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How can I reduce the risk of dog bites on my property?

Dog bite prevention starts with responsible ownership and child awareness of basic dog safety. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 4.7 million dog bites are reported every year. Most home insurance policies cover dog bite liability; however, contact your insurance agent for specific information about dog bite liability and your policy.

The following tips can reduce the chances of dog bites in and around your home:

  • Leash your dog when not contained in a fenced enclosure- an electric fence may keep your dog in the yard- but they do not keep children or other animals out.
  • Teach your children about basic safety around dogs, advise against teasing and other behaviors that may cause a dog to respond inappropriately
  • Supervise children while they are playing with a dog
  • Have your dog spayed/neutered
  • Vaccinate your dog against rabies
  • Socialize your dog with people and other animals keeping a close watch for any signs that your dog might feel uncomfortable
  • Play non-aggressive games with your dog such as fetch
  • Teach your children to ask permission from a pet owner before petting an unfamiliar dog
  • Report stray dogs immediately to your local animal control center

Your home insurance premium may increase due to the breed of dog you have living in your home. Some breeds are commonly more aggressive than others. Over a 20 year span from 1979 to 1998, the following breeds were involved in the most dog bite related fatalities:
(listed in descending order of number of fatalities)

  • Pit bull type
  • Rottweiler
  • German Shepherd Dog
  • Husky-type
  • Malamute
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Chow Chow
  • Great Dane
  • Saint Bernard

Statistical Data Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention. National Dog Bite Prevention Week. http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/duip/biteprevention.htm http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/duip/dogbreeds.pdf

Last Updated: April 04, 2008

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