Veterinary Public Health

Pet Health Calendar
Contact Information
Veterinary Public Health Program
313 N Figueroa St. Rm 1127
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel (213) 288-7060
Fax (213) 481-2375
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Dog Bite Prevention

Photo of two cute dogs looking at cameraMost dog bites are preventable. Before getting a dog, realistically evaluate your schedule, environment, and lifestyle. Consult with a professional (e.g. veterinarian, animal behaviorist, animal trainer) to determine the types of dogs best suited to your situation.

Dogs with a history of aggression are inappropriate in households with children. Be sensitive to cues that a child is fearful or apprehensive about a dog and, if so, delay acquiring a dog. Spend time with a dog before adopting it. Use caution when a bringing a dog or puppy into the home of an infant or toddler.

If you already have a dog, you can reduce the chances of a bite occurring by following these simple tips:

Dog Bite Prevention Tips

  • Spay/neuter your dog to reduce aggression.
  • Never leave infants or young children alone with any dog, even with a small dog.
  • Properly socialize and train any dog entering the household.
  • Immediately seek professional advice (e.g. veterinarian, animal behaviorist, animal trainer) is the dog develops aggressive or undesirable behaviors.
  • Do not play aggressive games with your dog (e.g. wrestling, tug-of-war).
  • Keep your dog on a leash when it is off your property.
  • Teach children basic safety around dogs and review regularly. Here are lessons for children:
    • Never approach an unfamiliar dog.
    • Never run from a dog and scream.
    • Remain motionless when approached by an unfamiliar dog (e.g. “be still like a
    • If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still (e.g. “be still like a log.”)
    • Never play with a dog unless supervised by an adult.
    • Immediately report stray dogs or dogs acting strangely to an adult.
    • Avoid direct eye contact with dogs.
    • Do not disturb a dog who is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
    • Do not pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first.
    • If bitten, immediately report the bite to an adult.

To REPORT an animal bite to a person in Los Angeles County, click here. All bites are legally reportable except rodent and rabbit bites. Veterinary Public Health investigated to determine whether the bite could have transmitted rabies. Reporting an animal bite is not the same thing as reporting a vicious animal, because all animals may bite under certain circumstances.

To REPORT a vicious animal in Los Angeles County, contact your local animal control agency.


Last updated:
November 28, 2016
Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.
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