Living with dogs, especially when you have kids at home, can be beneficial. It helps them learn about responsibility. It teaches them how to take care of another living being. It makes them learn what unconditional love is all about. But while it indeed has benefits, having kids grow up with dogs has its disadvantages too. It can be dangerous.
Dog bites are one of the most common things that happen when children are left unattended with dogs. And according to the British Medical Journal, dog bites to children are more dangerous because they are most likely to be to the head and to the face. Most dog bite fatalities involving kids are when the victim bleeds to death because the carotid artery in the neck is severed.
In an interview with BBC, animal behaviorist Ed Adams said, “Dogs are living creatures that think, feel and get frightened just like us. If they’re scared or worried or feel trapped in a corner it can be a trigger. Owning a dog is wonderful and rewarding, but remember even the smallest, cutest and cuddliest dog can bite if they feel they have no other options or are provoked.
“The majority of bites happen in the home with family dogs or with dogs that are well known. Even though you might know a dog, and think that they would never hurt anyone, you still need to take steps to ensure that your children are safe.”
Having your kid grow up with a dog is a process that needs you to take a lot of precautionary measures. Here are some safety tips for parents to keep in mind if they have children living with dogs:
Safety Tips for Kids Living with Dogs
1. Never leave your dog and your child together unattended.
This is the number one rule. Never ever leave your child together with your pet with nobody there to watch over them. We can get too busy especially now that most of us work from home, but if possible, always keep your child within arm’s reach even if there’s not a dog around; Always keep them in your line of sight.
2. Do not allow your child to approach your dog while the latter is sleeping.
Just like us humans, dogs get startled easily when they are from a deep sleep. And you know what happens if they get startled. So if it’s feasible, give your dog a place to sleep where your kids cannot walk or crawl up to them and awake them.
3. Do not let your child hit your dog.
Teach your kids to treat your pet with kindness, and that includes never throwing toys at them, not sitting on them, and not hitting them. Educate them that dogs are also a living being and that they should be taken care of instead of being played with. And sitting on dogs might look like a picture-perfect scene, but in reality, it’s not a good scenario. Your child can get bit; your dog can be injured.
4. Do not allow your kid to hug a dog.
You see a lot of photos of kids hugging dogs, what with its heart-melting vibe. But this is how most kids get bit. So teach your kid to ask permission first before touching your pet and remind them not to ever hug the dog. Most dogs find hugging an act of aggression and they will react accordingly.
5. Do not have them run with dogs.
Running seems to be the best activity for dogs and your kid, but this is actually dangerous for them. When kids run, dogs love to chase. So teach your kid that it is always safer to walk when there’s a dog around. Also, be there during all these playful times. Having an adult around keeps them from harm’s way.
If you want to get a dog for your kid, it is best to take some things into consideration. This includes the size of the dog, the age of your kid, whether your house is dog proof, and the breed of the dog. For the latter, we prepared an article for you on which breeds are best for kids. Read it here.