Join the AVMA Dog Bite Prevention Discussion


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April 10 to 16 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week.  Some say there’s an epidemic of dog bites – is that true? Most dog bites can be prevented but how do you do that?

I am moderating a free to join Facebook Live discussion, April 11, 1:30 p.m. CT , which you can join at no charge, hosted by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Guests are dog trainer Victoria Stilwell; AVMA President Dr. Jose Arce; veterinary behaviorist of University of California, Davis Dr. Melissa Bain; Amber Batteiger, disaster and cruelty response specialist American Humane Association; Heather Paul, public affairs specialist State Farm Insurance and Janet Ruiz, director of strategic communication Insurance Information Institute.

In 2021 the number of claims for dog bites went up only very slightly, 17,989 (from 17,597 in 2020). Since most bites happen within homes, and not all bites are reported. Having said that, according to the American Pet Products Association 2020-21 National Pet Ownership Sourcebook, over 69 million homes in the U.S. have at least one dog. This well exceeds the number of households with children under 18-years, a number slightly on the decline. The number of households with a dog had been rising gradually year to year but increased even further during the pandemic.

In 2021 the average cost per dog bite insurance claim actually decreased very slightly (by 1.1 percent), given our litigious society and inflation, this another good sign. More data will be added as a part of the discussion.

Also, a there’s a new focus referred to as “consent.” For decades, the suggestion (and rightly so) before an adult or a child pets a strange dog, ask “Can I pet your dog?”  However, Stilwell and others (including myself) are advocates of asking the dog. Stilwell will explain how that can be accomplished, and why doing so will prevent dog bites.

Also Drs. Arce and Bain will discuss the link between physical health and dog bites. A dog that is in pain is more likely to bite. Sometimes even the “dog parents” have no clue their pet is in pain. So, how can you tell?

Batteiger of the American Humane Association offers tips specific to children, as well as a free resource. Also, what do you do if you happen to come across a stray dog?

State Farm Insurance insures all breeds and mixes – even those who are defined as pit bulls (in reality most of these are merely mixed breed dogs). While any dog can bite, does breed really matter?

Register via Facebook HERE for the free online event, Working Together to Prevent Dog Bites. And viewers will also have the opportunity to interact with the panelists.