Over 23,000 people have been admitted to hospital because of dog attacks in the last three years, new figures show.
Admissions rose by 5 per cent between 2015 and 2018, increasing by an average of 7,693 each year.
Overall there were 23,078 hospital admissions during the time period, with children and under-18's making up 21 per cent of that figure.
The figures were published by the Royal College of Surgeons (RSC), who suggested the increase in attacks could be due to a reluctance to get dog bites checked by a medic.
Professor Vivien Lees from the RSC said dog attacks were now becoming a "public health issue".
"It's worth remembering that even smaller, less intimidating breeds, such as those that have become more popular, are still capable of causing significant damage - particularly to babies," she said.
Lecturer in human-animal interaction at the University of Liverpool, Dr Carri Westgarth, said owners underestimated the chances of being bitten by their own dog, which is more likely than being attacked by a stranger's.
She added it was important for owners to read their dog's body language, including subtle warnings such as excessive lip licking.
"How people interact with dogs can be an influence, however bite risk can be increased by many other factors such as a dog's environment or genetics," she said.
The most popular dog in 2015 was a labrador, but in 2018 this had switched to the French bulldog.