Prisma Health has seen increase in patients in the emergency room due to animal bites. Lots of animals have the potential to bite humans, but most animal bites are caused by dogs or cats. Children make up the largest percentage of people bitten but it is important to remember that bites can happen to anyone. Most animal bites occurred when the animal provoked.
A dog or cat may bite when:
- Food is removed while they are eating.
- They are being teased.
- They are disturbed while sleeping.
- They are being petted or played with too much or too aggressively.
- They are afraid, in pain, stressed or hiding.
- They are protecting their puppies or kittens.
What about wild animal bites?
While most animal bites are caused by household pets, some bites are caused by a wild animal. Wild animals bite if they are being threatened or being protective. Often these bites happen in our own yard or other outdoor areas. An unprovoked bite from a raccoon, possum or squirrel may mean the animal is seriously ill and it is best to seek medical attention if you are bitten.
The resources below provide more information about protecting children from animal bites and what you can do as a pet owner to prevent a bite from happening.