Dog Bite | Animal Behavior Expert Witness For Attorneys

Richard H. Polsky, Ph.D. CDBC
Los Angeles, California

“Bringing the science of animal behavior to attorneys”

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Statistics regarding dog bites & emergency room visits

Statistic listed below are taken from: Holmquist, L. and Elixhauser, A. Emergency Department Visits and Inpatient Stays Involving Dog Bites, 2008. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.November 2010.

  • The number of people admitted to the hospital because of dog bites grew by 86% from 1993 to 2008; in total there were 5,100 cases in 1993 compared with and 9,500 in 2008;
  • Males were more likely than females to seek medical attention in a hospital emergency room setting in 2008 because of a dog bite when compared with females;
  • An average of 866 people went to the hospital emergency room daily in 2008, and an average of 26 were admitted to hospital for dog bite injury;
  • In total, for the year 2008, there were 316,000 emergency room visits involving a dog bite, or 103.9 visits per 100,000 population;
  • Seniors and young children (especially those ages 5 to 9) were the dog bite victims most likely hospitalized in 2008;
  • People in rural areas made four times as many emergency department visits for dog bites compared with people in urban areas in 2008;
  • For the year 2008, almost half of those hospitalized for dob bite injury needed treatment for skin infection and 58% needed a procedure, such as stitches, skin grafts or wound debridement;
  • The average cost for a dog-bite hospitalization was $18,200 in 2008;
  • For every 100 patients presenting to the emergency department with a dog bite in 2008, 2.5% required admission, a lower rate than the 8% of all injured people who visit a hospital emergency room;
  • In 2008, dog-bite emergency department visits were highest in the Midwest and Northeast, 109.9 and 108.5 visits per 100,000 population, but lowest in the West ,93 visitsvisits per 100,000 population. Likewise, dog-bite hospitalizations were highest in the Northeast, 3.9 stays, and lowest in the West, 2.5 stays per 100,000 population;
  • The most common type of dog bite injuries requiring hospitalization in 2008 were skin and subcutaneous tissue infections and open wounds of the head;
  • The most common procedures performed to treat for dog bite injury in hospitals in 2008 were debridement of a wound, treatment for infection, and a suture of skin and subcutaneous tissue.


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