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A dog may be considered man’s best friend, but unfortunately dog bites do happen. According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites accounted for $479 million in homeowner’s insurance liability claims paid out in 2011 in the United States, each year.

Lessening Your Risk of Getting Bitten

  • Never pet dogs without allowing them to smell you first.
  • Do not approach a dog that you do not know.
  • Do not turn your back to a dog and start to run away if you feel threatened, since their natural instinct is to chase and catch you.
  • Avoid disturbing a sleeping or eating dog, as it may bite out of fear.
  • Always leave dogs alone who are playing with toys or who are caring for their young.

Tips for Your Own Dog
Even if you think your dog is about as ferocious as Snoopy, it’s wise to minimize your risks.

  • Spay or neuter your dog to reduce your dog’s desire to roam and become aggressive with other dogs, and consequently humans.
  • Introduce your dog to various situations and people so that your pet will not be nervous in new social circumstances.
  • Accompany your dog to training courses to learn how to respect humans and the rules you establish in your home.
  • Teach your dog to act properly at all times. When the dog exhibits signs of aggression, even in a playful manner, put a stop to it. Your pet does not understand the difference between playtime and a real life attacking situation.
  • Provide your dog with regularly veterinary care, vaccinations and licensing.
  • Do not bring your dog into social situations if you are unsure how the pet will react. This will alleviate the chance that something could go wrong.

Healthy Hint:
If you are in a situation in which you feel threatened by a dog, do not run away. Instead, do not look the dog in the eye and remain motionless with your hands at your sides. When the dog loses interest in what you are doing, slowly back away.