Facts & Figures About Dog Attacks

When a person is attacked by a dog, one of the first questions that can go through your mind is “Why me?” Part of this thought process is that the attack was a unique, single event and not an every day occurrence. Unfortunately, dog attacks are very common and happen every day.

There are more than 52,000,000 dogs in the United States alone. Approximately one-third of all homes have a dog as a pet. Based on how many dogs share our lives and our living space, it should not be surprising that there are so many dog attacks each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Ga., there are approximately 800,000 dog bites each year that require medical attention. Even more amazing is the fact that 334,000 are severe enough to warrant treatment in a hospital.

Breaking these numbers into smaller increments allows one to really appreciate their magnitude. There are 2,400 dog attacks every day, 100 each hour or one every 36 seconds. While these facts do not diminish any one person’s injuries, it does make the victim realize that the experience is not isolated, and certainly not unique.

More than 50 percent of all dog bite victims are children. While only 12 percent of adults require medical treatment, 26 percent of all children need to go to the emergency room or see a doctor. The most likely place for the attack to occur is in the home of the victim. The second most likely place is at the home of a friend of the victim. Seventy-seven percent of biting dogs are owned by the victim’s family, a relative or a friend of the family.

According to the CDC, dog bites are a greater health problem for children than measles, mumps and whooping cough combined. They are more common than injuries from bike accidents, playground injuries, mopeds, skateboards or ATVs. Dog bite treatments cost more than a billion dollars each year. The most common victims are boys ages 5 to 9, and children in general are most frequently bit in the face, neck and head.

So what does all of this information tell us? It means that there is no reason to think that a dog attack is a unique, crazy act of fate or any kind of a punishment. Dog bites are not unusual and can happen to anyone. And they do happen each and every day!