Dog bites affect children more often than parents may believe. Studies show that dogs bite more than 2 million children across our nation every year. And of that number, nearly 500,000 seek medical attention for injuries sustained from a dog bite. Dog bite injuries are higher among children ages 5-9, so it’s essential to teach your children how to act around dogs. We’ve compiled some basic lessons you should teach their children to do when they interact with dogs.
Always Ask for Permission
Always ask for permission before allowing your child to pet a dog you don’t see regularly. Even if your child is comfortable around a friend’s dog, it’s still a good rule of thumb to ask first. This provides the dog’s owner with an opportunity to give your child the green light to pet the dog. In some instances, Even if it’s a dog that you know and see on a regular basis, always ask for permission before touching a dog. In some instances, the owner may decline your child’s request if the dog is sick or injured. This is for your child’s own safety.
Turn the Energy Down a Notch
It’s no secret that young children are full of energy. Dogs may interpret this energy as a threat – especially when a child screams, yells or is hyperactive. If the dog is scared, it could lash out and bite your child in defense. Make sure you talk with your children about the importance of staying calm around animals to ensure the dog is not scared.
Avoid Teasing or Taunting
A dog is more likely to bite someone as his or her energy escalates. Teach your children that it is wrong to tease or taunt an animal. This behavior encourages dogs to become more excited, but can also backfire if the dog sees the person doing the taunting as a threat. Simply put, teach your children to respect animals.
Do Not Disturb
Educate your children on the times they should avoid interacting with a dog. This may include when a dog is eating, sleeping or in pain. Waking a sleeping dog can startle it and its natural reaction may be to bite in self-defense. In addition, avoid getting too close to a dog that is eating. Dogs can become protective when they anticipate that someone is trying to take away their food, and their first instinct is to protect it. Lastly, it’s important for your children to avoid contact with a sick or injured dog. When in pain, a dog is more vulnerable and prone to bite when it otherwise would not.
Educating your children on the right ways to interact with animals is essential to their safety. Practicing these tips can also reduce the likelihood that a dog will bite your child. If you or your child has been bitten by a dog and would like to speak to an experienced dog bite attorney, please contact us. We will help you understand your option.