A bite from a dog can cause disfiguring injury, psychological disorders and infectious disease. Dog bites are often sudden and may be unpredictable.
Any dog has the potential to bite even without a prior history of aggression. That means that anyone who comes in contact with a dog at any time could potentially sustain a bite. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some people are at greater risk than others.
People with dogs
Most dog bites come from animals that the individual is familiar with. Having a dog in the home increases one’s risk for a dog bite, and the risk increases with the number of dogs that live in the home. That is not to say that everyone who lives with multiple dogs will experience a bite at some point, but it does increase the probability.
The risk of a bite from a dog is greater for children than in is for adults. According to Psychology Today, people under the age of 15 account for about 60% of the 350,000 to 400,000 who seek emergency care for a dog bite every year in the United States. It is not entirely clear why, but one theory is that children do not correctly interpret behavioral cues indicating the animal’s emotional state. A study found that less than 10% of children were able to correctly interpret a dog’s explicit threat and attack signals.
The same study found that only 29% of boys correctly identified fearful behavior in a dog compared to 41% of girls. Though there may not be a correlation, among adults men are at greater risk for dog bites than women.