Dog bites: the constant fear of animal lovers worldwide. No matter how sweet or gentle your pet may be, all owners wonder at least once whether their dog is capable of attacking. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) summed it up quite nicely with this quote…
“70 million nice dogs…but any dog can bite.”
The third week of May is National Dog Bite Prevention Week in the United States. The focus of this movement is educating people about dog bites and hopefully preventing future bites. Dog bites are extremely common and can vary from very minor to very major, and they are a possibility that every owner should consider.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), dog bites happen to more than 4.5 million people a year. Children, the elderly, and postal carriers are the most frequent victims of dog bites. Worst of all is the fact that many of these bites could have been prevented.
Here are some dog bite stats:
- Dog bites occur to approximately 2% of the population ever year and represent approximately 1% of all emergency room visits.
- Each year, 800,000 Americans seek medical attention for dog bites; half of these are children.
- Of those injured, 386,000 people that require treatment in an emergency department, and about a dozen die.
- On average, 17 people die from dog bites per year; that’s about 0.0002 percent of the total number of people bitten.
- The U.S. Postal Service reports that dogs attacked 5,581 postal employees in 2013.
- Over 75% of dog bites are attributed to a pet belonging to the victim’s family or friends.
- Approximately 50% of dog attacks occur on the dog owner’s property.
- The rate of dog-bite-related injuries is highest for children ages 5 to 9 years, and the rate decreases as children age.
- The CDC has determined that dog bites were the 11th leading cause of nonfatal injury to children ages 1 to 4, 9th for ages 5 to 9, and 10th for ages 10 to 14 from 2003-2012.
- Almost two thirds of injuries among children ages four years and younger are to the head or neck region. Injury rates in children are significantly higher for boys than for girls.
- The Insurance Information Institute estimates that in 2013, insurers across the country paid over $483 million in dog bite claims.
- The American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery reports that according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 26,935 reconstructive procedures were performed in 2013 to repair injuries caused by dog bites.