There are approximately 800,000 reported dog bites annually in the United States. The dogs responsible range from small to large and from house pets to feral/wild dogs.

What do you do if you get bitten? 

Was it your dog?

  • Immediately confine your animal and wash your wound with water and soap.
  • Call your veterinarian so they can check your dog’s vaccination records. You may need medical attention.

Was it someone else’s dog?

  • First seek medical treatment, then contact animal control. St. Louis City Animal Control’s number is (314)353-5838. Tell animal control everything you know about the dog, the owner’s name, and where the incident happened.


How can you prevent an attack? 

As an owner:

  • Make sure your pet is socialized and trained to remain calm when in threatening situations.
  • Keep your dog away from children younger than 4 years old. Most dog bite injuries happen to children.
  • Train your dog so they are obedient to commands such as “sit”, “stay”, & “no”.
  • Keep your dog on a leash in public and respect laws.
  • Keep your dog vaccinated against preventable diseases such as rabies.
  • Neuter or spay your pet. Science suggests neutered dogs are less aggressive.
  • Be alert. If your dog has been acting unusual or aggressive consult your veterinarian.

As a citizen:

  • Don’t run past a dog. Their natural instinct is to chase and catch things.
  • Don’t disturb an eating or sleeping dog, or one with puppies.
  • Don’t reach through or over a fence to pet a dog. Dog’s are very territorial and may feel threatened.
  • If a dog approaches you, stay still. They are trying to determine if you are a threat.
  • If you are threatened by a dog, remain calm. Don’t make eye contact, yell, or run. Try to calmly back away.
  • If you fall to the ground, curl up in a ball with your hangs over your head, neck, and face area.


What do you do if your dog bites someone? 

  • Restrain your dog immediately and confine it.
  • Check on the victim’s condition. Wounds should be immediately washed with soap and water and medical attention should be sought.
  • Provide your information to the victim, including: your name, phone number, address, and information about your dog’s vaccination records. If your dog is not up-to-date on their rabies vaccine, it may be necessary to quarantine them or even euthanize them for rabies testing.
  • Comply with local ordinances regarding reporting of dog bites.
  • Consult your veterinarian for advice on how to prevent similar future issues.


Always be cautious around unknown dogs, especially in public. Feral dogs exist in St. Louis and may look like house pets, but are wild animals that may have contracted deadly diseases. If you see an unmonitored animal, call animal control. Don’t attempt to interact with them because you can never know how they will react.


This information was gathered from the National Dog Bite Prevention Week Brochure which can be found at



Abby Orscheln – Safety and Security Intern