Almost all kids love dogs. That's because, well, they're cute! And if you have a family dog, your child might love that dog because they grew up with it and know it well. However, it can be hard for kids to understand other dogs' body language. Here are some tips that will keep your kids and your dogs safe.
First, some facts:
- Half of all dog attacks involve kids under 12
- Babies who aren't being monitored around dogs are 370 times more likely to get bitten by that dog than adults
- 80% of dog bites that are taken to the emergency room are in kids under 15.
So. how do we prevent these things from happening? While we love dogs, dogs don't always love us. And it's not because they're mean, either! They simply get startled sometimes, or anxious. The reason kids experience more dog bites than adults is because while we can read dogs' body language, kids really can't. This is especially true in young kids.
To keep everyone safe, give your kids these tips. We'll even tell you how to say it:
- Don't surprise them: "When you want to pet Fido, make sure they know you're about to pet them. Sometimes, if you surprise a dog, they might get scared. Say 'hello' to them first and make sure they know you are going to pet them."
Don't reach for their mouth: "Even if Fido has something he shouldn't in his mouth, don't try to take it out. Let an adult know. And if you're going to pet Fido, make sure you don't reach for his mouth. If you want to give Fido a treat, just put it on the floor for him to eat."
Don't pull their tail: "Fido may wag his tail, but that doesn't mean he wants you pull it! Sometimes if you pull Fido's tail, he might get mad or scared."
Don't wrestle with Fido: "It's fun to wrestle with your cousins but Fido doesn't like it as much. Even if he wrestles with his dog friends, it doesn't mean he wants to wrestle with you."
These tips can never end. You can tailor them to dogs you know, too, if you're sure of your dogs' habits or neighborhood dogs. And remember, always monitor your dogs and kids. Even if you know your child or your dog well, you'll want to make sure to keep an eye out. Better safe than sorry!