

American Humane Association also offers a free online booklet available for families with children called “Pet Meets Baby,” providing valuable information on introducing a new child to a home with a pet – or a new pet into a home with a child: http://www.americanhumane.org/interaction/programs/humane-education/pet-meets-baby.html