Vicious Dog Snarling

Understanding the Dunbar Dog Bite Scale

Ronald S. Weiss, Attorney June 20, 2023

Being bitten by a dog can be a traumatic and stressful experience. Understanding the severity of a dog bite according to the Dunbar Dog Bite Scale is crucial when seeking the appropriate medical attention and obtaining the compensation you deserve. 

If you or someone you love has been bitten by a dog, we can help. With offices in West Bloomfield, Michigan, and Toledo, Ohio, Ron and Gerald Weiss handle dog bite cases throughout the two states. Contact Ronald S. Weiss, Attorney to get started.  

The Dunbar Dog Bite Scale

The Dunbar Dog Bite Scale is a method of categorizing the severity of a dog bite. It was developed by world-renowned dog behaviorist and trainer, Dr. Ian Dunbar. The scale is based on the severity of the bite and takes into consideration factors such as the force of the bite, the duration of the bite, and the location of the bite. The scale categorizes dog bites into six levels, ranging from Level 1, which is a nip or snap, to Level 6, which is a fatal bite. 

The Dunbar Dog Bite Scale is used by professionals in the dog training and behavior field as a tool to evaluate the nature of a dog bite. It is also used by veterinarians and animal control officers to assess and report dog bites.  

The scale is helpful in determining the appropriate level of response to a dog bite, which can range from a simple warning to euthanasia in extreme cases. Additionally, the scale is used to determine the level of training and behavior modification needed for the dog. 

Levels of the Dunbar Dog Bite Scale

The levels of the Dunbar Dog Bite Scale are as follows: 

Level 1 (Pre-Bite) 

This level of the Dunbar Dog Bite Scale refers to a situation where a dog shows signs of aggression, such as growling or barking, but does not make physical contact with the individual.   

Level 2 (Near-Bite)

A near-bite occurs when a dog makes physical contact with an individual with its mouth but does not break the skin. This level is still considered a warning sign and should be taken seriously.  

Level 3 (Skin Punctures)

A skin puncture occurs when the dog’s teeth break the skin but do not cause deep lacerations. This level of the Dunbar Dog Bite Scale requires immediate medical attention as there is a risk of infection. 

Level 4 (Single Bite With Deep Punctures)

A single bite with deep punctures is a more severe form of the previous level. This level of the Dunbar Dog Bite Scale can result in significant tissue damage and may require stitches or surgery.  

Level 5 (Multiple Bites With Deep Punctures)

This level of the Dunbar Dog Bite Scale refers to a situation where the dog bites multiple times, causing deep punctures and significant tissue damage.  

Level 6 (Death)

The most severe level of the Dunbar Dog Bite Scale is death. While rare, it is important to understand the potential risk of a dog bite.  

What to Do After a Dog Bite

If you have been bitten by someone else’s dog, there are several steps you should take to ensure your safety and protect your right to fair compensation. Here are six steps you should take after a dog bite: 

  1. Clean the wound. Thoroughly clean the wound with soap and warm water to help prevent infection. Apply a bandage or sterile dressing, if possible. 

  1. Seek medical attention. Even if the wound seems minor, seek medical attention to prevent infection and assess the severity of the bite. 

  1. Identify the dog. If possible, identify the dog and its owner. This information will need to be reported to animal control and could impact any legal action you choose to take. 

  1. Report the bite. Contact your local animal control agency to report the bite. This information is important for tracking and preventing future bites. 

  1. Gather information. Collect as much information as possible about the dog and the circumstances surrounding the bite. Take photos of the injury and the location where the bite occurred. 

  1. Consult with an attorney. Consider consulting with a personal injury attorney who specializes in dog bites. They can advise you on your legal options and potential for compensation. 

At Ronald S. Weiss, Attorney, we help victims of dog bites pursue a claim against the dog owner and fight for fair compensation.  

Get the Compensation You Deserve After a Dog Bite

With more than 85 years of combined legal experience, Ron and Gerald Weiss are committed to helping victims of dog bites recover the compensation they deserve. You can turn to our law firm for guidance and get the assistance you need in fighting for fair and full compensation in your case. Reach out today to get a free case evaluation.