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Posted by Brian on Jul 30, 2015

Keeping Children Safe from Dog Bites

Dogs are well-loved pets in America. Thanks to their lovely dispositions, they’re often considered as man’s best friend. They are often friendly and playfully, proving to be worthwhile companions for families across the country. There are times, however, when dogs feel provoked or threatened and start to attack.

Unfortunately, dog bites are a common occurrence all over the country. According to the non-profit organization Dogs Bite, about 1,000 Americans require medical attention for a dog bite injury. According to their research, these injuries are commonly caused by aggressive dog breeds such as pit bulls, rottweilers, and mastiffs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also pointed out that most dog bite victims are children.

Children are often unaware of how to read a dog’s body language and reactions. As they interact, children might not be mindful of how the dog perceives their attempt to pet and play. As such, they might inadvertently provoke the dog into a more aggressive stance. Despite these dangers, children can still play and interact with dogs without the threat of risk. Through proper supervision and education, children can enjoy the company of a dog without the looming possibility of an attack.

Aside from proper supervision, parents should educate their kids about precautions they can take when they are around or interacting with dogs. The following are just a few tips suggested by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals:

  • Avoid interacting or approaching a dog that is eating, sleeping, chewing a toy, or nursing puppies. Dogs are easily startled during these situations. They might feel threatened enough to attack.
  • Never approach a dog that is already threatened or scared. You can tell if a dog is scared if its ears are flattened, the body is hunched and its tail is tucked between hind legs. Meanwhile, a dog’s ears will usually pull back if it feels threatened. It will also wrinkle its muzzle, show its teeth, and start to growl.
  • Never pet a stranger’s dog without permission. If the dog’s owner gives the okay signal, allow the dog to sniff a closed hand first before petting the top of its head.
  • Never approach a dog that is off its leash, or try to pet a dog that is behind a fence or inside a car.
  • Never pet a stray dog and avoid making eye contact with it. Stand still until the dog loses interest and moves away.

Dogs can be unpredictable creatures. Even the sweetest tempered dog might suddenly feel threatened enough to attack. Parents who want to encourage significant bonds between children and their pets should be mindful of possible risks and do what they can to prevent any accidents from happening.

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