An Australian girl could lose her arm after she was savaged by her family's pet dog when it mistook her for an intruder in her rural home.

The Northern Territory News reports the 12-year-old girl from Darwin in Australia's Northern Territory suffered deep puncture wounds and cuts to her right arm in the attack.

She had to undergo emergency surgery and skin grafts to the injuries. But doctors say she is not in the clear yet, with fears the wounds could become infected — and if they do, they could be forced to amputate her limb.

The girl had walked home from school with her brother, but when they arrived they could not find their keys to get in the house. The dog — believed to be a bull mastiff/great dane mix — was waiting inside the house but turned on the girl as she attempted to climb through a window.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare statistics reveal the country's Northern Territory has the highest rate of hospitalizations from dog-related injuries in the country.

Click here for more on this story from news.com.au.