As many as one million people each year require medical attention because of dog attacks.
Dog bites represent the No. 1 public health problem for children. More than half of all children are bitten by age 12.
Dog bites can result in serious life-threatening injury to the victim and can leave the survivor scarred and disfigured -- canine attacks are a serious issue.
Dr. Richard Swanson, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) said, "Fortunately, they are also a problem that can largely be prevented."
In addition to the tragedies of death and injury they can cause, canine attacks can subject dogowners to lawsuits and criminal prosecution for their pet's behavior.
Insurance companies pay an estimated $1 billion dog bite liability claims a year, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
Surprisingly, most victims are bitten by dogs owned by family and friends. Responsible pet ownership and safe behavior around dogs, however, can curb this problem.
Tips for dog owners
Here are some tips dog owners can follow to reduce the chance of their dog biting someone:
* Socialize your dog so it feels at ease around people and other animals,
* Don't put your dog in situations where it may feel threatened or teased,
* Obey leash laws. Don't let your dog roam free,
* Train your dog to obey basic commands, such as "stay," "no" and "come," and
* Keep your dog healthy with the proper vaccinations. Control parasites.
If you are approached by a god
If a dog approaches you, the following tips may reduce your chances of being attacked:
* Don't run away,
* Stay still until the dog leaves, or back away slowly until the dog is out of sight. Avoid eye contact. Remain calm, and
* If you fall to the ground or are knocked down, curl into a ball, placing your hands over your head and neck. Protect your face.