The question came up when Dr. Debra told us about a woman who said her dog pulled the leash so forcefully that it injured her shoulder. The more we discussed this letter, the more we began how common it was for people to actually be injured by their dogs.
We think these types of safety issues need to be considered by all dog owners and by anyone who is thinking about getting a dog. That’s why we want to talk about them today – not to scare you, but to educate you. The more we know about these common injuries, the more prepared we are to prevent them.
So, has your dog ever hurt you? What we learned from our poll is that these types of injuries happen more often than you might think – 91% of dog owners who responded to our poll have been hurt by their dogs at some time! That’s a pretty amazing statistic.
The most common danger reported in the poll is falling. Dogs get under your feet causing you to trip or fall – which becomes even more dangerous when it occurs near stairs. When dogs are placed on a leash they can pull and knock you off balance, causing a fall. Over 49% of dog lovers said their dog had either tripped them or caused them to fall.
Approximately 18% report being bitten by their dog, which a much higher number than we would have expected. Another 15% of dog owners were injured when their dogs tugged and pulled on their leash. Other injuries were also reported (see below).
So, what can you do to prevent dog-related injuries? Here are some tips.
These dog lovers told us about severe bites, car accidents and other injuries Here are their stories.
Stories from Dog Lovers Whose Dogs Have Hurt Them
Lisa wrote, “In all my years of owning pets I never had a pet harm me in anyway. With that said my 2 year old GSD at 90 lbs has done a number on me. On day as he tried to pass me he hit my knee from the side and knocked me to the ground. It was only a sprain but put me out of work for 3 weeks. After being neutered, a small friendly dog came sniffing in parts he did not want anyone to be near. As he was standing on his hind legs, he was holding onto my arm afraid what would happen. He never bit, but he did pierce my arm. Most recently, he tripped me on my deck, I fell, and worrying about hurting my knee again, but instead broke the arch of my foot. Again out of work 6 weeks, then light duty for 3. We have him in training, and does wonderful until we bring him home. He just does not know how big and strong he is. Sometimes he wants to sit on my lap, something he never wanted to do as a puppy, but now that he is full grown he thinks it is a good idea. With all the bumps and bruises I wouldn’t trade him in for a small or gently dog. He is a lot of fun and has such personality he makes us laugh. My favorite is when he acts like a 4 year having a temper, laying on the floor whining, rolling around on his back because he did not get to go to work with my husband. I try to record it but I am never quick enough.”
Becky wrote, “My chiuahua lab mix, pixie, *who pretty much looks like a ten pound lab* has a tendency of stopping when were going up the stairs to go back into my apartment and she trips me up and a few times i have fallen UP the stairs. but its usually my fault because ”m looking at something else. she also likes to get under my feet in the kitchen hoping for scraps which causes me to fall into the counter. My other baby, daisy a 98 pound lab/boxer mix, is very loving and likes to curl up on the couch with me, but she has to jump up to give mommy kisses first before she settles down and that often results in a lot of scratches. i actually have a very deep one that i got just this morning for that same exact scenario, and she always knows when she’s hurt me but i make sure she knows that its ok. that its not her fault. my babies have never hurt me on purpose and i love them all the same. B. *FL*
Susan wrote “while trying to break up a fight with 3 dogs on 1…I tried to break it up and stuck my hand in the middle trying to put my arm around the one that started it so I could pull her off…she is a younger dog fighting with my older dog and it was yelping so pitiful and the other 2 just joined in…..I got bitten on my hand which required a tetanus shot and antibiotics…now 3 weeks later it is finally healing….it was all my fault I shouldn’t have put my hand in there….then I’ve tripped over one of my younger dogs I rescued a few years ago, he’s always right by my feet everywhere I go….
Roberta wrote, “My St Bernard (as a pup) knocked me down a flight of stairs. She did not mean to but when she went by me her body took my leg and me right down with her. She has trained me well now I always hang on to the rail for dear life.”
Karrie wrote, “My German Shepherd use to pull on my shoulder so bad that I couldn’t stand to take her for walks anymore. We had been through several obedience classes and did very well. BUT!!!! when walking down the street, it was more like dragging me behind for walks. I swore that as being an obedience instructor and in the obedience ring that I would never ever use a training device such as a harness or haltie, BUT!!!! this dog needed something or else I would require shoulder surgery because of her. So I broke down and bought a haltie and swear by them now. In my obedience classes I sell at least 6 halties per 2 month training session now and people love them. Karma never leaves the house without the haltie on when we go for our walks. This dog has two obedience titles, and still pulls like crazy without the haltie, but in the ring you would never know that she is a tugger.”
Patricia Ramage wrote, “My mother broke her nose while walking her two dogs (a Lab and Siberian Husky). They saw something they were interested in and ran. She stumbled over the curb and went down.
When my Greyhounds get excited & wag their tails, it’s like getting whipped with a strap. They will bite when we are playing. they like to use their front teeth and do a pinching type of biting. My male will use his front paws to scratch my back when he wants something. Sometimes he’s does it hard enough to leave claw-like bruising.”
Maggie M. wrote, “My dog is 3 and 1/2 years old and he has never harmed a soul. Charlie, my loving Australian Shepherd, is so friendly, he won’t even growl at a little kid if they pull his “stump.” I don’t think Charlie even played ruff with his brothers and sisters when he was young. But, you can sure tell Charlie is a loving dog. He may be large in size, but he also has a huge heart to love with.”