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Age-related changes in the propensity of dogs to bite
2013-08, Messam, Locksley L. McV., Kass, Philip H., Chomel, BB, Hart, Lynette A.
This retrospective cohort study was aimed at describing the effects of age at acquisition, age, and duration of ownership of dogs on the risk of (1) bites during play and (2) non-play bites to humans. Data were collected on 110 dogs that had bitten during play with a person, 161 dogs that had bitten outside of play and 951 non-biting dogs from veterinary clients in Kingston (KGN), Jamaica and San Francisco (SF), USA. Modified Poisson regression was employed to model the relationships of both types of bites to each variable separately. Effects of the variables on dog bite risk (1) during and (2) outside of play with the dog, differed from each other and by type of bite. Effects varied with the dog's age and age-related associations were strongest in dogs younger than 1 year old. Ages at acquisition of dogs at highest risk for bites during play were substantially lower than those at risk for non-play bites. Ages and durations of ownership of dogs at highest risk for bites during play were also lower than those of dogs at highest risk for non-play bites. The propensity of a dog to bite changes as it ages and relationships between dog bites occurring during and outside of play and the dog's age at acquisition, current age, and duration of ownership, differ from each other.