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Injuries / May 11,2016

Dog Bites And Children – What To Know And How To Prevent

While dogs are well-known as excellent family pets, miscommunication and a lack of training can mean an otherwise friendly animal will become dangerous. That is why one of the best ways to prevent a dog bite is through education for pet owners and parents.

Unfortunately, children are most at risk of a dog attack. Children are often unable to read cues from dogs; children just see a dog, maybe one like their own, and reach to pet it. Dogs can take gestures toward their face as signs of aggression. As such, another major way to prevent dog bites is to teach children to approach dogs in a way that won’t be misunderstood as threatening.

Steps Pet Owners And Parents Can Take To Prevent Dog Bites

Pet owners should be careful to not allow children near their dogs unless the dog has been trained to be around strangers and children. This is especially important when toddlers are involved, as, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®), dogs find these small yet mobile humans to be “confusing, intimidating … or downright scary!” When scared, dogs may resort to their natural reflex which, unfortunately, may be to bite the thing scaring them.

Owners should also always keep dogs on a leash. If a dog is in an unfamiliar situation, the dog owner should monitor the dog to ensure that it is not overly frightened or anxious.

If parents find themselves in a situation where an unfamiliar dog is present, they should keep a close eye on their child and the dog. They should also keep children away from a dog’s food and water dishes. As children get older, parents can teach them how to properly approach dogs and other animals and show them what types of touch should be allowed (gentle petting, slow movements) and which may be dangerous (pulling a dog’s hair or ears, poking the dog, moving too quickly).

Those who are both parents and dog owners should take both types of precautions to prevent a dog bite from occurring in their own home.

A Resource For Dog Owners And Parents

For many more tips on how to prevent dog bites, check out this great ASPCA article on the topic. It addresses the issue along a timeline from before a child is born through the various stages of childhood. The article also explains how to train dogs and instruct children in ways that make dog bites much less likely to happen.

In The Event Of A Dog Bite, Seek Guidance

Sometimes, even exercising full caution is not enough, and a dog will bite. If you or your child have been hurt in such a situation, we would be happy to help you understand what legal options are available to you.

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