There is limited official information about man’s best friend in Norway. No one knows exactly how many hundreds there are, and the estimate from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health that 5,000 are bitten each year is both old and out of date.
– There is a need for a new estimate of how many dog bites lead to a doctor’s visit, says Helena Niemi Eide, who is a doctor at the Department of Infection Control and Preparedness at the Institute of Public Health.
But the Directorate of Health has a statistic called the Municipal Patient and User Register (KPR). Here it appears that the number of patients reported treated for bite injuries from animals at GPs and emergency rooms was 15,619 cases in 2021.
These numbers also include bites from humans, but these make up a very small proportion of the numbers.
– According to a study at the Oslo emergency room from the end of the 90s, 76 percent of bite injuries at the emergency room were due to dog bites, says Eide to TV 2.
Based on that study, it means that around 11,000 people have seen a doctor for dog bites.
According to the statistics from KPR, all types of bite injuries are distributed as follows:
Most bite injuries were registered in Viken last year with 3,921 cases.
– The vast majority of these cases are considered superficial. But it is registered because the patient himself, for safety’s sake, wants to see a doctor and get a tetanus shot, says communications advisor Anne Livø Buvik at the Norwegian Kennel Club (NKK).
According to figures from the Norwegian Police Directorate, no people have been killed by dogs in Norway in the last 20 years. Last summer, a child of one and a half years was killed by a rottweiler in Brumunddal. Now the boy’s grandmother is on trial in the Eastern Inland District Court for negligently causing the death of another. She denies criminal guilt.
The Norwegian Kennel Club believes that it is extremely rare for dogs to bite in such a way that it leads to serious injuries.
– The dog is a predator that has lived with us for at least 20,000 years, and has been and is a useful partner and friend. Dogs make a contribution to society in a number of areas, many of which outweigh the damage they can cause, Buvik believes.
There are probably between 500,000 and 600,000 dogs in Norway, and fortunately it is among the rarities that people are seriously injured by dogs.
– The fact that someone tries to separate dogs that are fighting is the most common reason for people being bitten, says the communications advisor at NKK.
She reminds people that people must respect living animals and familiarize themselves with behavioral traits and signals.
– It is very rare that a dog bites without warning. But there can always be cases of animals with behavioral disorders. These are aggressive because they are scared, and can thus bite in stressful situations, says Buvik.
There are no statistics on how many dogs are euthanized due to biting or other unwanted incidents.
– Most dog owners are very responsible and take responsibility for killing their dogs without an order from the police. They don’t want to live with the discomfort that their dog could hurt someone, says Buvik.
The American Veterinary Medical Foundation writes that in the United States, an estimated 4.5 million people are bitten each year. In Norway, no one can answer which dog breeds bite the most.
According to the website dogbites.org is the pit bull the dog that kills the most people in the US through its bite. In the period from 2005 to 2017, 284 people have been killed by this breed. According to the Norwegian Kennel Club, the pit bull is not a recognized breed of dog and is anyway illegal in Norway.