Dogs can make great friends and companion animals, but they can also be a major source of risk. After all, dogs are animals, and they can sometimes behave in unpredictable or dangerous manners. Even small dogs can hurt a child severely.
As a parent, you, no doubt, want to do anything in your power to keep your kids safe. Teaching your children some basic safety rules can help them stay safe around dogs. Preventing a dog bite attack not only saves your child from physical injury, but it can also help you prevent a lifetime of fear and trauma as a result of a childhood dog attack.
Children should always ask before engaging with any animal
Any animal, from a large dog to a parakeet, could bite or injure a human. As a general rule, your children should always ask a parent or teacher before approaching the owner of an animal. They should then also ask the owner of the animal if the animal is friendly and if they are permitted to interact with or touch it.
If you go to the beach or the park and your children run over to a dog, stop them and remind them that they must ask in order to stay safe.
Teach older children how to recognize the body language of animals
One of the best ways to protect yourself from a dog bite is to know when a dog is angry or aggressive. Children often don't understand the behaviors and noises of other people, let alone animals from a different species.
Children who are young may not be able to understand the nuances of nonverbal communication. Older children and teenagers can typically understand things like aggressive, rigid posture, the warning presented in bared teeth and how growling is not an invitation to play.
Know what to do in the event of a dog bite situation
Despite your best efforts, it is still possible your child could wind up bitten by an aggressive dog. Maybe you go to the park, and someone has let their animal off its leash. Perhaps a neighbor's dog gets out of their fence and bites your child.
In that situation, you want to make a record of where and when the bite happened. If you do not know the animal's owner, you should contact animal control. From there, you should take your child for a medical evaluation. Bites from any animal could become infected. Bites to the face and neck may require interventions to prevent scarring as your child ages.
Depending on the circumstances, parents may be able to take civil action against an irresponsible dog owner if their child winds up hurt, but it is always preferable to prevent the attack if possible.