Dog Bite Safety: Stats, Facts, and Tips


Dogs are a man’s best friend, so they say. While the majority of dogs are friendly and harmless, any canine – regardless of breed, size, age, or gender – is capable of biting if provoked. Read below to learn more about dog bites and what you can do to prevent them…


Dog Bites by the Numbers

Just how much of a problem are dog bites? Check out these facts and figures from the American Veterinary Medical Association:

  • 36.5% of American homes have at least one dog.
  • Each year, approximately 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs.
  • Almost one in five dog bites (800,000 per year) require medical attention.
  • Children are the most common victims of dog bites, accounting for nearly half of all incidents.
  • Dog bites account for one-third of all homeowners’ liability insurance claims, costing nearly $570 million.
  • The average payment by insurers for dog bite claims is over $37,000.


Why Do Dogs Bite?

Dogs can bite for several reasons, including:

  • Fear. It is important to be conscious of your actions and how they affect nearby dogs.
  • Protection. They could see you as a threat to their owner, puppies, or even their favorite toy.
  • Sickness. When dogs are sick or in pain, they may become overly aggressive.
  • Redirected Aggression. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way by interacting with a pup who is already riled up. A classic example of this is attempting to break up a dog fight.
  • Poor Training. It’s possible that a dog may simply bite because it is poorly trained.


How to Prevent Dog Bites

Nearly all dog bites are preventable. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind the next time you are around a dog:

  • Avoid aggressive games, such as tug of war.
  • Keep your distance. Don’t immediately approach a dog you are not familiar with.
  • Spay or neuter your dog. Fixed dogs are three times less likely to attack.
  • Avoid making eye contact, which can make a dog feel intimidated and scared.
  • Don’t disturb dogs that are eating, sleeping, nursing, or playing.
  • Know the signs that a dog is about to bite. These include a tensed body, stiff tail, pulled back ears, a furrowed brow, and exposed teeth.


What to Do If You Are Bitten By a Dog

It is important to take proper care of your dog bite so that it does not become infected. If you are bitten by a dog, follow these steps:

  • Immediately wash the wound thoroughly with soap and warm water.
  • Gently dry the wound with a clean towel and apply a bandage.
  • Report the bite to your local animal control agency.
  • If the injury is serious, contact your physician for additional care.
  • If your wound is severe enough to warrant medical attention, consider contacting a personal injury lawyer to recover compensation for your damages.


If you have been the victim of a dog attack in North Carolina or South Carolina, the personal injury attorneys at Stewart Law Offices, LLC are ready to represent you. Contact us online to get started with a free case evaluation, or call (888) 286-5600.


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