Millions of children are injured by dogs each year, and while many of these injuries are minor, they can almost always be prevented. Dogs are everywhere, but that doesn’t mean we should assume that all dogs or all situations involving dogs are safe. Kids need to be taught proper etiquette around dogs and how to read a dog’s body language in order to stay as safe as possible. If you want to prevent dog-related injuries for your children, here are some important things to teach them:
Never approach without asking.
Kids are naturally curious, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to simply approach any dog they see. Make sure your children know to always ask the dog’s owner or handler if they can say hello, and stay at a good distance unless they are invited.
Many dogs are tolerant of behavior like hugging, squeezing, patting, squealing, and pinching—until they’re not. Teach your kids to be gentle and calm around dogs and to respect the dog’s personal space, especially around the dog’s ears, head, paws, and tail.
Be wary of multiple dog situations.
Just like when several small children get together, when several dogs are together, the situation can become high energy and high excitement quickly. And this can sometimes lead to biting out of overstimulation or anxiety. Try to avoid situations where there are multiple dogs, especially without adults present.
Learn dog body language.
Dogs are always communicating with us about their comfort levels, but we need to learn how to read their signals. Some signs that a dog is scared or aggressive include tucked tail, wide eyes, excessive panting or licking, ears folded down or back, growling, and showing teeth. Learn about dog body language so you can better anticipate the interaction.
If your child is involved in a dog bite incident or is injured by a dog, make sure they receive prompt medical care, and use this situation as a teaching opportunity. For non-emergency situations, please visit DuPage Immediate Care, the leading urgent care clinic in Oakbrook. Schedule your appointment or save your place in line for a walk-in visit now.