How Many People Suffer Dog Bite Injuries Each Year in the United States?
In the United States, there are around 75 million dogs either in homes
or roaming the streets. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) claims that there are an estimated 4.5 million
dog bites every year and yet, because many people who suffer small injuries don’t
report their bites, it is believed that the actual number is significantly
higher. While the number of reported bites is in the millions, injuries
that require victims to go to the hospital are estimated around 880,000 annually.
What’s interesting about dog bites is that it's not necessarily
their teeth that cause these injuries; it is the strength of their jaw
muscles and the pressure that is used that causes the wounds. Because
of the extreme strength that a dog can have in their mouth, as a person’s
skin is punctured, there can be nerves that are damaged as well as
bones. Due to instances like this, around 15-20 deaths are caused by dog attacks
each year. Around 30,000 people also get reconstructive surgeries because
of the damage done.
It is common for people to think the greatest risk for dog bites or attacks
is at the park or when you are walking outside, and yet what most people
don’t realize is that the greatest danger is within their own home.
Most dog attacks happen when something causes them to panic or when there
are multiple dogs in the home; territory invasion can cause a lot of conflict
between animals. Interestingly, statistics show that men are more likely
to be attacked by a dog, while woman are more likely to be attacked by cats.
Within the statistics of who is at risk for dogs bites, it is narrowed
down even more so to children, who are at the greatest risk. Children
who are between ages 5 and 9 are the most likely to be bitten, but the
reasons for this can vary; perhaps because they are the most curious about
touching and playing with animals and aren’t quite old enough to
realize the dangers. As children are much smaller in size, and are prone
to worse injuries than adults, it tends to be the child cases that result
in hospital visits as well.
What You Should Do After Suffering a Dog Bite Injury
With these statistics in mind, it’s important to know what to do
next. What do you do if someone is attacked by a dog? First, you should
get the victim to a safe place – one that is far away from the dog.
It is often hard to tell the severity of the damage caused by a dog bite,
and it is encouraged that the individual be taken to receive medical attention.
Meanwhile, make sure the wounds are cleaned and that the injury is elevated.
Next, you should find out if the animal has received its rabies vaccinations.
If not, you should discuss this with your physician immediately. This
tends to be more common when there are stray dog attacks; most home animals
receive their shots when they are purchased, though it is not always a
guarantee. If you are unsure, this information can be gathered by animal
control or law enforcement at the time you report the attack.
How to Prevent a Potential Dog Attack
Here are a few ways that you can prevent a dog bite, according to the CDC:
Never approach a dog you don’t know, even if they look like a sweet animal. You never know when they will
bite or attack. A common misconception is that if a dog shows aggression
or attacks that running away and screaming will help. While it may be
a way to express your fear, it is only going to prompt the dog to attack
again or get more defensive. As a parent, if you see stray dogs in your
neighborhood, report them immediately. This will not only protect yourself
and your children from a possible attack, but it may help a family who
is looking for their lost pet.
Wait for the dog to see and smell you first, and don’t sneak up on it. When you are approaching an animal, try
to avoid direct eye contact, especially for a long period of time if you
don’t know the dog. Many animals feel threatened by prolonged eye
contact, and can view it as a challenge. Most importantly, teach your
children that if they are bitten to tell an adult immediately. Take time
to warn and prepare your children about the ways to stay safe around animals.
While it may seem obvious, it is important for their safety to be aware
of the possible risks at hand.
Dogs really can be man’s best friends, though it never hurts to be
extra prepared when dealing with these fluffy animals. If you or someone
you know has been attacked by another person’s dog and you are considering
filing a lawsuit, contact Knowles Law Firm, PLC. We have a lot of experience
representing people involved in dog attacks and are ready to help those
in similar situations.
Call us today for more information.