Dog Bites Down in 2018, Claims Increase Among Children Under 1 Year

Every year, more than 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs with 800,000 of these bites serious enough to require medical care.

Over the past year, the number of dog bite claims has decreased by nine percent and the amount paid has decreased by seven percent, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

However, the number of emergency room visits by children age 0-1 doubled from 1,794 visits in 2001 to 3,125 in 2018.

“Even the gentlest dog can bite if they are in pain, feel threatened or their signals of stress are misunderstood,” said Dr. John de Jong, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association.”These miscommunications result in most people being bitten by their own dog or a dog they know.”

Dog bites and other dog-related injuries accounted for nearly one-third of all homeowners’ liability claim dollars paid out in 2018, costing $675 million.

Education is the only way to reduce dog bite incidents in this country,. A recent study published in the “Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association” cited approximately two-thirds of pet owners are missing a small window between two and 14 weeks where socialization is crucial in the behavioral development of dogs. Proper socialization can be the difference between a solid human-animal bond and dogs being returned to shelters or destroyed.

The top five states with the highest number of dog bite claims are:

  1. California – 409 claims; claims paid $18.6
  2. Illinois – 288 claims; claims paid $10.3 million
  3. Ohio – 177 claims; claims paid $4.8 million
  4. Texas – 168 claims; claims paid $5.8 million
  5. Pennsylvania – 161 claims; claims paid $5.6 million