Arizona had the most dog bite personal injury claims filed than any other state in 2015. Further, the cost of a dog-bite claim climbed 16 percent from last year. This is mostly due to higher medical expenses. These claims account for more than one-third of homeowner’s liability claims. About 4.5 million Americans are attached by dogs each year, mostly children. The average cost per claim nationally has risen 94 percent since 2003. Arizona leads the nation with claims averaging $56,654. This data comes from the Insurance Information Institute and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This means that most people who are bitten by dogs don’t make a claim. This is likely due to the dog being a family dog or a friend’s dog. In 2015, pit bulls contributed to 82% of the total recorded deaths from dog attacks. The combination of pit bulls and Rottweilers contributed to 91% of all bite-related fatalities.
So what can you do to help avoid getting bit by a dog? Here are some tips to help prevent dog attack injuries:
1. Pay attention to the dog’s body language. Always put a safe amount of space between yourself and a dog and respect the dog’s personal space. Never pet a dog without letting him see and sniff you first. If a dog is showing the following signs the dog is uncomfortable and may bite:
· Stiff tail
· Tensed body
· Intense stare
· Backing away
· Pulled back head and/or ears
2. Let sleeping dogs lie. Never disturb a dog while she’s eating, sleeping, chewing on a toy or caring for puppies. It’s never a good idea to approach an unfamiliar dog, especially one who’s confined in a car or tied up.
3. Dogs Don’t Like Hugs and Kisses. Teach your children not to kiss or a hug a dog on the face. Face-to-face contact and hugging the family dog are common causes of bites to the face. It’s always better to teach children to scratch the dog on the chest or the side of the neck.
Dog bite prevention week runs from May 15th to May 21st this year.
Sources: humanesociety.org, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention