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Safety Tips for Children With Dogs

Did you know that over 50% of children in U.S. are likely to experience a dog bite before the age of 12?

Most dogs will generally get on well with children. Dogs are gentle with children and relish the attention children give them.

Care should however be taken since reactions of dogs are at times unpredictable. They may cause injury through bites or scratches.

Some dogs are very vicious and do not take to children well. They may be aggressive and violent and may cause serious harm. While children enjoy having the dog around, remember to be on the look-out for warning signs. Children should be taught some few basics to ensure that their interaction with the dog is safe as well as to avoid injuries or fatal consequences

Tips to keeps you children safe when they are around dogs

• Before you purchase a dog, consult a vet or a breeder on what breeds are best with children. Breeds of dogs are different in their characteristics e.g. bulldogs are known to be naturally gentle with children while Rottweilers require some training if they are to be left around children.

• Teach your child how to behave when they are with the dog. Discourage any form of teasing or rough play such as pulling the tail. A bad experience for the dog may cause him to retaliate or defend himself by being aggressive.

• Never leave a child unsupervised with a dog, especially if the child is young.

• Children should not startle the dog. A dog may become aggressive when startled. When approaching a dog when it is sleeping, do so from a safe distance.

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• Take the dog for obedience training to teach him how to act with children.

• Never run if a strange dog approaches. It is almost impossible to outrun a dog if he chases you. Even if you fear dogs, stay calm, stand attention and avoid looking the dog straight in the face.

Never approach a dog in these instances

- When the dog is eating

- If the dog is asleep

- If the dog is growling and the hair at the back of the neck is raised. This is an aggressive posture and show the dog is about to attack.

In addition children should learn not to try to pat or hug strange dogs no matter how docile the dog looks. If the dog is accompanied by his owner ask for permission to pat.

When patting a dog, it is best to do it from the side. Pat the dog gently, never ever pinch the dog!

Dogs may not be as excited as you are about the new baby. The dog may feel a bit left out since all the attention will be given to the baby. To avoid any conflict keep the baby away from the dog. After the first few days, you can introduce the dog to the baby by first using a shawl that had wrapped the baby to make the dog accustomed to the smell.

In case the child is bitten, wash the wound using plenty of water. Stop bleeding by applying pressure on the area. Take the child to hospital to get an anti-rabies shot and have the wound assessed further.

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