These tips to keep children safe near dogs, are just a precaution. Children & dogs get along just fine most of the time. But of course there are issues with uneducated children pulling tails, and a few tragic cases of dogs attacking children. Nearly all of these cases involve dogs who are left chained outside, unable to learn to socialise. Here are some helpers, from learning how to teach children how to respect a dog’s boundaries, to how to prevent dog bites and tragic dog attacks.
The Blue Dog offers information packs for parents and professionals, developed by a team of vets, dog behaviourists, paediatricians, child psychologists, teachers, artists and accidental prevention professionals. Half of all dog bites go unreported and their research indicates that in most cases, it is a known dog where the child misinterprets snarling for smiling. There is no evidence that particular breeds (ie. staffies or pit bulls) are more likely to bite, than others.
- Most dogs do not like to be kissed and cuddles, so don’t let your child do this. Some find it annoying, others find it threatening.
- Ensure that your dog has a safe den to go to, if he or she is feeling anxious or upset around crying babies or toddlers having tantrums.
- Teach your child never to wake a sleeping dog, nor take a food bowl away. Always feed pets when children are not around.
- Teach your child not to approach strange animals. Let animals come to you in the park, crouch down at a diagonal angle, so they don’t feel threatened. Dogs don’t like to be stared at, head-on.
- If you are pregnant, play sounds of babies crying in the background, to get canine friends used to it. It also helps to let them smell new blankets and baby clothing.
- No matter how docile your dog, never leave animals and children alone together, even for a second.
- Goes without saying: don’t leave dogs chained up in yards or without company. If you do this, then find someone who can adopt and give them the company they crave, and the ability to socialise with other beings. This is by far the main cause of dog attacks.
- Cat usually don’t get jealous, but they often like the warmth of a cot, so use baby gates to ensure felines don’t sleep on babies, to avoid crib death. Also don’t let other animals sleep with babies.
- Wash hands thoroughly after touching any pets, especially if you have reptiles, as they may carry salmonella. Don’t let babies touch any poo.