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What & When Is Dog Bite Prevention Week? (2024 Update)

Written by: Misty Layne

Last Updated on June 12, 2024 by Dogster Team

White dog bite

What & When Is Dog Bite Prevention Week? (2024 Update)

Yes, dogs can be sweet and loving, but they’re still animals, which means they can and will bite. Even the sweetest pup on the planet can be provoked into biting someone. In the United States, an estimated 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year, with most of those being children.1 That’s why the American Veterinary Medical Association2 designated the second full week in April as National Dog Bite Prevention Week. This year, it is April 7–13.

The purpose is to raise awareness of how to prevent dog bites from occurring and ways to create safer environments. But what else is Dog Bite Prevention Week about? How exactly can you participate in it? Here’s what to know!

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What and When Is Dog Bite Prevention Week?

National Dog Bite Prevention Week is the second full week of April. It began in 1989 and is now recognized as an event in over 40 countries. The primary purpose of the event is to educate people on why dogs bite people so they can avoid this incident. This week also teaches people how to react if they are bitten.

The main lesson of Dog Bite Prevention Week is that you can prevent being bitten by a canine with a few easy steps.

  • Remembering that dogs are animals and not toys
  • Educating oneself on deciphering a dog’s body language
  • Teaching kids how to respect and be gentle toward dogs
  • Keeping your dog mentally and physically stimulated so they don’t become bored and resort to negative behaviors

With these steps, you should be able to help prevent dog bites from occurring!

dog bite on hand
Image Credit: Kapa65, Pixabay

The 7 Reasons Why Dogs Bite

There are several reasons that even the most well-behaved dog will resort to biting, so knowing these is essential.

1. Resource Guarding

If you’ve adopted a pup from a shelter, you might have noticed this happening when you first bring them home. You feed your new pet, and the second that someone comes near their food while they’re eating, they snap at them or growl. This is resource guarding. A dog may also do it with other things, such as toys, dog beds, or even a particular human in the house.

2. Fear

Possibly the most common reason that dogs bite is due to fear (which makes sense). After all, if a dog is startled, is in an unfamiliar place and overwhelmed, or feels threatened, it can be expected that they will lash out to protect themselves. So, it’s a good idea to avoid trying to jump-scare your pup!

dog in pain aggressive
Image Credit: Bonsales, Shutterstock

3. Sensitive to Touch

Dogs are individuals, so they all react to touch differently. For some pups, being touched may lead to feeling uncomfortable because they’re overly sensitive to contact. If this is your pet, it means they could end up biting someone while at the vet or groomer because being touched is too much for them.

4. Territorial

Another significant cause of dog bites is a canine feeling territorial. Let’s face it: Animals can get awfully territorial, whether it’s about their space, resources, or even their humans. When a dog feels as if another animal or person is invading their territory, it can result in a dog bite as they try to protect what they consider their own.

5. Pain

You likely don’t enjoy being touched when you’re in pain, and your dog is no different. If a pup is hurting, they’re likelier to snap on instinct at someone reaching out to touch them, in order to protect themselves. However, proper training and socialization can help minimize this instinct.

havanese resting in dog bed
Image Credit: Boryana Manzurova, Shutterstock

6. Inappropriate Handling

In most cases of inappropriate handling, children will be involved. As much as your child may love your pup, they might not always remember that dogs don’t enjoy being grabbed, poked, prodded, pinched, etc. A lot of the time, the child isn’t doing any of this on purpose; it’s simply a result of motor skills that haven’t fully developed. Unfortunately, a dog doesn’t know this, so they might nip at a child to get them to stop. So, always supervise children and dogs when they’re playing together!

7. Lack of Training or Socialization

Sometimes, a dog bites because they haven’t been properly socialized or trained. A dog lacking socialization may be afraid of strangers and strange places, resulting in aggression and biting.

labradoodle dog and woman owner at the park
Image Credit: Lopolo, Shutterstock

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How Can I Prevent Dog Bites?

Other than the steps listed here, there are plenty of ways to help keep dog bites from occurring!

  • Train your pup not to bite.
  • Approach strange dogs responsibly (cautiously and with the owner’s permission).
  • Use a leash in public at all times.
  • Always supervise small children and dogs.
  • Don’t tease your pup.
  • Teach kids how to interact properly with canines.
  • Neuter or spay your dog to reduce aggression.

How Can I Observe Dog Bite Prevention Week?

There are a handful of things you can do to observe Dog Bite Prevention Week and help spread the word on how to prevent dogs from biting.

For starters, follow the American Veterinary Medical Association on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date on what it’s doing during this week. You can share its posts about dog bite prevention on your own social media. You can also use #PreventDogBites when sharing your own information about dog bite prevention to be part of the conversation online.

Another fun way to observe this week is to share the American Veterinary Medical Association’s “Jimmy the Dog” videos that talk about dog bite prevention!

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In Conclusion

Dogs are wonderful and we love them, but they are still animals, so there’s always a chance they could bite someone. That’s why Dog Bite Prevention Week exists. During this week, you can learn more about preventing dog bites and help educate others on how to do this too. Knowing how to help keep dogs from biting could save you a lot of potential heartbreak down the road, so be sure to take part in April!

Featured Image Credit: meawtai99, Shutterstock

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