A study published in the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology came to the conclusion that pitbulls and mixed breed dogs have the highest risk of biting and causing the most damage per bite. In addition, dogs with short heads and wide heads weighing between 66 and 100 pounds were predisposed to causing the most damage and have the highest risk of biting.
The scientists wanted to find out which dogs presented the most danger to children. Of course, the fact that they identified mixed breed dogs is a problem. Mixed breed dogs could be any type of dog. They have no identifiable appearance. Therefore they looked at additional factors to help predict a tendency to bite which is why they specify dogs weighing between 66 and 100 pounds with the head shape referred to.
They reviewed 15 years of dog-related facial trauma coming out of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the University of Virginia Health System. They referred to the extent of the bite wound and created a “damage severity scale”.
They also referred to previous literature on dog bites which reported the breed and this information was cross-referenced to hospital data to determine the relative risk of biting and the average amount of damage of the bites.
The objective was to inform parents to help them figure out the risk to their children and to also help them to select an appropriate dog who does well with the family’s children.
According to CDC and Prevention, almost 5 million people in the US are bitten by dogs every year. Twenty percent require medical attention. Most of these people are children between 5-9 years of age.
Kids are vulnerable to dog bites because they can’t pick up subtle signs from the dog that he or she might bite. No doubt too they are untrained or lack the skills to relate to dogs in such a way which minimises being bitten.
As children learn from their parents through observation, it’s important for parents to provide a good model in their interactions with the family dog. Risky interactions and confrontational behaviour should be avoided by parents.
Dog bites most often occur when a child approaches a resting dog. Dog should be able to rest away from playing children.
They suggest putting a barrier, if appropriate, between playing children and the family dog. This is particularly important for toddlers because they engage in erratic and unpredictable behaviour which may frighten a dog causing him or her to attack.
Parents should teach children to leave resting dogs alone and to avoid dogs’ beds, crates and other resting places. Parents should clearly delineate dog spaces versus childk spaces.
When a dog is eating children should be taught not to approach touch or otherwise interact with the dog. Therefore special areas should be provided for dogs to eat away from children playing and running. When giving a dog treats it should be done away from child play areas.
They also recommend that if a dog takes away a child’s toy or food, the child should not try and retrieve it but to seek assistance from their parent.