Dog Bite Facts

In the United States, roughly 4.5 million people each year are bitten by dogs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that about one in every five dog bite incidents are severe enough to require medical attention for injuries. This equates to roughly 885,000 medically-treated dog bite injuries each year.

Dog Bite Risk Factors

The CDC states that among adults, males are more likely than females to be victims of a dog bite. Of the estimated 4.5 million bites each year, roughly half of these dog bite victims are children. Children are most likely to sustain severe injury from dog attacks, especially in the face and neck areas. This is primarily due to a child’s height and size. Senior citizens are also common dog bite victims.

Dog Ownership

Dog bites are statistically more likely to occur in homes with one or more dogs. The number of dogs in each home increases the likelihood that a dog attack will occur. According to the CDC, two or more dogs in the home equates to a fivefold increased risk for a dog bite in comparison to a home without dogs.

Dog Bite Facts by Breed

Dog bite facts and statistics indicate that certain breeds may be more likely to bite than others. In public reports, at least 25 varying breeds have been involved in the hundreds of dog attack deaths. Some states have responded to this information with breed-specific legislation. This legislation places restrictions on ownership of certain breeds that are perceived as dangerous, such as pit bulls and Rottweilers. However, because all dogs can bite, there is little evidence to support the theory that breed-specific legislation is effective for preventing dog attacks.

Dog Bite Prevention

Research indicates that certain steps can be taken to prevent dog bites. Prospective dog owners should be willing to invest the time and resources needed for proper training and socialization. If families with children plan to get a dog, the child’s attitude should be taken into consideration. Fearful or aggressive behaviors from children may contribute to a dog attack.

Kids and Dog Treatment

Experts assert that many dog attacks can be prevented by teaching proper treatment of dogs by both children and adults. In households with or without dogs, children should be taught proper techniques and behaviors for interacting with dogs. Children should never approach unfamiliar dogs or play roughly by hitting, yelling, or pulling ears or tails. If a dog is sleeping, eating, or playing alone, children should be discouraged from disturbing the dog.




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Barbero, Maria, et al. “Teaching respect, responsibility, and kindness through dog safety lessons.” Childhood Education 87.2 (2010): 125+. Academic OneFile. Web. 10 Jan. 2014.