Epidemiology of dog bites: a Belgian experience of canine behaviour and public health concerns

Vet J. 2006 Nov;172(3):482-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2005.04.024. Epub 2005 Jul 1.


This paper reviews three studies that have been conducted in Belgium on dog bites on children. (1) A telephone study revealed that 22/1000 children <15 years of age were victims of dog bites annually. (2) Data on the characteristics of dog bites were collected prospectively over a period of 8.5 months in six hospital emergency departments. "Dangerous dogs" were not responsible for the majority of the accidents. In 67/100, incidents documented, the bites appeared to be triggered by an interaction of the child. Education appeared to be the preventive measure with the highest priority. (3) Among 22 child victims of dog bites, 12 had symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorders some seven months following the accident. Based on these local studies, several initiatives have been undertaken to favour both primary and secondary prevention measures. An appropriate psychological preventive intervention should be offered to all victims of dog bites.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal*
  • Belgium / epidemiology
  • Bites and Stings / epidemiology*
  • Bites and Stings / pathology
  • Bites and Stings / prevention & control
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dogs*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Public Health*