Every year in the United States, there are dozens of children who are bitten by dogs. Contrary to popular belief, these aren’t usually dangerous dogs running lose around the neighborhood. In most cases, the children being bitten are children that the dogs know. Many time times dogs bite the children that they live with because the children aren’t taught the proper way to treat animals. Parents let children climb all over the family pet and never teach the children that is is not okay to hurt the animal.
If you have a pet, it’s important to teach your child to respect the animal, even when your child is just a baby. As soon as your baby starts moving, there is the potential to hurt the family dog. After all, babies are curious. They want to know what happens when they pull Fido’s ears or stick their fingers in Rover’s eyes. It might seem like its harmless enough. You know your dog would never attack your baby, right? You are always there and get onto your pet when it barks or growls at the baby. There is nothing to worry about.
What happens when you are cooking dinner and baby heads out of the kitchen into the dining room where Fido is sleeping under the table? Baby has never been taught to leave the family pet alone while he is sleeping, so he heads right over and pulls on Fido’s ear. The result? Fido turns and snaps at baby. If you are lucky, he only snaps at baby and doesn’t actually bite. A lot of families aren’t that lucky, though.
Preventing most dog bites can actually be pretty easy, though. Before you get a dog, you should find out whether or not he is likely to bite for no reason. Most dogs don’t bite unless they are provoked. If you think a dog might bite for no reason, do not let your small child near it. Only allow your child to play with a safe pet when supervised by an adult.
Teach your baby that it is never okay to hurt an animal. “No” is usually one of the first words a baby understands. Tell baby no every time he does something to hurt the dog. As long as you are consistent, baby will learn pretty quickly that it is not okay to hurt the dog. Explain to baby why he must not hurt the dog. Tell him that it hurts the dog and no one likes to be hurt. Baby might not understand at first, but he will learn before long at all.
Supervise your baby anytime he is around the family pet. Don’t leave baby alone with the dog for even a minute. Babies and pets both do stuff behind your back that they wouldn’t do in front of you. Don’t give them the chance to hurt each other.
Make sure your baby knows that while it is okay to pet the family dog, it is not okay to pet a neighbor or someone else’s dog without permission. This is especially true if the dog is chained up. A chained up animal is more likely to bite because they feel defenseless since they can’t get away. Even a friendly dog might bite a child, though, so make sure your child always ask permission before petting someone’s dog.
Your child might still get bitten by a dog at some point, but following these tips will make the chance much lower. Teach your child to always respect all animals and you should have nothing to worry about.