How can dog bites be prevented?

Dog bites are a largely preventable public health problem, and adults and children can learn to reduce their chances of being bitten.

Before you bring a dog into your household:

  • Consult with a professional (e.g., veterinarian, animal behaviorist, or responsible breeder) to learn what breeds of dogs are the best fit for your household.
  • Dogs with histories of aggression are not suitable for households with children.
  • Be sensitive to cues that a child is fearful or apprehensive about a dog. If a child seems frightened by dogs, wait before bringing a dog into your household.
  • Spend time with a dog before buying or adopting it. Use caution when bringing a dog into a household with an infant or toddler.

If you decide to bring a dog into your home:

  • Spay/neuter your dog (this often reduces aggressive tendencies).
  • Never leave infants or young children alone with a dog.
  • Don’t play aggressive games with your dog (e.g., wrestling).
  • Properly socialize and train any dog entering your household. Teach the dog submissive behaviors (e.g., rolling over to expose the abdomen and giving up food without growling).
  • Immediately seek professional advice (e.g., from veterinarians, animal behaviorists, or responsible breeders) if the dog develops aggressive or undesirable behaviors.