AVMA offers expert tips to reduce dog bites...no matter where your hometown ranks

May 15, 2013, 15:23 ET from American Veterinary Medical Association

SCHAUMBURG, Ill., May 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- National Dog Bite Prevention Week (May 19-25) is a perfect time to remind everyone that while there are more than 70 million nice dogs in America, any dog can bite. And in some cities and states, this message is even more important … because, unfortunately, they rank high as locales in which people get bitten most often.

"During National Dog Bite Prevention Week especially, the AVMA reminds people that, while any dog can bite, most dog bites are preventable through proper training and restraint of dogs, and an understanding of canine behavior. Understanding how dogs behave and how to behave around dogs could save countless people from the serious physical and emotional consequences of a dog bite," explains Dr. Douglas G. Aspros, president of the AVMA. "Dogs are wonderful, intelligent and loyal creatures, but they depend on responsible owners to teach them how to behave around people. Dog owners should work with their veterinarian to reduce the risk that their dog might bite."

State Farm® publishes an annual list of the top ten states with the most claims for dog. The 2012 list includes:

  1. California—451 claims worth $17.1 million
  2. Illinois—337 claims worth $9 million
  3. Texas—236 claims worth $4.3 million
  4. Ohio—235 claims worth $5 million
  5. Pennsylvania—165 claims worth $4.5 million
  6. Michigan—151 claims worth $4.6 million
  7. Indiana—148 claims worth $2.7 million
  8. Florida—123 claims worth $7.1 million
  9. Georgia—121 claims worth $3.3 million
  10. New York—116 claims worth $6.4 million

The U.S. Postal Service issues a list of the cities across the country where the most postal workers have been attacked by dogs, and for 2012, that list included:

  1. Los Angeles, Calif.—69 attacks on postal workers
  2. San Antonio, Texas and Seattle, Wash.—42 attacks apiece
  3. Chicago, Ill.—41 attacks
  4. San Francisco, Calif.—38 attacks
  5. Philadelphia, Pa.—34 attacks
  6. Detroit, Mich.—33 attacks
  7. St. Louis, Mo.—32 attacks
  8. Baltimore, Md. and Sacramento, Calif.—29 attacks apiece
  9. Houston, Texas and Minneapolis, Minn.—27 attacks apiece
  10. Cleveland and Dayton, Ohio—26 attacks apiece
  11. Buffalo and Brooklyn, N.Y.—24 attacks apiece
  12. Denver, Colo.—23 attacks
  13.  Dallas, Texas and Tacoma, Wash.—21 attacks apiece
  14. Wichita, Kan.—20 attacks

AVMA Dog Bite Resources

Studies show that there are an estimated 4.5 million dog bites every year, and almost 20 percent of those are severe enough that they require medical attention. Unfortunately, young children are more likely than adults to be bitten by a dog, and children are also more likely to require medical attention for their injuries.

The AVMA offers a wealth of information on preventing dog bites on its website, including brochures, a video, The Blue Dog Parent Guide and CD, podcasts and many other materials to teach people of all ages how to prevent dog bites.

Here are some simple tips from the AVMA that could help prevent a dog bite:

  • Don't run past a dog. Dogs naturally love to chase and catch things.
  • Never disturb a dog that is caring for puppies, sleeping or eating.
  • If a dog approaches to sniff you, stay still. In most cases, the dog will go away when it determines you are not a threat.
  • If you are threatened by a dog, remain calm. Don't scream or yell. If you say anything, speak calmly and firmly. Avoid eye contact. Try to stay still until the dog leaves, or back away slowly until the dog is out of sight. Don't turn and run.
  • If you fall or are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your head and neck. Protect your face.

For more information dog bite prevention, visit the AVMA at https://www.avma.org/public/Pages/Dog-Bite-Prevention.aspx. For more information about the AVMA, please visit www.avma.org.

The AVMA, founded in 1863, is one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world, with more than 84,000 member veterinarians worldwide engaged in a wide variety of professional activities.

National Dog Bite Prevention Week® takes place during the third full week of May each year. The AVMA, the USPS and Educational Partners consisting of American Academy of Pediatricians, American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery, American Humane Association, Insurance Information Institute (III), State Farm®, Prevent the Bite join forces to focus on educating the public about dog bite prevention.

SOURCE American Veterinary Medical Association