There are thousands of dogs in Des Moines, and you yourself may even be the owner of a four-legged friend. While dogs make for great companions or members of the family, dogs can be dangerous, even when unprovoked.
For parents, teaching dog safety for kids – especially around dogs they don’t know – can be essential to keeping them safe and protected. The following provides some tips for child safety around dogs that all parents should teach.
Be Calm around Dogs
One of the first things that parents should teach in dog safety for kids is that dogs, much like humans, don’t always respond well to stress. A stressful environment can include one where children are yelling, jumping, yanking a dog’s tail, or otherwise being overly rowdy. Encourage children to approach dogs while using an inside voice, and to always be gentle with a pooch.
Leave Sleeping and Eating Dogs Alone
Here’s another lesson in dog safety for kids. No one – including canines – enjoys being disturbed while enjoying a good meal or nap. When dogs are bothered or interrupted during while eating or sleeping, they’re much more likely to be aggressive. As such, remind children that they should never approach a dog that’s distracted with something else. Instead, let the dog finish whatever it’s doing before approaching.
Ask the Dog’s Owner Before Petting
Children, especially those that love animals, are often tempted to approach strange dogs and pet them. However, approaching an unknown animal can be dangerous for a child, as the dog may feel threatened, increasing its likelihood of attacking. However, your child doesn’t have to avoid animals altogether. A good policy in dog safety for kids is to teach your child that they should always first ask a dog’s owner whether or not they can touch the dog. If the dog owner says “yes,” then the child can proceed.
How to Pet Nicely
Children don’t always know how to pet a dog appropriately, and may try to hug the dog, kiss the dog, or yank at its fur or tail. Unfortunately, a dog may view these actions as an attack, and may respond aggressively as a result. In order to prevent an aggressive reaction from a dog, you should teach your children how to pet nicely. The best place to scratch a dog is the chest or the side of the neck, but the top of the head should be avoided for unfamiliar animals.
Avoid Eye Contact
Dogs often view direct eye contact as a threat. In order to reduce your child’s risk of being attacked by a dog, instruct them to never make direct eye contact with a dog, especially one that they don’t know well.
What to Do When Approached by an Unknown Dog
Finally, you should teach your children what to do when approached by an unknown dog. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children should remain completely still when a strange dog comes up to them or is near to them. Additionally, children should never play with a dog without an adult nearby, and should always allow a dog to sniff them before touching the dog.
When playing, dogs are often rowdier than they intend to be, and it’s not uncommon for a child to be knocked down by a dog, either in play or in aggression. If your child is knocked down by a dog, make sure they know what to do. Instruct your child to roll into a ball and be as still as possible in the event that he or she is knocked down.
Some dogs are more tolerant of children than others. If you have a family dog that knows and loves your child, the chances of the dog attacking are low. However, you child should know that they way that they act with your family dog is not the way that they should act with every dog. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends always supervising the interaction between your children and your pets, as well as your children and other people’s pets.
If Your Child Has Been Bitten by a Dog
If your child has been bitten by a dog, you may be able to recover compensation in the form of a personal injury suit. The statute of limitations for pursuing a personal injury case in Iowa is two years from the date of injury, according to Iowa Code section 614.1(2).
At Walker, Billingsley & Bair, our attorneys know how traumatizing it can be to watch your child receive an injury. As such, we’ll work hard to recover the damages that you and your family deserve. To get started on filing your claim today, call us now at (888) 435-9886.