Ash Veterinary Clinic


Blog category description

Dog Bite Prevention

     Recently, we honored dog bite prevention week because dog bites pose a serious health risk to our communities. More than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States, and more than 800,000 receive medical attention for dog bites, according to the Centers for Disease Control. At least half of those bitten are children.

     Why do dogs bite? Dogs bite for a variety of reasons, but most commonly as a reaction to something. It is important to remember that any dog can bite: big or small, male or female, young or old. Even the cuddliest, fuzziest, sweetest pet can bite if provoked or startled. It is not a dog’s breed that determines whether it will bite, rather the dog’s individual history and behavior.

     What you can do to prevent dog bites?

     • Socialization is a good way to help prevent your dog from biting. Introducing your dog to people and other animals, while it’s still a puppy, will help it feel more comfortable in different situations as it gets older. Remember though; do not ever take your puppy to the pet store or around strange dogs without having vaccines for distemper/parvo given by a veterinarian. We have seen a significant increase in parvo cases this year in pets that were vaccinated by breeders or owners, which were not effective. This vaccine must be given at least monthly until the puppy is 4 months old.

     • Responsible pet ownership builds a solid foundation for dog bite prevention. Basics of responsible dog ownership that can help reduce the risk of dog bites include carefully selecting the dog that’s right for your family, proper training, regular exercise, and neutering/spaying your pet. It’s also critical to always use a leash in public. • Educate yourself and your children about how to approach a dog. This includes avoiding risky situations and understanding when you should certainly not interact with a dog, such as if it is not with its owner, if it is sleeping, or if it is growling or barking Always ask first before approaching and never put your hand over the head; rather present it as if offering a treat.

     • Reading a dog’s body language also can be helpful. Just like people, dogs rely on body gestures, postures and vocalizations to express themselves. While we can’t always read a dog’s body language accurately, it can give us helpful clues as to whether a dog is feeling stressed, frightened, or threatened. Shaking, cowering, hiding, lunging and jumping are actions by the dog that should alert you that the dog is not comfortable with you coming closer.

      Veterinarians play a key role in educating and guiding the community in these, and other dog bite prevention strategies. For more information, visit the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) website at or contact Ash Veterinary Clinic at 734-782-2827, or Dr. Toinette Strusinski-Broschay is the owner of Ash Veterinary Clinic in Carleton.

[4:06:25 PM] Dianne Raftopoulos: