While many people fear being bitten by a dog, most don’t know just how common dog bites really are. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are about 4.5 million dog bites each year in the United States. Just under a million of those bites become infected. When you take into account the population of the country, that means that about 1 out of every 72 people is bitten by a dog each year, and those are just the bites that are reported.
The thought of being bitten by a dog strikes fear in the heart of many people. It’s less scary when you have information on your side. Here are dog bite statistics that every person should be aware of.
1. Why Dogs Bite
Dogs bite for a variety of reasons. We aren’t talking about play biting, but aggressive bites. A dog may bite when they are stressed, physically ill, to protect themselves or their owners, to protect their puppies or even when they feel threatened and can’t get away from a situation.
2. Breeds to Watch
There are breeds that are more likely to bite, then there are breeds that have the strongest bites. These aren’t always the same. Chihuahuas, bulldogs, pit bulls, German shepherds and Australian shepherds round out the list of breeds most likely to bite.
Alternatively, the Kangal, English mastiff, wolfdog, rottweiler and African wild dog have the strongest bites. These lists are certainly not all inclusive. Any dog can bite, and any dog can cause injury.
3. Preventing Dog Bites
There are things you can do to decrease your chance of being bitten by a dog. Do not approach dogs you don’t know, especially those without a human owner in the immediate vicinity. If a dog approaches you, don’t run and don’t make eye contact. Do not touch a dog while they are eating, drinking, sleeping or taking care of puppies. Never encourage your own dog to play in an aggressive way.
4. The Numbers
There are more than 70 million dogs in the United States. Most of the bites that are inflicted by dogs come from animals that have not been neutered or spayed. A quarter of fatal dog attacks were inflicted by dogs that were chained or tethered to an object. You have only a 1 in 112,400 chance of incurring a fatal dog bite in your lifetime.
In most states, if your dog bites someone, you are liable. Check your homeowner’s insurance policy to see if dog bites are covered. If you have a dog and aren’t currently covered, call your agent and find out how much it would be to protect yourself.
If you are bitten by a dog in San Luis Obispo and want to pursue your legal rights, reach out to our team. We will review the details of your incident and advise you of your options. You may be entitled to compensation for medical treatments, therapies and more.