What You Need to Know About Dog Bite Injuries

What You Need to Know About Dog Bite Injuries

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.

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