Dogs can be fantastic pets, but they can also cause some serious problems if they aren’t friendly or feel threatened. Usually, a family pet will be welcoming to strangers and those around them. In most cases, dogs are friendly and predictable, too.

Unfortunately, there are some dogs that are not trained well or who become aggressive, which makes them more likely to bite or attack. Even a loving family pet can become aggressive if it’s hurt or has fallen ill, which is something to consider as you approach a frightened or growling dog you may or may not be familiar with.

Each year, homeowner’s insurers pay out around $797 million for liability claims related to dog-related injuries and bites, according to 2019 statistics from the Insurance Information Institute. The cost per claim has also risen by around 134% between 2003 and 2019.

Infections pose a threat to victims

Even if the bite itself isn’t very serious, there can be complications. Out of around 4.5 million dog bites that occur annually in the United States, approximately one out of five will end up getting infected. An infection can range from the treatable, which require a round or two of antibiotics, to severe. In severe cases, patients may require hospitalization for sepsis or other bloodborne illnesses.

Are some dogs more dangerous than others?

Interestingly, some dogs do pose a greater threat than others. Bites that resulted in complex wounds were 4.4 times more likely for cases involving pit bulls in comparison to other top-biting breeds. Dogs weighing between 66 and 100 pounds with a brachycephalic head shape were more likely to cause heavy tissue damage upon biting.

Not all dogs are bad, and not all dogs will bite. However, if you are bitten, remember that the owner should be held liable.