6 things you should teach your child about dogs

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.”

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  1. “Stay clear of service or comfort dogs in public places; they tend to be very protective of their owners”

    Where do you people come up with these horrible bits of advice? For pity’s sake, a service dog is the *least* likely to bite. They are carefully screened in advance for temperament, then the go through a rigorous training process in order to be able to assist their human in all types of surroundings, including and especially around kids. Yes, it’s true, you shouldn’t bother a working dog, but that’s because you distract them from their job, not because they’re going to bite you. Just what we need is to teach kids to be afraid of service dogs!

    • I can only assume Dienne has done extensive research before posting her comment… Or probably none. Service dogs are protective of their owners. Just because they went through training doesnt mean if they think their owner is in danger they wont bite. They may, that is the point! You dont know!

  2. Felicia Montesarchio March 12, 2018 at 2:40 pm · Reply

    Never approach a dog from behind or pet from behind. If the dog can’t see you, you are a threat.

About the Author

Evonne Woloshyn
Evonne Woloshyn

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!