Merck Manual

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Preventing Dog Bites

Preventing Dog Bites

Any dog may bite. Children are most likely to be bitten by dogs, and they are also most likely to be seriously injured if they are bitten. People are more likely to be bitten by their own dog or by a dog they know. Some precautions can help minimize the risk of a bite:

  • Do not leave a baby or young child alone with a dog.

  • Do not disturb a dog that is eating or resting.

  • Do not approach a strange dog without the owner's permission.

  • Do not reach for a dog or reach through a fence to pet a dog.

  • Do not run past a dog.

  • Do not try to separate dogs that are fighting.

  • If a dog approaches, remain calm and hold still or back away slowly.