6 things you should teach your child about dogs
Kids love dogs. But, parents need to keep an eye on their interactions.
That’s because each year, 400,000 children are bitten by dogs and require medical attention. It may surprise you to know that children are most often bitten by familiar dogs in ordinary play. A child’s injury can also be severe—usually involving their head and neck.
What’s the best way to prevent dog bites? Here are six things to teach your child about interacting with dogs:
- Ask permission to pet a dog before doing so; let the dog sniff and get to know them
- Don’t play aggressively—no tug-of-war or wrestling
- Don’t bother a dog who is sleeping or eating
- Move calmly and slowly around them, especially if the dog is behaving in a threatening way, barking and growling
- If knocked over by a dog, curl up in a ball and protect your eyes and face until help comes
- Stay clear of service or comfort dogs in public places; they tend to be very protective of their owners
Experts also suggest that small children and dogs never be left alone.
“Unfortunately, any dog can unexpectedly bite,” says Alix McNulty, injury prevention coordinator for Advocate Children’s Hospital. “Teaching children to practice proper pet safety helps them enjoy positive experiences with animals. A bad experience can be traumatic.”
About the Author
Evonne Woloshyn, health enews contributor, is director of public affairs at Advocate Children's Hospital. Evonne began her career as an anchor and reporter in broadcast news. Over the past 20 years, she has worked in health care marketing in both Ohio and Illinois. Evonne loves to travel, spend time with family and is an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan!