Children and dogs – keeping everyone safe

Children and dogs – keeping everyone safe

When it comes to children and dogs, many people say that supervision is essential. But it is critical to understand that supervision alone may not always be the way to prevent a dog bite.

The key to helping prevent a dog bite is being able to recognise when a dog is feeling stressed or threatened. It’s important to be able to pick up on the signs and intervene before it’s too late.

Everyone needs to know what to look out for and this includes parents, grandparents, friends and the babysitter. No matter how “trustworthy” or safe you think a dog is, it always pays to take care and remember that kids can push dogs to new limits or even unintentionally hurt a dog.

Some of the stress signals to watch out for in dogs:

  1. Lip licking (not in the context of food)
    2. Yawning when not tired
    3. Whites of the eyes visible
    4. Immediately standing and leaving the environment
    5. Turning head away
    6. Hiding behind another person or furniture
    7. Ears back
    8. Tail low or tucked between legs and only the end wagging

If you notice any of these signs you should separate the child and the dog immediately. Never allow a child to be around a dog when there is food involved and take care if a child is in a dog’s territory (such as a dog bed). These can all lead to increased stress for a dog.

We also encourage you to watch and share this video that expresses how a dog might feel when put under stress by young children.

If you have any questions about your pet’s behaviour, please ask us.

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