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A collection of national and medical study-specific nonfatal and fatal dog bite injury-related statistics. Notably, each year, an American has a one in 50 chance of being bitten by a dog.1

Dog bite statistics

Homeowners insurers paid out $675 million in liability claims related to dog bites and other dog-related injuries in 2018.

Dog Bite Liability by Insurance Information Institute, 2019

The average cost per claim nationally has risen more than 103 percent from 2003 to 2018, due to increased medical costs as well as the size of settlements, judgments and jury awards given to plaintiffs.

Dog Bite Liability by Insurance Information Institute, 2019

Approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the United States. Nearly 1 out of 5 bites becomes infected.

Preventing Dog Bites, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, May 2015

In 2018, nearly 27,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery as a result of being bitten by dogs.

2018 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 2019

There was an 86% increase in dog bite-related hospitalization stays between 1993 and 2008 in the United States.

Emergency Department Visits and Inpatient Stays Involving Dog Bites, 2008 by Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), 2010

The average cost of a dog bite-related hospital stay was $18,200, about 50% higher than the average injury-related hospital stay.

Emergency Department Visits and Inpatient Stays Involving Dog Bites, 2008 by Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), 2010

There were 4 times as many dog bite-related ED visits and 3 times as many hospital stays in rural areas than in urban areas in 2008.

Emergency Department Visits and Inpatient Stays Involving Dog Bites, 2008 by Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), 2010

In 2008, Medicare and Medicaid combined paid for 37% of all dog bite-related hospitalization stays in the United States.

Emergency Department Visits and Inpatient Stays Involving Dog Bites, 2008 by Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), 2010

Adults with two or more dogs in the household are 5 times more likely to be bitten than those living without dogs in the home.

Dog bites: still a problem?, by Gilchrist J, Sacks JJ, White D, Kresnow MJ, Injury Prevention, 2008

Dog bites occur every 75 seconds in the United States. Each day, over 1,000 citizens need emergency medical care to treat these injuries.

Nonfatal Dog Bite-Related Injuries Treated in Hospital Emergency Departments - United States, 2001 by the CDC, 2003

Dog attack victims suffer over $1 billion in monetary losses annually. JAMA reports this estimate to be as high as $2 billion.

Dog Bites Recognized as Public Health Problem by R. Voelker, JAMA, 1997

Severe dog bite injury statistics

Our data were consistent with others, in that an operative intervention was more than 3 times as likely to be associated with a pit bull injury than with any other breed.

Characteristics of 1616 Consecutive Dog Bite Injuries at a Single Institution, by by Golinko et al., Clinical Pediatrics, July 2016

Our data revealed that pit bull breeds were more than 2.5 times as likely as other breeds to bite in multiple anatomical locations.

Characteristics of 1616 Consecutive Dog Bite Injuries at a Single Institution, by by Golinko et al., Clinical Pediatrics, July 2016

Most alarming is the observation that when attacks come from unfamiliar dogs, the pit bull was responsible for 60% and 63% of all injuries and ocular injuries, respectively.

Ocular Trauma From Dog Bites: Characterization, Associations, and Treatment Patterns at a Regional Level I Trauma Center Over 11 Years, by Prendes et al., Ophthalmic Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, June 2015

Of the more than 8 different breeds identified, one-third were caused by pit bull terriers and resulted in the highest rate of consultation (94%) and had 5 times the relative rate of surgical intervention.

Dog bites of the head and neck: an evaluation of a common pediatric trauma and associated treatment, by O'Brien et al., BS, American Journal of Otolaryngology, January–February, 2015

Unlike all other breeds, pit bull terriers were relatively more likely to attack an unknown individual (+31%), and without provocation (+48%).

Dog bites of the head and neck: an evaluation of a common pediatric trauma and associated treatment, by O'Brien et al., BS, American Journal of Otolaryngology, January–February, 2015

Although a number of dog breeds were identified, the largest group were pit bull terriers, whose resultant injuries were more severe and resulted from unprovoked, unknown dogs.

Dog bites of the head and neck: an evaluation of a common pediatric trauma and associated treatment, by O'Brien et al., BS, American Journal of Otolaryngology, January–February, 2015

In this series, dogs causing the injury were overwhelmingly familiar with the patient: 53% of dogs belonged to the family ... In our series (as in Philadelphia), Pit bulls were most commonly responsible.

Morbidity of pediatric dog bites: A case series at a level one pediatric trauma center, by Garvey et al., Journal of Pediatric Surgery, February 2015

Attacks by pit bulls are associated with higher morbidity rates, higher hospital charges, and a higher risk of death than are attacks by other breeds of dogs.

Mortality, Mauling, and Maiming by Vicious Dogs, by Bini et al., Annals of Surgery, April 2011

Dog bite-related fatality statistics

From 2005 to 2018, pit bulls killed 311 Americans, about one citizen every 16 days, versus rottweilers, which killed every 109 days.

14-Year U.S. Dog Bite Fatality Chart (2005 to 2018) by DogsBite.org, April 2019

Newborns, infants and toddlers, ages 0-2 years old, made up 27% of all dog bite fatality victims from 2005 to 2018. The highest age specific fatality rate is infants (< 1-year), accounting for 48% of all 0-2 victims.

