New Study: Missouri has highest rate of animal bites

Published: Nov. 10, 2017 at 10:43 PM CST
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A new study looked at health insurance to see what type of physical injury is most common in the 50 states and found in the show me state, animal bites are the most commonly reported physical accident that occurs.

In Missouri, in 2016, there were 2,700 cases of dog bites reported to medical insurance companies. Robin Honsa, a certified animal behavioral specialist, said biting is the result of animals, specifically dogs, being uncomfortable.

"The majority of dogs out there are not born that way. We tend to do things that make them that way. We put them in situations that they can't handle. They don't have opposable thumbs to grab your arm and say 'don't do this.' The only thing they have is their mouth, so when they are frightened, their only response is to bite," Honsa said.

So if you find yourself confronted with an aggressive dog, she recommends trying to back away slowly.

"The worst thing you can do is act scared because you are just going to feed into it. Most dogs though, you are better off just back away, don't look them in the eyes," Honsa said.

She added that looking a dog in the eye can cause added stress and intensify the situation. If the dog does attack you, the best thing to do is roll into a ball and protect your vital areas like face and chest.

Honsa said in the end, the best way to prevent your dog from becoming aggressive is to have good communication.

"I would like to see more people take an active roll in properly training their dogs. If you are going to spend the money to get one, spend the money to feed one, get it shots, why not invest in training for the dog so you and the dog both learn how to communicate," Honsa said.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention if you are bitten by a dog you should clean the wound and apply a clean bandage. You should then monitor the wound and see a doctor if the wound becomes swollen or red.