Every 40 seconds someone in the U.S. seeks medical attention for a dog bite-related injury. Each year in NYS, more than 16,000 people receive a dog bite serious enough to require treatment at a hospital. That’s nearly 50 people every day! These dog bites result in nearly $20 million in hospital charges.
In NYS, the number of dog bites shows a marked increase during the warm weather months; over 40% of dog bite injuries serious enough to require hospital treatment occur between May 1 and August 31.
Most dog bites occur at home or in a familiar place and the vast majority of biting dogs belong to the victim's family, a friend, or neighbor. In NYS, the rate of dog bite-related injuries is highest among children under age 15 who account for approximately one-third of all hospital visits for these injuries.
Tips for Safely Enjoying Fido:
Do not approach an unfamiliar dog. If confronted by an unfamiliar dog:
Avoid direct eye contact.
Do not pet the dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first. When you pet the dog, avoid the head and tail.
Do not run from the dog or scream.
Reacting to dogs you meet:
Always ask an owner's permission before petting his or her dog.
Approach a dog by calmly walking up to it; running can scare and startle a dog leading to a bite.
Put food, sticks, balls and other items in your hands aside and out of the way before petting a dog; a dog may grab for an item in a person's hand leading to an accidental bite.