Dr. MJ Bazos MD,
Dog Bites: How to
Teach Your Children to Be Safe
Most dogs will never bite anyone. However, any
dog may bite if it feels threatened. Children are the most common victims of dog
bites. Infants and young children should never be left alone with a dog. This
handout tells you how to teach your children to avoid getting bitten.
What should I do if I want a dog for
Take time to learn about the breed of dog you
want. To learn about dog breeds, talk with a veterinarian, read books about dogs
and search the Internet. Don’t get a dog only because of the way it looks.
If you have an infant or young child, think about getting a puppy. Be especially
careful if you have a baby in your house. Aggressive dog breeds aren’t
right for families with children. Neutered male dogs are generally less
Consider taking your new dog to obedience
school. Keep your dog’s immunizations up to date. Have your dog checked
regularly by a veterinarian.
What do I tell my children about
- Don’t go near strange dogs.
- Never bother a dog that is eating, sleeping or
caring for puppies.
- Tell an adult about any stray dogs.
- Always have an adult with you when you play with
- Never tease a dog.
- Never pet a dog without first letting it smell
What should I
tell my children to do when a dog approaches them?
- Don’t run away and scream.
- Stand very still, “like a tree.”
(See Picture 1.)
- Avoid making direct eye contact with the dog.
- If you fall or are knocked down, act “like
a log.” (See Picture 2.)
- When the dog understands that you are not a
threat, it will probably walk away.
- If a dog bites you, tell an adult right away.
A dog is a wonderful addition to a family, but
it can be a problem if you aren’t careful. Always talk to children about
how they should act when they’re with a dog. Remember that dogs can feel
threatened by new surroundings or strangers.