Emergency department workers generally report that dog bite cases often involve young children bit in the face. They are also reporting a change in the frequency of these attacks in recent months. In one study, medical professionals who dove into data about dog bites found that before the pandemic, the highest rates occurred in summer months. Post-pandemic, researchers report the number of dog bite injuries have almost tripled.
What has changed?
Since kids are not in school buildings, interactions with dogs in the neighborhood or with family and friends have increased in frequency. Another factor: dog adoptions have surged. The pandemic has led to more people working from home. This has led some to reconsider having a pet. As a result, dog adoptions have surged by 50% compared to rates prior to COVID lockdowns.
Pet owners and trainers know that a friendly pet requires training. This often includes exposure to lots of different types of people, including kids. Introducing a new pet to anyone is extremely difficult when we are all trying to maintain distance — potentially increasing the risk of more protective and aggressive dogs.
What does this mean?
The increased rate of interaction between dogs and children that resulted from the pandemic and the inability of kids to go to school led to a jump in dog bites. Families may need to take action to get the expenses that result from the bite covered if the bite was not from a dog that belongs to a friend, neighbor or other family member.
These injuries can range in severity from a scratch or bruise to deep lacerations, loss of limbs and potential for serious infections. The expense can quickly grow as the attack may result in a need for emergency medical care, surgical procedures, medical specialists and, in serious cases, a lifetime of medical care needs.