There's been plenty of research regarding dog bites, and we've covered the issue ourselves in a series of posts discussing why dogs bite and how to prevent or respond to animal attacks. Any breed has the potential to attack, but one type of dog seems to bite more than any other - the family dog.
Researchers from the University of Colorado recently took a look at dog bites involving children 18 years old and younger who had been treated at the Children's Hospital in Denver between 2003 and 2008. All told, they dug into about 530 records.
What they found was surprising. Nearly 50 percent of the dogs involved in attacks were family dogs. Another 25-to-30 percent were pets familiar with the child.
A full 68 percent of the attacks involved children five years old and younger, most of whom had been left alone with the family pet. This information is relevant to anyone with a family pet and small children living in the house.
Rarely were these incidents sustained attacks. Many were an instinctual reaction spurred by roughhousing, surprise or fear on the part of the animal. For parents fearing the potential of such an incident, the best bet is to be present whenever your child is playing with or near a dog.
Even the gentlest family dog in the world will lash out if provoked.
- Younger children may be most vulnerable to dog bites when left alone -- even from a family pet, study finds (The Orlando Sentinel)