Can a Dog Bite Break a Bone?

    Many dogs are capable of generating significant pressure when they bite down. For example, a German Shepard’s bite force can reach levels of 238 pounds per square inch. With these statistics in mind, it should come as no surprise that dog attack victims suffer a range of injuries. These injuries may leave victims with various complications, including infections, diseases, nerve damage, psychological trauma, and more. It’s common to at least see some type of puncture wounds with dog bite injuries, but can dog bite break a bone? The answer may surprise you. Injured victims who have experienced this firsthand are already well aware of the bone-breaking capabilities of dog bites, and have experienced what are known as crush injuries. For these victims, the question is not whether dogs can break bones but how the victims can pursue compensation and justice for such serious injuries. 

    How Dog Bites Break Bones

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    Some dogs are more than capable of breaking bones. Almost every breed of dog imaginable can break some of the smaller, more fragile bones in the human body. For example, even if a relatively small dog bites your pinky finger with full force, there is a strong chance that you will suffer a fracture. That being said, certain breeds are much more likely to cause fractured bones than others. These are the dogs with the highest bite force, and examples include:

    • Rottweilers: These dogs are used in military and police applications for a reason. They have some of the strongest bites of any dog breed, and some dogs have recorded bites with a force of almost 330 pounds per square inch. It is worth mentioning that this is double the actual weight of the dog itself. Rottweilers have been specifically bred for powerful bites over many generations.
    • English Mastiffs: Seeing as English Mastiffs are some of the biggest dogs around, it should come as no surprise that this breed also has some of the most powerful jaws in the dog world. Believe it or not, this dog’s bite can generate a force of over 555 pounds per square inch. 
    • Dobermans: Another breed that is commonly used in police and military actions, Dobermans bring a respectable bite force to the table. Their jaws are capable of generating a force of up to 245 pounds per square inch. This is more than enough to break human bones. 
    • German Shepherds: Even casual fans of dogs are aware of the often-repeated statistic that German Shepherds can bite through steel. While this is actually a myth, this breed still generates tremendous force with its jaws – reaching levels of 238 pounds per square inch. This is one of the “classic” military dogs. 
    • American Bulldogs: American Bulldogs were bred specifically for maximum muscle mass and stockiness. Their bite force is tremendous – reaching levels of over 300 pounds per square inch. 
    • Labrador Retriever: The Labrador Retriever may not be as commonly associated with military applications as the aforementioned breeds, but this dog still has a very powerful bite. According to official statistics, its bite force reaches levels of about 230 pounds per square inch. This is certainly enough to shatter bones. 
    • Akita Inu: A Japanese breed, the Akita Inu has a surprisingly powerful bite, reaching levels of up to 400 pounds per square inch. Although the dog is aesthetically quite beautiful, one should not underestimate its potential for violence. Indeed, some organizations state that this breed has a tendency to attack other dogs and people due to its “obstinate” personality.
    • Cane Corso: The Cane Corso has one of the most powerful bites of any dog breed. When you see this breed with your own eyes, this should not come as a huge surprise. After all, the dog’s head is larger than the head of most people. Its jaws are insanely powerful, and some studies suggest that it is capable of generating a force of over 700 pounds per square inch. For reference, a US Navy steam boiler has a pressure of 800 pounds per square inch. 

    As you can see, some dogs have bite forces that are equivalent to the force generated by heavy machinery. If you are wondering whether dogs have the ability to break bones, just imagine putting your arm between a heavy piston and a solid object. Dogs are capable of doing insane levels of damage with their jaws. If you are bitten by some of the most powerful breeds, your bones will not just break – they may shatter completely. 

    Keep in mind that even the strongest bones in the body (such as the femur) could break when subjected to just 160 pounds of pressure. Of course, the tendency for a bone to break depends on numerous factors, such as bone density, overall health, age, and physical activity. That being said, even if you added 100 pounds per square inch, most attack dogs would be perfectly capable of meeting this threshold and breaking bones. 

    Now consider the fact that many human bones are much thinner and more fragile than the femur. For example, many bones in the human arm could break with about 100 pounds per square inch of pressure. In addition, younger people (like children) have smaller and more fragile bones, meaning that even a “playful” chomp from a dog could break their bones. Many dog owners give their pets bones to play with, and some of these bones once belonged to large, sturdy animals like cows. Given enough time, dogs will eventually chew straight through these bones and shatter them. This should give you a sense of their destructive potential. 

    Treatment for Broken Bones After Dog Bites

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    As previously noted, dog bites may completely shatter bones rather than simply breaking them cleanly. A fall or a straight impact may break your arm, but these injuries can heal with time because the fractures are clean and confined to only one or two ears on the bone. But when a powerful dog bites your arm, for example, it may shatter the bone in multiple places. Just consider the number of teeth impacting the bone in several different areas. Each of these teeth may cause individual fractures on the bone, turning the arm into a mess of bone fragments. These bones may be very difficult to treat with normal methods like casts. 

    Many victims of bone-breaking bite wounds are forced to get metal implants or entire bone replacements that can be incredibly painful and problematic later in life. These medical treatments may also be much more expensive in comparison, which is why it’s so important to get help from a qualified personal injury attorney and pursue a fair settlement. 

    Dogs Can Break Bones in Many Ways

    Finally, it’s worth mentioning that a dog attack can break bones in more ways than one. Although the bite force of a dog can certainly break bones, a dog may also break bones by knocking victims over. This is especially true with elderly victims. These individuals may have brittle and weak bones that easily shatter. When a dog jumps up at you and pushes you over, you might fall back onto concrete or another hard surface. This can easily break bones, including your hip. Hip fractures are especially problematic among senior citizens, and they can be fatal if certain complications occur. Hip fractures may also confine victims to wheelchairs or beds for the rest of their lives, severely affecting their quality of life. 

    Even young people can suffer serious fractures after being knocked over by aggressive dogs. When people try to break their falls, they often reach out with their arms and hands. After an impact with concrete or another hard surface, arms, hands, and wrists may fracture. These injuries can take many months to heal, and they may prevent victims from earning a living. Finally, a dog may knock you over and cause you to hit your head on the ground. This can result in a skull fracture or a traumatic brain injury, which can be one of the most severe injuries for victims. Some skull fractures cause bleeding in the brain that can be fatal if not treated immediately. 

    Where Can I Find a Qualified Dog Bite Attorney in Chicago?

    If you or your loved ones are a dog bite victims searching for an experienced personal injury attorney in Chicago, the law firm of Palermo Law Group is ready and waiting to assist you. We know how serious dog bites can be, and we can help victims of these savage attacks pursue justice and compensation in the most confident, efficient way possible. If you have suffered a broken bone from a dog bite and have had to pay medical bills as a result, you are fully entitled to hold the dog’s owners liable for your injuries. After you receive medical treatment for your injuries, your next step should be to book a consultation with us as soon as possible. During your consultation, we can discuss your unique situation – including the specific injuries you have sustained in the dog attack. From there, you can develop a solid action plan to pursue a settlement that reflects the true extent of your damages. Book your free consultation today. 




    Mario Palermo is the Founder and Lead Attorney at Palermo Law Group in Oak Brook, Illinois. For the past 26 years, he has worked tirelessly to help injury victims and their families in their times of need. He is a seasoned authority on civil litigation, and also a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, a prestigious group of trial lawyers who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. Mr. Palermo has been named a “Leading Lawyer” by his peers in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022.

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