Biting The Hand That Feeds

The number of admissions for dog-related injuries in English hospitals has increased by 5.2%. According to the Health and Social Care Information Centre’s latest data, of all the injuries caused by dog bites or strikes, 1 in 6 were inflicted on children under the age of 10. Of that number, 1 in 2 resulted in plastic surgery and 1 in 4 resulted in facial reconstruction.

The number of patients admitted to hospital, due to dog strikes or bites, for the period of May 2011 to April 2012, are as follows:

  • Total patients: 6,450
  • Patients under 10: 1,040
  • Patients under 10 requiring plastic surgery: 494
  • Patients under 10 requiring facial surgery: 278.

Those living in the North-East of England were the most likely to need hospital treatment due to a dog attack. For every 100,000 inhabitants, 21 were admitted (which came to 551 in total).Those who lived in London were the least likely to suffer a dog attack with only 7 admissions to every 100,000 inhabitants.

This rise in recorded injuries has led to calls for the government to address its regulations surrounding the control of dangerous dogs.

Dogs Trust, the most prominent dog welfare charity in the UK has also expressed their concern, making it clear that small children and dogs should always be supervised. They also believe that owners need to be held more responsible for the training and control of their pets and recommend compulsory microchipping, so reckless owners can be identified with greater ease.

This RSPCA believe that this increase in bite-related injuries has nothing to do with an increased aggression on dogs. Rather, the rise can be attributed to changing habits in human behaviour, when around the family pets.

Children like to treat their pets as their friends, often hugging and kissing them. This close facial contact can be extremely threatening to a dog and all children should be warned of the dangers, to avoid any misunderstanding and potential danger.

The RSPCA have published guidelines, displaying the kinds of body language a dog may adopt when uncomfortable. This may include dropped ears, low wagging of the tail, yawning and lip-licking. Children and dogs should never be left unattended and everyone should try to avoid approaching a dog, if they are eating, sleeping, in possession of a toy, injured, tired or hard of sight/hearing.

Harry Gross works for medicalsure.co.uk who are experts in finding discounts on your health insurance premium. He has 3 dogs, two labs and a beagle, but they are well trained.

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