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Dog Bite Injury Statistics

Dogs in the United States and especially the state of Illinois are unfortunately involved in far too many incidents of dog bites. The dog bite injury statistics around them are alarming, as well as upsetting. Most dog bites result in minor injuries, but some may result in serious injuries, and possibly long-term harm and in some cases, death.  Illinois dog bite laws allow owners to be held responsible for any injuries caused by their dogs.

Dog bites can result in severe injuries, especially if the victims are vulnerable, like children or the elderly. In fact, children constitute some of the most frequent victims of dog bites across Illinois and the United States. The kinds of injuries that can result in a typical dog bite include nerve damage, puncture wounds, and scarring.

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about dog bites and the statistics around them.

What breed of dog bites most often?

Dogs that bite the most often:

  • Chihuahua
  • Bulldog
  • Pit Bull
  • German Shepherd
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Bull Terrier
  • Pekingese
  • Papillion

How many dog bites are there a year?

According to the Canine Journal, there are over 4.5 million dog bites each year

Which dog has the strongest bite force?

Dog bite force is measured in pounds per square inch, also known as PSI. It is not easy to say exactly which dog breed has the strongest bit force. It will vary according to breed and the circumstances and upbringing of the dog. Most lists of the top ten dogs by bite force will look something like this:

  • Dutch Shepherd – Bite Force = 224 PSI
  • American Pit Bull – Bite Force = 235 PSI
  • German Shepherd – Bite Force = 238 PSI
  • Doberman – Bite Force = 245 PSI
  • American Bull Dog – Bite Force = 305 PSI
  • African Wild Dog – Bite Force = 317 PSI
  • Rottweiler – Bite Force = 328 PSI
  • Wolfdog – Bite Force = 406 PSI
  • English Mastiff – Bite Force – 556 PSI
  • Kangal – Bite Force = 743 PSI

What do you do when a dog bites you?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, germs can be spread from even the simplest bites or scratches, even if the wound seems insignificant.

If a bite from a dog occurs, you should—

  • Wash wounds with warm soapy water immediately.
  • Seek medical attention:
    • If you don’t know if the dog has been vaccinated against rabies
    • If the dog appears sick or is acting strangely
    • If the wound is serious (uncontrolled bleeding, loss of function, extreme pain, muscle or bone exposure, etc.)
    • If the wound becomes red, painful, warm or swollen, or if you develop a fever
    • If it has been more than 5 years since your last tetanus shot
    • If you have any concerns about your or your child’s health
  • Report the bite to your local animal control or health department.
    • If possible, contact the owner and ensure the animal has a current rabies vaccination. You will need the rabies vaccine license number, name of the veterinarian that administered the vaccine, and the owner’s name, address, and phone number.
  • Due to the risk of rabies, ensure that the dog is seen by a veterinarian and contact your local health department if it becomes sick or dies within 10 days of the bite.

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