Dog bites in a U.S. county: age, body part and breed in paediatric dog bites

Acta Paediatr. 2018 May;107(5):893-899. doi: 10.1111/apa.14218. Epub 2018 Feb 5.


Aim: To compare characteristics of gender, age, body part and breed in dog bites.

Methods: We reviewed 14 956 dog bites (4195 paediatric) reported to the Allegheny County Health Department, USA, between 2007 and 2015. Using predefined age groups, we performed linear regression to assess for subject age and bite frequency and used binary logistic regression to evaluate for differences in gender and body part. We used chi-squared test with Bonferroni correction to evaluate for differences in reported breeds with age.

Results: There was a negative correlation (-0.80, r2 = 0.64) between age and bite frequency. Children 0-3 years had a higher odds ratio (OR) of bites to the face [21.12, 95% confidence interval (CI): 17.61-25.33] and a lower OR of bites to the upper (OR: 0.14, 95% CI: 0.12-0.18) and lower (OR: 0.19, 95% CI: 0.14-0.27) extremities. 'Pit bulls' accounted for 27.2% of dog bites and were more common in children 13-18 years (p < 0.01). Shih-Tzu bites were more common in children three years of age and younger (p < 0.01).

Conclusion: Dog bites occur with higher frequency at younger ages, and head and neck injuries are more common in younger children. Pit bull bites are more common in adolescents and Shih-Tzu bites more common in younger children.

Keywords: Bite; Canine; Child; Dog; Paediatric.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Bites and Stings / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pennsylvania / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult