DOG attacks on Royal Mail staff in Wiltshire and Gloucestershire are less common now than at this time last year.

On average, nine postmen and women a day are attacked by dogs across the UK, with over 3,300 attacks taking place from April 2013 to April 2014, an 8 per cent increase on the previous year.

Around 6,300 postal workers have been attacked by dogs since 2012, meaning they are the largest group of dog attack victims in the UK.

The Royal Mail revealed that 40 dog attacks took place in Gloucestershire from April 2013 to April 2014 and only 15 such attacks were recorded across Wiltshire in the same period.

This equates to an 11% decrease in attacks in Gloucestershire and a 55% decrease in Wiltshire compared to last year.

These statistics have been released as part of Dog Awareness Week, which runs from June 30 to July 4 and aims to raise awareness of dog attacks and promote responsible dog ownership.

Recorded dog attacks tend to rise during school holidays and the summer months as dogs are more often left unsupervised.

As well as postmen and women Members of Parliament, councillors and other campaigners are also at risk from dog attacks when out canvassing and leafleting in their local areas.

In a survey of Members of Parliament, Royal Mail heard from more than 50 MPs who have personal experiences of dog attacks.

Royal Mail Chairman Donald Brydon said: “We know that most dogs are not inherently dangerous, however, even the most placid animal can be prone to attack if it feels its territory is being threatened.

“We appeal to owners to keep their pets under control, especially if they know their pets have a territorial nature. It can also be simple things that help - for example just making sure the dog is kept inside when the postman calls.”

To help protect postmen and women the campaign suggests securing back gardens where dogs are left, taking care when answering the door and considering installing a secure mailbox outside your property.

Dog owners should also be aware that as of May 2014 it is a criminal offence if a dog attacks the postman or woman on private property.

Dave Joyce, CWU Health and Safety Officer said: “We welcome this as for too long, postal workers who offer a first class service have been subjected to reckless dog ownership leaving them vulnerable at work and unprotected when a dog attack occurred.”