Beware of dog bites: Tips to keep you and your children safer

(May 25, 2012) —There are tremendous responsibilities and potential liabilities that come with owning a dog. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports there are approximately 4.7 million dog bites per year, resulting in 800,000 injuries that require medical attention. Half of those injuries are to people under the age of 18.

Dog behavior is a serious concern for everyone. Insurance companies often pay civil judgments for dog bites that happen on their customers' properties. Those payments affect insurance premiums that policyholders pay.

Dog bites cost the property/casualty insurance industry roughly $413 million in 2010. Since 2003, the cost of these claims has risen nearly 37 percent. When you consider those types of claims account for nearly one third of homeowner's liability claims, it is important to do everything you can to prevent dog bites.

The Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Humane Society offer the following tips on how to prevent dog attacks. Share this information with your loved ones for protection in a variety of situations:

For owners:

For everyone:

Based in Madison, Wis., American Family Insurance offers auto insurance, homeowners insurance, life insurance, health insurance, business and farm/ranch insurance in 19 states. American Family Mutual Insurance Company is the nation's third-largest mutual property/casualty insurance company. Web:; Facebook:; Twitter: