Researchers of a new study have identified dog breeds that pose the highest risk of biting children. The study aims to provide parents with information that can help them decide what type of dog to own.
Dog Breeds Most Likely To Bite Children
In the study published in the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, Garth Essig, otolaryngologist at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center, and colleagues looked at 15 years' worth of dog-related facial trauma cases recorded by the Nationwide Children's Hospital and the University of Virginia Health System.
They also looked at dog bite papers from 1970 to investigate the risk of dog bite injuries in children, and the severity of the bite by breed, size, and head structure of the dog.
They found that pit bulls and mixed breed dogs pose the highest risk of biting children. They are also the ones that cause the most damage for bite.
"Injuries from Pitbull's and mixed breed dogs were both more frequent and more severe," the researchers wrote in their study.
Physical Characteristics Of Dogs That Tend To Bite Children
Essig and colleagues also found that physical characteristics may also be used to determine risk of biting for unknown or mixed dog breeds. Dogs with wide and short heads that weigh between 66 and 100 pounds tend to cause more severe damage.
"Because mixed breed dogs account for a significant portion of dog bites, and we often didn't know what type of dog was involved in these incidents, we looked at additional factors that may help predict bite tendency when breed is unknown like weight and head shape," Essig said.
Dog Bites In The United States
Figures from the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that there are about 4.7 million cases of dog bites in the United States per year, and the number is expected to rise. A 2018 study suggests incidents of dog bites may increase because of climate change.
Those who require treatment after dog bites are often children between 5 and 9 years old.
Young children are particularly vulnerable to dog bites because they often fail to notice the subtle signs that a dog may bite. Injuries range from simple lacerations to those that involve significant tissue loss that require grafting or other reconstructive surgery.