Dog Bite Risk and Prevention
Dogs are most definitely man’s best friend! They bless the family with unconditional love in the truest of senses. While most dogs are loving, playful and relatively harmless, approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States every year, according to the Center For Disease Control (CDC). With an approximate population of 325.8 million, that means a dog bites 1 out of every 72 people.
We love dogs here at Duque Law! But we do see a lot of dog attack victims. This article is not intended to scare anyone away from any particular breed or to incite a prejudice against any certain type of dog. Instead, look at the information as a guide that could possibly save you from a painful and potentially life altering dog bite in the future.
WHY DO DOGS BITE?
While there are certainly some dogs that will be aggressive and bite regardless of the situation, even the cutest, most cuddly and sweetest pet can bite if provoked. Regardless of size, gender and breed, a dog is an animal first and foremost and typically bite as a reaction to something. Dogs can bite because they are scared, have been startled, feel threatened or to protect something that is valuable to them, like their babies, food or a favorite toy.
Dogs may also bite because they are not feeling well. An injury or illness can be confusing to an animal and they only want to be left alone.
Dogs also might nip and bite during play. Even a playful nip can be dangerous, especially for small children. Extreme caution should be exercised while wrestling or playing tug-of-war with your dog as these activities can overly excite your dog and can lead to a nip or a bite.
Keep these triggers in mind anytime you are around a dog, especially one you are not familiar with. Your awareness of their mental state will help you recognize a potential bite situation more quickly. Educating yourself and your children on how, or if, they should approach a dog is also crucial to preventing dog bites. Information is one of the best ways to prevent dog bites.
DOG BITE STATISTICS
- Approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur each year
- 81% of dog bites cause minor injuries that do not require medial attention
- Dog bites sustained by children have been decreasing in the past decade
- You have a 1 in 112,400 chance of dying from a dog bite or attack
- Most dog bites involve dogs who are not spayed or neutered
- 25% of fatal attacks were inflicted by chained dogs of many different breeds
- The insurance industry paid more than $530 million in dog bite related claims in 2014
BREEDS THAT BITE THE MOST:
- Pit Bull Terrier
- Chow Chow
- Doberman Pinscher
- Siberian Husky
- Jack Russell Terrier
- German Shepherd
WHICH BREEDS HAVE THE STRONGEST BITE?
While some breeds bite more often than others, some bites result in more serious consequences. Below are the top 12 dogs with the strongest bite in terms of PSI (pound per square inch or pound-force per square inch).
- Kangal: 743 PSI
- English Mastiff: 556 PSI
- Wolfdog: 406 PSI
- Rottweiler: 328 PSI
- African Wild Dog: 317 PSI
- American Bull Dog: 305 PSI
- Doberman: 245 PSI
- German Shepherd: 238 PSI
- American Pitbull: 235 PSI
- Dutch Shepherd: 224 PSI
- Chow Chow: 220 PSI
- Malinois: 195 PSI
HOW TO PREVENT GETTING BITTEN
- Always ask permission before reaching out to pet the dog.
- When approached by an unfamiliar dog, remain motionless.
- If a dog knocks you over, curl into a ball with your head tucked and your hands over your ears and neck.
- Immediately let an adult know about any stray dogs or dogs that are behaving strangely.
- Don’t approach an unfamiliar dog.
- Don’t run from a dog.
- Don’t panic or make loud noises.
- Don’t disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
- Don’t pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first.
- Don’t encourage your dog to play aggressively.
- Don’t let small children play with a dog unsupervised.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE BITTEN OR ATTACKED BY A DOG
- Put your purse, bag, or jacket between you and the dog.
- If you are knocked down, curl into a ball with your head tucked in and your hands over your ears and neck.
Wash Wounds with Soap and Water
When you get to a safe place, immediately wash wounds with soap and water. Seek medical attention, especially:
For minor wounds:
- Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water.
- Apply an antibiotic cream.
- Cover the wound with a clean bandage.
- See a healthcare provider if the wound becomes red, painful, warm, or swollen; if you develop a fever; or if the dog that bit you was acting strangely.
For deep wounds:
- Apply pressure with a clean, dry cloth to stop the bleeding.
- If you cannot stop the bleeding or you feel faint or weak, call 911 or your local emergency medical services immediately.
- See a healthcare provider as soon as possible.
- See a healthcare provider:
* If the wound is serious (uncontrolled bleeding, loss of function, extreme pain, muscle or bone exposure, etc.).
* If the wound becomes red, painful, warm, or swollen, or if you develop a fever.If you don’t know if the dog has been vaccinated against rabies.
* If it has been more than 5 years since your last tetanus shot and the bite is deep.
Report the Bite
- Because anyone who is bitten by a dog is at risk of getting rabies, consider contacting your local animal control agency or police department to report the incident, especially:
* If you don’t know if the dog has been vaccinated against rabies.
* If the dog appears sick or is acting strangely.
* If possible, contact the owner and ensure the animal has a current rabies vaccination. You will need the rabies vaccine license number, name of the veterinarian who administered the vaccine, and the owner’s name, address, and phone number.
We certainly recognize that there are many well behaved and sweet dogs of every breed, especially when paired with responsible owners. Likewise, there are aggressive dogs that did not make the lists above. A serious dog bite most likely result in costly medical bills, lost wages, and costs that are more difficult to measure like pain and suffering. Some victims may need facial reconstruction surgery or other plastic surgery as a result of their injuries.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite or dog attack, call us at 1-877-241-9554 to learn more about your legal options. A free consultation is just a phone call away.