Dog bites are a danger to everyone, but the group who faces the most harm is children. Children face a risk of dog bites for a few reasons. First, they have not necessarily learned how to handle a dog or how to approach or avoid one they see walking around as a stray. Second, they're short and more likely to be overpowered if a dog jumps or snaps.
As a parent, the worst thing that you can imagine is your child in pain, and that's exactly what a dog bite would cause. How can you help you child avoid injury? Here are three tips.
1. Don't bother a dog when it's eating, drinking, taking care of pups or sleeping
One good thing to remember is to teach your child when it's appropriate to play with an animal. You should explain that it's important not to bother a dog when it's taking care of puppies, sleeping, drinking or eating. In these situations, it's more likely for the dog to snap or become aggressive due to defending itself or its babies. Sleeping dogs may be surprised by sudden contact and lash out.
2. Encourage children to keep their hands to themselves
This doesn't mean kids should never pet a dog, but it's wise to teach them to allow the dog to come to them. Reaching out puts a child at risk for bites to the hands and arms. Allowing a dog to come to you instead means it's likely not fearful and is interested in knowing you.
3. Teach body language
Teach your child what it means if a dog's ears press down, its tail is tucked or if it raises its lips. You want your child to understand when the dog is scared or becoming upset, so the situation can be deescalated.
These are a few tips to keep your child safe from dog bites. If a dog does bite, the owner can be held responsible, but these tips can help avoid a trip to the hospital.