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It’s Not the Breed It’s the Bite

Posted August 01, 2012 in Advice Column, Urbandale

Each year, almost five million people are bitten or attacked by dogs. Dog bites are a serious public health problem that can cause both physical and emotional damage to victims and considerable cost to communities.

A dog’s tendency to bite depends on such factors as heredity, obedience training, socialization, health and the victim’s behavior. There are good dogs and bad dogs within every breed, just as there can be responsible and irresponsible owners of each breed. State Farm does not refuse insurance based on the breed of dog a customer owns in any U.S. state.

Who’s being bitten?
•    Children make up more than more than 50 percent of all dog bite victims.
•    The National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates half of all children 12 and younger have been bitten by a dog.
•    The elderly and home service people like mail carriers and meter readers also are high on the list of frequent dog bite victims.

How you can avoid being bitten?
•    Be cautious around strange dogs and treat your own pet with respect.
•    Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
•    Be on the lookout for potentially dangerous situations.
•    Teach young children to be careful around pets.
•    Children must be taught not to approach strange dogs. Children should be taught to ask permission from a dog’s owner before petting the dog.
•    Don’t run past a dog. Dogs naturally love to chase and catch things. Don’t give them a reason to become excited or aggressive.
•    Never disturb a dog that’s caring for puppies, sleeping or eating.
•    If a dog approaches to sniff you, stay still.
•    If you’re threatened by a dog, remain calm. Don’t scream. 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.

Do the right thing and keep your dog on a leash to simply avoid an unexpected incident from occurring. If everyone works together we can all strive to reducing the number of incidents that take place each year.

Information provided by Ben Buenzow, State Farm Insurance, 3273 100th St., Urbandale, 270-8870.

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