(UNDATED) – This week is National Dog Bite Prevention Week®, with an estimated 90 million dogs living in U.S. households, accidents are bound to happen.
Most dogs will never bite, but it is important to remember that any dog CAN bite regardless of breed or type, says Judy Macy, of State Farm, whose office is at 2359 16th Street.
In 2018, State Farm paid $123 million as a result of over 3,200 dog-related injury claims across the United States. Indiana ranked eighth with 109 claims last year, resulting in $4.1 million paid for those claims.
California (409 claims), Illinois (288), Ohio (177), Texas (168) and Pennsylvania (161) round out the top five states.
State Farm suggests the following tips to keep people safe from dog bites:
- Understand your dog’s body language. Too often people misunderstand or miss signals that a dog is uncomfortable. A dog that yawns might be a sign of stress rather than tiredness.
- Protect kids. Never leave children, especially babies, alone with a dog, even if it is a family pet.
- Grab the leash. Always have your dog on a leash when outdoors, at the park, on walks, etc.
- Enroll your dog in training classes. This opens up communication between you and your pet. Socializing your dog puts them at ease around people and other animals.
- Go to the vet. Regular veterinary visits are essential to regulating the health of your dog. A sick or injured dog is more likely to bite.
When encountering a dog, State Farm recommends that you W.A.I.T.
- W – Wait to see if the dog is with his or her owner and looks friendly.
- A – Ask the owner for permission to pet their dog. If the owners says, no, STOP and walk away slowly.
- I – INVITE the dog to sniff you. Use a quiet voice to talk to the dog.
- T – TOUCH the dog gently to pet. Never pet near the face, head, or tail.
Very important: Please also remember the following DON’T’S
- Do not disturb a dog while eating.
- Do not pull a dog’s tail.
- Do not try to outrun a dog. You will probably lose.
Joining forces with State Farm to educate on ways to reduce dog-related injuries are: