Dog bites are no laughing matter. A Center for Disease Control study reports that every year there are more than 4 million reported dog bites in the United States alone. While many of these do not require professional medical attention, there are certainly cases that result in serious injury or illness if the dog passes along germs from the bite. Professionals often use Dr. Ian Dunbar’s Dog Bite Scale to categorize bites into six different types with varying degrees of seriousness. For dog bite victims and their loved ones, it is important to know what category their bite falls into.
When a dog snaps at the air in front of a human or another dog, that is a level one bite. This type of bite actually has no contact with the skin, but is rather a warning from the biting dog. A level one snap like this often occurs when a dog is put into a situation where it is frightened or cornered and wants the human or dog causing this distress to back away.
At a level two bite, a dog’s teeth will make contact with a person’s skin and leave some redness or light bruising but does not break the skin. These bites, like level one, are a way for a dog to warn that there might be a more serious reaction coming if their antagonizer does not back away and de-escalate the situation. While this sort of bite causes very limited physical injury with essentially zero chance of germ passage, they can still cause trauma and instill lifelong fear in victims, especially young children. 81% of all dog bites fall under the level one or two categories.
A level three bite is when things start to become more serious. In this type of bite, the dog’s teeth break the victim’s skin and leave bloody marks behind. There are two subcategories within level three to differentiate between single bites and multiple bites, but if these bites are shallower than the length of the dog’s canine teeth, it falls into level three. These bites, while painful and traumatic, are not usually serious as far as physical injury goes. However, ey can transmit germs and diseases. As a result, it is best to seek medical attention after any dog bite that breaks the skin to ensure there is no chance of illness or infection.
In level four, a dog bites much harder, clamping down and going past the length of the canines, causing serious wounds and severe bruising. Sometimes the dog will clamp down and shake their head, causing increased tears in the victim’s skin. These bites are aggressive as the dog will be using most if not all of their strength. At this level, one of these bites could even kill a child.
Level five is simply an escalation of level four, with the victim suffering multiple bites of this extremely aggressive variety. This could easily put someone in the hospital and require extensive stitches or surgery. Dogs who bite like this are extremely dangerous and while any bites that break the skin should be reported to authorities, a level five should absolutely be documented as such a dog could very well attack again.
Dog bites can kill, and when this occurs it is considered a level six bite. These dogs are obviously extremely lethal and proper measures should be taken to ensure there are no other victims. While level six bites are frightening and serious, one can take a little comfort in knowing that over a thirteen-year period there were only 433 deaths attributed to dog bites. While this may seem like a large number, that is less than a tenth of one percent of all dog bites. According to the National Safety Council, a person’s odds of dying from a dog bite are 1 in 112,400.
Did You Suffer a Dog Bite?
If So, Call Grabb & Durando
Dog bites are serious and can be terrifying experiences, especially for young children. For more serious levels of bite, an owner should be accountable for their dog’s actions, which often are a result of negligence on the owner’s part. If you a bite victim, you should call right away as the statute of limitations for dog bites is shorter than for other types of personal injury cases. If you or a loved one are the victim of a serious dog bite, call Grabb & Durando at 520.222.2222.