Preventing dog bites: Educational tools to help veterinarians

AVMA Infographic: Dog Bites by the NumbersDid you know that nearly 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, and that 20 percent of the victims require medical attention?

Veterinarians realize that while even the gentlest dog can bite, most bites can be prevented.  Sunday marks the start of National Dog Bite Prevention Week®, and we have resources to help you educate your clients and make your community a safer place to live.

As the founding sponsor of National Dog Bite Prevention Week®, the AVMA is committed to reducing the number of dog bites and helping dog owners maintain the loving bonds they have with their dogs. We offer resources to help you teach clients about socialization, responsible dog ownership, why dogs bite, and recognizing risky situations, among other topics. Our client-ready brochure on dog bite prevention is available in our online store in both English and Spanish. And our YouTube channel has a complete playlist of fun, kid-friendly videos about dog bite prevention; play them on a loop in your clinic or embed the playlist on your website, as shown below.

We also can help you celebrate National Dog Bite Prevention Week® on social media. Download any of our three National Dog Bite Prevention Week® cover photos, and use them as your own to customize your profile from May 15-21. (Yes, it’s really OK!) If you’re an AVMA member, we have pre-written social media posts that you can copy and paste, plus ideas for writing your own if you prefer. We also encourage you to follow the AVMA’s social media accounts – especially Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – where we’ll be sharing dog bite prevention materials throughout the week.

While you educate clients locally about dog bite prevention, the AVMA represents veterinarians nationally as sponsor of the National Dog Bite Prevention Week® Coalition. AVMA Board of Directors member Dr. Lori Teller spoke at a news conference Wednesday to kick off the week-long event, emphasizing the important role veterinarians can play in assessing, monitoring and improving dogs’ behavior.

“Pet owners should talk to their veterinarian regarding any behavioral concerns they may have,” said Dr. Teller, a veterinarian at the Meyerland Animal Clinic in Houston. “Their family veterinarian can assist in determining if there is a medical component; which medication, if any, would be most appropriate as part of an integrated treatment program; and whether or not a referral to a behavior specialist is warranted.”

For a more complete account of the news conference, read our press release.

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