(KCBS) – Sunday marked the beginning of National Dog Bite Prevention Week.

“About 4.5 million Americans will be bitten by a dog this year,” said Jennifer Scarlett, DVM, co-president of the San Francisco SPCA. “About 1 in 1,000 people will go to a medical facility to receive treatment. These are just snap and release, not maulings. And this is about equal to the number of people who will die of smoking related illnesses.”

“I use this comparison because experts and myself included believe that dog bites are one of the most preventable injuries that we see.”

“Children are more likely to be bitten than adults,” she added. “And of children, boys five to nine years of age are the most susceptible to bites.”

“First, as parents, you never want to leave young children alone unattended with dogs,” recommended Scarlett. “If you’re a parent and your child wants to meet a strange dog on the street, make sure that they learn to ask permission. And lastly, if you’re a dog guardian, unless you know that your dog is socialized with children you don’t want to have their first encounter be with a child on the street. You want it to be in a calm, controlled environment.”

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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