Dog Bites & Children

What should I do if a dog bites my child?

With regards to dog bites, children between the ages of five and nine are the highest risk group for sustaining these types of injuries. Four hundred thousand children require medical treatment each year for dog bite injuries. Sixty to seventy-five percent of all injuries that are sustained when a dog bites children involve damage to the head or neck region. Statistics show that young boys are much more likely to sustain dog bite injuries than young girls.

Children are more likely to sustain dog bites than older people for a number of reasons. Children are often exposed to unknown dogs while playing at parks or in other’s homes. Children often lack cautionary judgment when approaching dogs and do not know when it is unsafe to approach a dog. Children do not often understand the appropriate ways to handle dogs and their actions can be misconstrued by canines who perceive children as a threat.

There are a number of possible reasons why a dog bites children. Most dogs who bite are acting out of fear or aggression. Fear can impel a dog to bite when they perceive human actions and body language as threatening. Given the nature of children’s play and energy levels, dogs are more likely to perceive these actions as a threat.

Why a Dog Bites

A dog bites children and other people when they are exposed to unknown places and situations or when they are tied up. A dog may also bite when they are resource guarding, meaning that they act aggressively when protecting their territory, guardians, or other valued tangibles such as food or toys.

There are many ways to avoid situations where a dog bites children. Parents and other adults can educate children about the appropriate ways to interact with canines. Children should be taught when not to interact with dogs. This includes unknown dogs, dogs who are acting sick or injured, chained up dogs, and dogs that are sleeping, tending to pups, eating, or playing with valued toys and treats. Children should be taught appropriate ways to interact with dogs and all other animals. Children should be supervised when interacting with canines.

Dog Bite Prevention

Potential dog bite victims can take several steps towards dog bite prevention. Precautionary measures are taken when in the presence of canines, especially those unfamiliar to you, can greatly reduce the chance that a dog will bite. The first step in dog bite prevention is to have some basic knowledge of canine behavior and communication. Learning to recognize canine body language can help because dogs will usually give some indication that they intend to bite.

Sleeping dogs, dogs that are eating or playing with toys, dogs that are chained up, dogs that are in an unknown environment, and dogs that appear to be fearful or overly confident are all more likely to bite a human being. Avoiding these situations, and teaching children to avoid these situations, is a crucial step towards dog bite prevention. Adults and children should avoid placing their faces close to unknown canines because it makes a bite easier to execute and dogs often perceive this personal invasion of space as a threat.


Dog owners are ultimately responsible when their dog bites children. Dog owners can take several steps to ensure that their dog doesn’t bite children. Obeying all leash, restraint, and confinement laws, properly socializing and training their canine, and supervising interactions that take place between their dog and others are the best ways for a dog owner to prevent their dog from acting aggressively towards others.

Dog bite injuries total billions of dollars every year in medical and insurance costs. More importantly, they compromise the well-being and health of humans and canines alike. Dog bite prevention is an essential step toward reducing the number of people injured from dog bites and the number of people held liable for their dog’s aggressive actions.

If a dog bites children, it is important to collect information about the incident for medical and legal purposes. Information about the dog, its owner, and all circumstances surrounding the dog bite accident should be collected. If a dog bites children, the victim may be eligible to seek compensation for their damages through a personal injury lawsuit.