From nips to attacks, dog bites are a serious problem. Each year approximately half a million children are brought for medical care due to dog bites. Most bites are not from stray dogs, but from dogs that are familiar pets or neighbor’s pets.
Children must be taught how to behave around dogs. As young as toddler age, they need to know not to approach strange dogs. Children need to ask permission from an owner to pet a dog. Allow the dog to sniff a closed hand, then pet the dog from shoulder to back, not on the head.
They need to know not to run past a dog. This will cause the dog to run and become excited and perhaps aggressive. Never disturb a dog who is eating, has a chew toy, or sleeping. Never approach a dog who looks scared. Never reach through a fence into the dog’s territory. If a dog comes to you, remain calm, don’t yell, don’t move. Do not run. Do not make eye contact. If you are knocked down, curl into a ball.
If your child is bitten by a dog, seek medical attention based on the severity of the injuries. 911 may need to be called, or for a minor nip, a call to the pediatrician. Make a report to Animal Control or if after hours, to your local police department.