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Dog bites are “ruff” for people and other pets

State Farm® releases top 10 states for dog-related injury claims

The increased stress, anxiety, and changes to their routine has resulted in anxious behavior in some dogs. Coupled with a record number of dogs adopted at the start of the pandemic, dog behavior experts expressed concern that this could increase dog bite incidents.

So how did pet owners do in 2021?

While dog-related injury claims increased slightly, the increase wasn’t as high as many feared. In 2021, State Farm paid nearly $162 million dollars for over 3,260 dog-related injury claims. The number of claims increased slightly by 2.3% compared to 2020 data, while the amount paid increased by 3%.

Top 10 states for State Farm dog-related claims in 2021


Number of claims

Claims paid

1. California


$23.0 million

2. Illinois


$16.6 million

3. Ohio


$6.8 million

4. Michigan


$8.3 million

5. Pennsylvania


$7.4 million

6. Texas


$5.1 million

7. New York


$9.5 million

8. Minnesota


$3.4 million

9. Georgia


$3.3 million

10. Arizona


$4.1 million

State Farm is a member of the National Dog Bite Prevention Week® (April 10-16,2022) Coalition. The insurer joins the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), Insurance Information Institute (Triple I), American Humane, and dog behavior expert Victoria Stilwell to draw attention to dog bites and ways to reduce injuries to people and pets.

Just like humans, dogs are individuals, and every dog has a unique personality. While a dogs’ breed may dictate how they look, how a dog reacts in a situation isn’t guaranteed by breed or type. It’s important to remember that even well-trained dogs can bite if they are put into the wrong situation. That is why State Farm does not ask about dog breed or type when providing homeowner, renters, or business insurance policies. Any dog can bite or cause injury, regardless of breed. Responsible pet ownership is key to reducing the risk.      

Reduce the Risk of Your Dog Biting: Providing the Basics

Owning a pet is a privilege. There are a few basic needs that all pet owners should be able to provide for the health and safety of pets and the people around them.

  • All dogs require food, clean water, and shelter. A frustrated dog that is hungry and uncomfortable is at a high risk to bite or attack people or animals.
  • Most dogs need exercise and play for physical and emotional stimulation. For the safety of not only your dog, but for others as well, always walk your dog on a leash.
  • Remind people to ask before reaching out and touching your dog. Don’t be afraid to say “my dog doesn’t want to be touched”.

Reduce the Risk of Your Dog Biting: Pay Attention to Your Pet

Accidents happen when people aren’t paying attention.

  • Be physically present with your dog when it is outside. A dog in the backyard can quickly jump over a fence or get loose if a gate is left opened.
  • If you are walking your dog, put your phone in your pocket and pay attention to oncoming people or other dogs.
  • Never leave a child alone with a dog, including the family pet. Your pet may react or startle at the fast movements of children playing, sounds of a baby crying, or the smell of food your toddler is snacking on.

Reduce the Risk of Your Dog Biting: Changes in Pet Health and Pain

Make sure your pet is healthy. Not all illnesses and injuries are obvious, and dogs are more likely to bite if they are sick or in pain. Routine visits to the vet may pick up on early signs of illness.

  • If your dog’s behavior suddenly changes, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with your vet and with a positive reinforcement dog trainer.
  • If your dog becomes injured, be aware that they may bite when handled so be cautious if you need to lift or move an injured dog.

If you don’t have a pet medical insurance policy in place to cover illness or injury, talk to your State Farm agent or go online to learn how a Trupanion policy can help with medical expenses.

About State Farm®:

For over 100 years, the mission of State Farm has been to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected and realize their dreams. State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of auto and home insurance in the United States. Its more than 19,400 agents and 67,000 employees serve over 91 million policies and accounts – including auto, fire, lifehealth, commercial policies and financial services accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for rentersbusiness ownersboats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 44 on the 2023 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit

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