Dogs are wonderful animals, but once in a while, they can unintentionally hurt a child, so it’s important to know the risks and how to minimize them.
Whether you are considering getting a dog, or just want to ensure that your children are as safe as possible when out and about, these tips should help. Here are four ways to keep children safe around dogs.
Dogs make great family pets, and children of all ages can help out with various tasks, but when it comes to walking your dog, make sure your child is of an appropriate age. A six-year-old, for example, may be able to maintain control of a tiny puppy, but if your dog is a decent weight or is a larger breed, it could easily run off and potentially injure your child.
Make sure that your child can fully cope with your dog before giving them the leash and letting them take charge. It’s also wise to make sure your child is old enough to know what to do if your dog doesn’t behave or tries to run away.
Every dog is different
If your child loves dogs, they may assume that they are all of a similar temperament. This can, in turn, make it more likely that your child will want to pat or stroke every dog it sees, which can be dangerous.
All dogs have different personality traits and so can react differently to situations. Talk to your child and explain to them that no two dogs are the same, so for their own safety, they must never make assumptions. On the other hand, you don’t want your child to be scared or intimidated by dogs, so you need to be careful about how you communicate this.
Ask the owners’ for permission
Before letting your children stroke or play with a dog, talk to the owners first. It is not only a respectful thing to do but is also the safest option. Their dog may be hungry, be taking personality-altering medication, or not be particularly enamored with kids regardless, so do the right thing and ask first.
The last thing any owner will want is to have to put their dog to sleep or be presented with a claim from a dog bite lawyer. Don’t make assumptions that every owner is ok with their dog being petted by strangers – many are not.
The dangers of stray dogs
Children need to understand the dangers of stray dogs. Many will bite or attack if they feel at all intimidated or under threat, so your kids must be told not to go near them. If you are passing a stray and it seems at all aggressive, or you feel something is not right, keep your children as far away as possible.
There may, of course, be no risk whatsoever, but you can never be too careful. Trusting your instincts and following your gut will help to keep your children safe.