If you had to guess what the biggest contributing factor to the severity of a dog bite is, you might assume that the size or weight of the dog that bites the human will determine the severity of the injury.

However, an in-depth examination of over a decade’s worth of dog bite data showed that that was not the case. The size and weight of the animal was not the factor most closely correlated with the severity of the wound. Instead, it was the location on the body of the injury that most often determined how serious it was.

Facial wounds are often shallow

Researchers found that dog bite wounds suffered to the face, in particular, were likely to be shallow wounds. This is good news because deeper and more severe lacerations can lend themselves to more disfiguring injuries. However, especially in young children, even shallow wounds could lead to permanent scarring without adequate care.

The upper extremities are at the highest risk of serious injury

When looking at what parts of the body were most likely to suffer serious or deep injuries in a dog bite attack, researchers found that lower extremity injuries were often shallow. However, bites to the upper extremities are often worse.

Overall, injuries to the hands were the most common dog bite injury. This is likely due to people raising their hands to defend themselves from a dog approaching them in an aggressive manner. However, in children, bites to the lower extremities were more common.

Serious dog bite injuries, whether they left you with reduced function in your hands or your child with a facial wound that needs reconstructive care, may justify either insurance claims or legal action against the dog’s owner to get the compensation you need for medical care and other expenses and damages.