Dogs and Kids - Keeping Both Safe!
Dogs! I love dogs, and I’m certainly not alone - almost everyone I know has a dog that they treat like family. After all, what is better than coming home to a wagging tail, a cold nose and a loving soul? One thing that could be better would be to never again hear about a child (or adult) being bitten by a dog, especially their own family pet.
Children are bitten more often than adults, and they will probably be bitten on the face. Why? Picture a small child standing in front of a large dog and you’ll see that they are “face to face,” or the child grabs the dog around the head and neck to hug it; a child will pick up a smaller dog and hug it, usually holding it near their face.
Station House BSL
- Understand that dogs do not think and reason like we do. Dogs don’t do things out of meanness, revenge or spite… those are human qualities, not dog qualities. It is a mistake to expect an animal to react, reason or think like a human.
- If you’re considering getting a dog, get advice from a veterinarian. Be sure to get a dog that is suited to your lifestyle. Do you have small children? A fenced yard? A small apartment? Do you have time to exercise an energy-packed retriever or should you get a more laid-back breed? Too often people pick dogs based on “looks” rather than how suited the breed is for the human’s lifestyle or home.
- Every day on social media people post cute pictures of children sitting, crawling, standing or lying on top of a dog. Worse, I’ve seen videos of toddlers tugging on a toy or a bone that the dog is chewing on, or playing in the dog’s food - I guess the parent is showing how sweet the dog acts with the toddler. It may be cute, but it is dangerous. I don’t care what kind of dog you have or how sweet it is, you are inviting a dog bite when letting a child interact that way with any dog.
- Teach children how to behave around dogs. Screaming, fighting, running and throwing things can upset or frighten a dog; the dog reacts out of fear (or in self-defense!) and someone gets bitten.
- Teach children how to treat dogs and other animals. Grabbing a dog’s head, pulling its ears or fur, kicking or hitting it is asking for trouble. Rushing up to a dog, especially an unfamiliar dog, is dangerous. Children should act calmly and quietly, be gentle, and never place their head or hand near a dog’s mouth or head.
- Make sure your dog is healthy. A dog who is sick or injured is more likely to bite. I read a story of a Golden Retriever, perhaps the gentlest of all dog breeds, who bit a toddler. The child was playing with the dog, pulling its ears and hugging it like always when the dog bit. Just one quick bite, and it let go. 28 stitches were needed to close the wound. The parents put the dog down; a necropsy showed a severe ear infection in both of the dog’s ears, so severe in fact, the ears were oozing blood.
Dogs are a big part of our lives and they are a pleasure to have around - we should do everything possible to keep them, and our children, safe and happy. Please, follow this link and learn more about how you can help make that happen.