A young girl sits with her dog.

It's not the breed — any dog can bite

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A young girl sits with her dog.

Dog bites can happen regardless of the breed, so use caution around canines.

One of the most traumatizing accidents that can happen is being bitten or injured by man's best friend. Dog-related injuries can result in physical and emotional scars to the victim. For the dog, it can result in abandonment or euthanasia. While many interactions with dogs don't result in injury, most dog bites could be prevented by practicing responsible pet ownership.

Dog bite statistics

The following information was provided by State Farm® and the Insurance Information Institute (III):

  • Among children, the rate of dog bite injuries is highest for those 5 to 9-years-old.*
  • Liability claims related to dog bites and other dog-related injuries cost homeowners insurers over $1.12 billion in 2023.
  • State Farm alone paid over $205 million dollars for 3,530 dog bite and injury claims in 2023.
  • The number of dog bite claims nationwide increased from 17,597 in 2022 to 19,062 in 2023, according to an analysis of homeowners insurance data.

*Children should be carefully monitored around dogs — many dog bites occur from dogs considered otherwise friendly. Children should never be left unsupervised with a dog, even if the dog lives in the same house. Coupled with the record number of dogs adopted during the pandemic, these tips are more important than ever.

Why dogs bite

Dog bites rarely occur randomly or out of the blue. Even though they may seem unprovoked, dogs typically give warning signs before a bite occurs. Unfortunately, canine body language is very subtle, so these signs aren’t always the most obvious to the untrained eye. Lip licking, furrowed brows and yawning can all indicate that a dog is scared and could potentially bite. If you notice these behaviors, immediately give the dog some space. While dog bites happen for a variety of reasons, they’re usually a reaction to something — fear, surprise, pain, stress or frustration. Dogs may also bite to protect something valuable to them or to defend their territory.

What doesn’t cause a dog to bite is their breed. There’s no correlation between breed and dog bites despite the prevalence of dog breed discrimination in housing and insurance. Any dog can bite, so it’s important for every dog owner to understand the risks of dog bite injuries and how to help prevent them.

Dog bites and insurance

State Farm does not ask what breed of dog is owned when writing Homeowners or renters insurance. Just like humans, dogs are individuals. Every dog has a unique personality. While a dog's breed may dictate what the dog looks like, how a dog reacts to people or situations isn't guaranteed by breed or type. Most bites or serious injuries are a perfect storm of situation and circumstance. Responsible dog ownership and educating children and adults about how to safely interact with a dog will help reduce the chance of a dog bite or injury. Remember, under the right circumstances, any dog can bite.

Insurance is an important aspect to being a responsible dog owner. When renting a property make sure to have rental insurance because most landlords do not provide coverage should there be a dog bite incident. If you are a homeowner, talk to your insurance agent about what coverage is available under a standard homeowners policy related to dogs.

You may also want to consider the importance of your dog having insurance of their own. State Farm is working with Trupanion, a leader in high-quality insurance for cats and dogs, to help protect your pet from new and unexpected illnesses and injuries. Discover how a pet insurance policy can be there for your pet during their lifetime. Talk to a State Farm agent or get a free, no-obligation quote online today.

Terms and conditions do apply. We love informed decisions. See the Trupanion policy for full coverage details.

Pet insurance products are underwritten in the United States by American Pet Insurance Company and ZPIC Insurance Company, 6100-4th Ave. S, Seattle, WA 98108. Administered by Trupanion Managers USA, Inc. (CA license No. 0G22803, NPN 9588590). Terms and conditions apply, see full policy on Trupanion's website for details.

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, its subsidiaries and affiliates, neither offer nor are financially responsible for pet insurance products. State Farm is a separate entity and is not affiliated with Trupanion or American Pet Insurance.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

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