14-Year U.S. Dog Bite Fatality Chart (2005 to 2018) - Victims by Age Groups by DogsBite.org, April 2019

During the 14-year period of 2005 to 2018, canines killed 61 infants (< 1-year). Pit bulls inflicted half of these infant deaths (30 of 61).

Discussion Notes - 2018 U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities by DogsBite.org, May 2019

Over the last 6 years (2013 to 2018), pit bulls inflicted 73% of fatal dog attacks (159 of 218). This is a 22% increase from an earlier period (2005 to 2012) when pit bulls inflicted 60% of all deaths (152 of 253).

Discussion Notes - 2018 U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities by DogsBite.org, May 2019 | View related graphic

In 2018, 78% (28 of 36) of dog bite fatality victims were female, the highest count on record. Of the 10 owner-directed fatal dog attacks in 2018, 80% killed women between the ages of 28 to 64 years.

Discussion Notes - 2018 U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities by DogsBite.org, May 2019

From 2015 to 2018, females comprised 53.8% of victims killed by pit bulls, a 39% rise from a previous period (2005 to 2009) of 38.8%.

Trends: 14 Years of U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities in 3 Periods (2005 to 2018), DogsBite.org, May 2019

From 2015 to 2018, persons ≥ 10-years old made up the majority of victims killed by dogs, 60%. Children (≤ 9-years old) made up 40%.

Trends: 14 Years of U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities in 3 Periods (2005 to 2018), DogsBite.org, May 2019

From 2005 to 2009, rescued or rehomed dogs only inflicted 2% of dog bite fatalities. This rose to 14.7% from 2015 to 2018, over a 600% rise.

Trends: 14 Years of U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities in 3 Periods (2005 to 2018), DogsBite.org, May 2019

From 2005 to 2017, family dogs inflicted 54% of all fatal attacks. 64% were perpetrated by pit bulls. Of the 284 fatal pit bull attacks, 52% involved killing a family or household member.

U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities: Breeds of Dogs Involved, Age Groups and Other Factors Over a 13-Year Period (2005 to 2017) by DogsBite.org, May 2018

In the 13-year data set, 54 cases involved a dog killing its primary owner. Pit bulls inflicted 63% of these deaths, over 8 times more than any other breed.

U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities: Breeds of Dogs Involved, Age Groups and Other Factors Over a 13-Year Period (2005 to 2017) by DogsBite.org, May 2018

Over the 13-year period, 47% of fatal attacks involved 2 or more dogs. This is a 57% rise from the government study years (1979 to 1994), when only 30% of deaths involved 2 or more dogs attacking.

U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities: Breeds of Dogs Involved, Age Groups and Other Factors Over a 13-Year Period (2005 to 2017) by DogsBite.org, May 2018

From 2005 to 2017, there were 97 fatal attacks involving 3 or more dogs. Death resulted 16 times more frequently when 2 or more pit bulls were involved than when the group of dogs only included 1 pit bull.

Discussion Notes - 2017 U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities by DogsBite.org, 2018

From 2005 to 2017, only 21% of all deaths resulted in criminal charges. Pit bulls were implicated in 75% of these criminal cases.

U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities: Breeds of Dogs Involved, Age Groups and Other Factors Over a 13-Year Period (2005 to 2017) by DogsBite.org, May 2018

By 2022, pit bulls are projected to maul 472 Americans to death since 1998, the year the CDC stopped collecting breed data after fatal attacks on humans, and over 545 Americans killed since 1980.

Fatalpitbullattacks.com, 2018, Nonprofits Urge CDC to Resume Tracking Richer Data Set for Children and Adults Disfigured, Maimed and Killed by Dogs, DogsBite.org, 2014

The data indicate that rottweilers and pit bull-type dogs accounted for 67% of human DBRF in the United States between 1997 and 1998. It is extremely unlikely that they accounted for anywhere near 60% of dogs in the United States during that same period and, thus, there appears to be a breed-specific problem with fatalities.

Breeds of Dogs Involved in Fatal Human Attacks in the United States Between 1979 and 1998, by Sacks JJ, Sinclair L, Gilchrist J, Golab GC and Lockwood R, J Am Vet Med Assoc, 2000 Sep 15;217(6):836-40.

Breed-specific law statistics

Jurisdictions in 50 countries regulate pit bulls and other dangerous dog breeds. In 39 of those countries, the regulation is a national-level law.

Estimated U.S. Cities, Counties and Military Facilities with Breed-Specific Laws by DogsBite.org, 2018

Over 1,000 U.S. cities have adopted breed-specific laws since the mid 1980s, just after pit bulls began leaking into the general population from the shadowy world of dogfighting.

Estimated U.S. Cities, Counties and Military Facilities with Breed-Specific Laws by DogsBite.org, 2018

Over 290 U.S. military bases governed by the U.S. Air Force, Air Force Space Command, U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps and Navy regulate dangerous dog breeds.

Estimated U.S. Cities, Counties and Military Facilities with Breed-Specific Laws by DogsBite.org, 2018

Citations
  1. Nonfatal Dog Bite-Related Injuries Treated in Hospital Emergency Departments - United States, 2001, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), 2003; 52(26): 605-610.