According to the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), many veterinarians have seen cases where a family has felt compelled to euthanase their pet due to a dog bite to a child. The alternative is that a dog is declared a dangerous animal by the council, which can be very restrictive on the family’s lifestyle. For a family with a newborn, a dangerous dog ruling could make it even more difficult for the family to spend time with their dog.  We share a few dog safety tips for kids to help prevent dog bites.

Dog safety tips for kids

  1. Don’t interact with a dog unless a parent or guardian is present, especially not scared or angry dogs.
  2. Don’t frighten or anger dogs by teasing them or playing roughly.
  3. If your child feels scared or unsafe around a dog, the child should stand still (don’t run!), stay quiet, and tuck their hands under their armpits until the dog goes away.
  4. If your child gets knocked down by a dog they should curl up like a turtle, stay quiet and wait for the dog to go away, then tell an adult about what happened.
  5. Always ask a responsible adult before approaching a dog, and then check with the dog’s owner that it’s OK. Kids should offer the back of their hand for the dog to sniff, and then stroke them on the chest rather than the head.

Parents are told that they should supervise their dog at all times when it is with their children. However, even supervised interactions can sometimes go wrong because the parents do not understand what the dog is trying to say with its body language.  More about how to prevent dog bites in children.

The Victorian State Government has a responsible pet ownership for children programs, find out more.

Dog safety tips for kids sources

Delta Society of Australia newsletter Summer 2017 edition 18