Seven Facts on Young Dog Bite Victims

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Young dog bite victim facts – see full size info-graphic below

Many dog bites go unreported. But according to dog bites that are reported, young children, particularly under the age of nine are most at risk for dog bites. Most are bitten by a dog that they know. Most children are bitten while on the dog owner’s property. That suggests that while we may be cautious about strange dogs, we think home situations are much more safe than they actually are.

Alarmingly, in one study, many adults believe they can leave a four year old unsupervised with a dog. However, research indicates that children often engage in risky behavior with dogs. Yet, children might simply be curious and not know what they are doing is risky.

Nor can young children tell when a dog is afraid. Children around this age primarily look at the dog’s face to see how determine how the dog feeling, and predominantly focus on one just feature of the dog’s face. They do not look at the dog’s posture or anything else to read the more obvious signs of fear or anxiety in dogs.

Preventable Dog Bites to Children

One study looked at dog bite reported over a two year period in area within the United States with a population over 170,000. There was significant evidence that many of these bites could have been prevented had the children been supervised properly.

But supervision alone is not the answer. Adults – not just dog owners, but parents as well – need to know what kind of behavior to prevent. In this study almost half the bites to children under six years old were caused by the child interacting inappropriately with the dog, interacting with the dog while it was eating food or chewing on a toy, roughhousing, teasing and touching or moving the dog against its will.

It is up to parents and dog owner’s to learn the signs of stress in dogs, so that if a dog is anxious, they can act immediately to move the child away. Below, is how dog trainers can help with that. Children can also benefit by learning how to interpret dog behavior better, although there is no guarantee that the child will remember to consider how the dog is feeling.

If you know a parent of young children or know any dog owner’s, again please share this with them to help prevent unnecessary and traumatic dog bites to children.

Young dog bite victim facts

Seven Facts on Young Dog Bite Victims Under Six years Old

  1. Most are bitten by dogs they know
  2. Most are bitten on the dog owner’s property
  3. Almost half are bitten because of inappropriate behavior management on behalf of the child
  4. Young children are not able to recognize fear in dogs
  5. A child between the ages of two and five increases the risk of being bitten in the face
  6. Children frequently initiate interactions that are risky such as pulling dog’s tails, hair or paws
  7. Two thirds of parents reported believing it is safe to leave a four years old unsupervised with a dog in one study

Teaching children and adults how to appropriate interact with animals is important in preventing dog bites. Proper dog training and responsible ownership can be used to reduce the risk of dog bites

A Good Trainer Can Help You Prevent Dog Bites

People often think that a dog trainer can help you teach the dog to sit or walk nicely on a leash. But a good dog trainer can do much more. If your dog will ever be around children, you should consider a consultation with a trainer. Not only can a good dog trainer teach you how to keep your dog calm and respond to you consistently, but they also teach you:

  • What stress looks like in a dog.
  • How dog’s typically like to be interacted with.
  • How children can interact safely with your dog.
  • How to properly manage your dog in situations with children when direct supervision may not be possible.

If you know a parent of young children or know any dog owner’s, again please share this with them to help prevent unnecessary and traumatic dog bites to children.

You may also be interested in:

Dog and Toddler Safety: How to prevent bites

Treating Dog Aggression

Health and Your Mixed-breed Dog: Can Science Predict Future Problems?


Epidemiology and classification of dog bite injuries to the face: A prospective study of 108 patients

Interpretation of dog behavior by children and young adults

Dog Bite Risk: An Assessment of Child Temperament and Child-Dog Interactions

Cause, Setting and Ownership Analysis of Dog Bites in Bay County, Florida from 2009 to 2010

Dog Bites an Opportunity for Parent Education in the Pediatric Emergency Department


The Dog Aggression System Every Dog Owner Needs E-book

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