A behavioral analysis of dog bites to children

J Dev Behav Pediatr. 1994 Feb;15(1):44-52. doi: 10.1097/00004703-199402000-00008.


Approximately one million dog bites occur yearly in the United States, and 60% to 70% of these are to children. Although the majority of dog bites are not serious, some are disfiguring or, on rare occasions, fatal. Bites are disruptive and stressful but also are preventable. This paper reviews the epidemiology of dog bites, examines the conditions under which bites occur, and discusses behavioral factors related to the dog and to the child that determine whether a bite will occur. Dog bites then are compared with other childhood injuries, and strategies for intervening both before and after a dog bite occurs are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / psychology
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal*
  • Bites and Stings / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dogs / psychology*
  • Female
  • Human-Animal Bond*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Environment