Health risks to humans

Further information: Dog attack and Canine vector-borne disease Further information: Dog bite prevention In 2005, the WHO reported that 55,000 people died in Asia and Africa from rabies, a disease for which dogs are the most important vector.173

Citing a 2008 study, the U.S. Center for Disease Control estimated in 2015 that 4.5 million people in the USA are bitten by dogs each year.174 A 2015 study estimated that 1.8% of the U.S. population is bitten each year.175 In the 1980s and 1990s the US averaged 17 fatalities per year, while since 2007 this has increased to an average of 31.176 77% of dog bites are from the pet of family or friends, and 50% of attacks occur on the property of the dog's legal owner.176

A Colorado study found bites in children were less severe than bites in adults.177 The incidence of dog bites in the US is 12.9 per 10,000 inhabitants, but for boys aged 5 to 9, the incidence rate is 60.7 per 10,000. Moreover, children have a much higher chance to be bitten in the face or neck.178 Sharp claws with powerful muscles behind them can lacerate flesh in a scratch that can lead to serious infections.179

In the UK between 2003 and 2004, there were 5,868 dog attacks on humans, resulting in 5,770 working days lost in sick leave.180

In the United States, cats and dogs are a factor in more than 86,000 falls each year.181 It has been estimated around 2% of dog-related injuries treated in UK hospitals are domestic accidents. The same study found that while dog involvement in road traffic accidents was difficult to quantify, dog-associated road accidents involving injury more commonly involved two-wheeled vehicles.182

Toxocara canis (dog roundworm) eggs in dog feces can cause toxocariasis. In the United States, about 10,000 cases of Toxocara infection are reported in humans each year, and almost 14% of the U.S. population is infected.183 In Great Britain, 24% of soil samples taken from public parks contained T. canis eggs.184not in citation given Untreated toxocariasis can cause retinal damage and decreased vision.184 Dog feces can also contain hookworms that cause cutaneous larva migrans in humans.185186187188