Dog Safety for Children

About 2.3 million children are bitten by dogs each year. Children are the most common victims of dog attacks, accounting for more than half of all dog bite victims. Practicing dog safety for children is critical. It is up to children’s parents and dog owners to take all necessary precautions to prevent a dog from attacking a child. A dog should never be left alone with a child unattended, no matter how familiar the dog and child are.

Greater Dog Attack Risk for Children

Children are at greater risk of being seriously injured by a dog because:

  • Children are smaller and damage may be more severe
  • Dogs may feel superior or dominant because of size
  • Children do not understand canine behavior patterns and may inadvertently provoke dogs
  • Children are often loud and energetic, and may frighten dogs
  • Many children are at the dog’s height, so injury is more likely to be inflicted on head and neck

Teaching Children about Dog Safety

Parents should teach dog safety for children even if there is not a dog in the family. Children that are knowledgeable about dogs are less likely to unintentionally provoke a dog, and will have a better concept of what to do if approached by an unfamiliar dog. Since most dog attacks on children occur in homes where there is a dog, parents of children with dogs should be sure to teach the children about what is acceptable behavior when dealing with the family dog.

Children should be taught the following tips about dog safety for children:

  • Avoid unknown dogs not on a leash
  • Ask owners before attempting to pet a dog
  • Never run or scream around a dog
  • Never make sudden moves toward a dog
  • Stand completely still and avoid eye contact if approached by an unknown dog
  • Never tease a dog or take away food or toys
  • Never pull on a dog or try to climb on a dog
  • Do not bother a dog while it is sleeping
  • Do not bother a dog when it is in a crate
  • Always be calm and confident when dealing with a dog

Dog Treatment for Child Safety

Although any dog is capable of attacking when provoked, dog owners can take precautions to reduce the likelihood of a dog bite. Dogs that are well exercised, fed, and cared for are less likely to attack when provoked than dogs that are anxious or hungry. Spaying or neutering dogs also reduces the propensity for aggression.

Other factors that will help prevent an attack on a child include:

  • Properly socializing the dog
  • Being aware of and avoiding situations that stress the dog
  • Training dogs to be calm
  • Paying attention to warning signs of aggression
  • Constantly supervising the child and dog during interaction
  • Keeping the dog on a leash when outside of the home
  • Carefully introducing the dog to unfamiliar children inside of the home-perhaps on a leash

 

 

Sources:

“Dog Bites.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 Oct 2013. Web. 10 Jan 2014. <http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/dog-bites/index.html>.”Dog Bite Prevention Tips for Parents, Kids and Dog Owners.” Doggone Safe. Doggone Safe, n.d. Web. 10 Jan 2014. <http://www.doggonesafe.com/dog_bite_prevention>.

“How to Avoid a Dog Bite.” The Humane Society of the United States. The Humane Society of the United States, 15 May 2013. Web. 10 Jan 2014. <http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/dogs/tips/avoid_dog_bites.html>.

“Teaching Children How to Prevent Dog Bites.” American Veterinary Medical Association. American Veterinary Medical Association, n.d. Web. 10 Jan 2014. <https://www.avma.org/public/Pages/Teaching-children-about-dog-bite-prevention.aspx.>