Dog bites

Animals are part of everyday life so people need to learn how to interact with them safely.

As more and more people have become city dwellers they have become less familiar with how to interact safely with dogs and other animals.

Research shows that education is the best way to minimise any problems caused by companion animals in our communities.

How to avoid dog bites

The AVA promotes four key messages about bite prevention:

  • All dogs have the potential to react when they’re scared or threatened.
  • Children under 10 should not be left alone in a room with any dog no matter how well known or well loved.
  • Dogs need to be socialised with people and other dogs as puppies
  • Children need to be taught early how to be safe around dogs

The AVA has developed a policy solution to reduce the number of dog bites. Dangerous dogs - a sensible solution, outlines a strategy based on the identification of individual potentially dangerous dogs rather than breeds.

Number of dog bites

Recent hospitalisation data shows a downward trend in the number of admissions for children up to nine years of age.

Despite these statistics, young children are still the highest risk group for dog bite injury, with most at risk in their home environment from their family pet.

Dog owners can talk to their vets about how to socialise their pets and teach children about safety.

There are also a number of school-based education programs such as PetPEP that that have been making progress in dog bite prevention.

(Data from the report of the Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit, Accident Research Centre Monash University No.69, 2009)

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