Dog Bite Statistics and Injuries
Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States seeks medical attention
for a dog bite. There are approximately 800,000 bites per year in
the United States that require medical treatment. Most of the victims
are children, and most of them are bitten on the face. Almost $165
million is spent treating dog bites and 70% of dog bites occur on
the owner's property.
Dog bites result in approximately 44,000 facial injuries each year. This represents between 0.5% and 1.5% of all hospital emergency room visits. Male patients slightly outnumber females. Unfortunately children comprise 60% of the dog bite victims. Severe injuries occur almost exclusively in children less than 10 years of age. The face is the most frequent target (77% of all injures). Mail carriers are an exception where 97% involve the lower extremities. We see an unusual number of dreadful injuries each spring. Severely injured patients stay an average of 4.2 days in the hospital. Dog bites cause an average of 18 deaths a year.
Types of Injuries
Dog bites can inflict Cuts and lacerations, abrasions, crushing wounds, punctures and fractured bones.
These wounds can often result in disfiguring scars. The central target
area for the face includes the lips, nose, and cheeks. Dog bites are
becoming more common because of the increase in dog ownership and
interaction of people and dogs. Many owners are ignorant of proper
care and training of dogs.
The vast majority of bites are by pet dogs and happen when people are engaged in social behavior in appropriate places. They generally (61%) occur close to dog's home or home of the bitten person. Typically (77%) injuries are by friendly dogs known to the bitten person. It is impossible to predict what might provoke a friendly dog to bite. They may be in pain, become panic stricken, feel threatened, or any number of factors. Children aged 5 or younger are more likely to provoke animals. Dog should never be left unattended with small children.
Hounds are less likely to injure than working or sporting breeds. Puppies are also more likely to injure than an adult dog.
There are social trends towards training and keeping dangerous animals by inexperienced owners. Aggressive guard dogs are trained for self protection. While any dog can bite, the top biting breeds include: