Are Your Children In Harm’s Way With Dogs?

“My dog would NEVER bite anyone.” “I’m not a bad parent.” Are these things that you have ever said? Every pet parent hopes his or her dog would never bite someone, but accidents – and dog bites happen. You’re probably not a “bad parent” but you may be unwittingly putting your child in harm’s way simply by not watching how he or she is behaving around dogs.

Whether your child is interacting with the family dog or a stranger’s dog, it’s up to the parent to assure dog bite safety the child is safe and that he won’t get bitten by a dog.

Are Your Children In Harm’s Way With Dogs?

Here are things you may be doing that may unwittingly put your children in danger of a dog bite.

  1. Letting your child hug the dog. Some dogs may love to be hugged. Other dogs don’t like it. A dog’s neck is sensitive and it is an area that dogs in the wild need to protect; a child’s arms around his neck may feel like a threat and your dog may feel trapped and may bite because of it. If the child hugs the dog and puts his face near the dogs to get a kiss, the child might get bitten.
  2. Letting your child lie on top of a dog. Regardless of whether you have a tiny, lightweight child and a large breed dog, don’t let the child lie on top of the dog. Teach a child that he should sit next to the dog and pat him gently.
  3. Letting your child bother the dog while he’s eating or playing with his favorite toy. Don’t let a child stick his hands into the dog’s bowl. Even the friendliest of pets may bite at the intrusion of a hand into his dinner bowl. Be respectful of the dog who is eating and teach your child to stay away when he’s eating. Dogs need space and if they are moving their bodies to block the bowl, they are feeling nervous and could bite to protect his food. Don’t let your child grab a toy from the dog’s mouth – the dog should know the “drop it” command and drop the toy before the child attempts to pick it up. It is up to the parent to know whether the dog will share his toy because some toys she just might not want to share.
  4. Letting your child run up and pet a strange dog. It is good etiquette to never pet someone’s dog unless you ask if it’s all right and wait for that person’s permission. Be aware that some pet owners will say, “yes, you can pet my dog, he would NEVER bite.” It’s up to you as the parent to read the dog’s body language and see if she is receptive to a child petting her. If her ears are back, if she’s hiding behind her owner and if she’s licking her lips or panting, keep your child away – petting a stranger’s dog just isn’t worth the risk.
  5. Letting your child walk the dog alone. Depending on the age of the child, the size of the child and the dog and the training the dog has, this could be a recipe for disaster. The dog could get excited and drag the child or run away. The child may be pulled into traffic by an excited, and untrained dog. The dog may see another dog and dash toward it and the child may try to pull his dog away from the strange dog and get bitten in the process.

Dogs and children do go together, but it needs to be done responsibly. Parents need to always be on the lookout for any potential health hazards and keep the child safe and don’t put the dog in a situation where biting is his only way out.

About FIDO ~ There are many reasons a dog may bite, and it’s not always 100% preventable. In addition to financially protecting dog owners from dog bite claims, our Canine Liability Policy also covers other injuries to people, including scratches and fall injuries caused by dogs and injuries to other animals. Please contact us today for more information at (407) 865-7477, ext. 101.

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