Avoiding Dog Bites to Children


Children 5 to 9 years old are more apt than any other age group to require treatment immediately after a dog bite. And most of those bites are from the family dog when the pet is resting and a child approaches, says Meghan Herron, DVM, associate professor of veterinary clinical services at Ohio State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. With that in mind, Dr. Herron advises the following:

1. Provide resting places for your dog away from where young children run and play.

2. Because many bites to children occur when an adult is in the room, if you can’t be attentive to interactions between a dog and a child, put a physical barrier such as a baby gate between them.

3. Teach children not to approach a dog when it is resting and not to go on the pet’s favorite resting places, like a certain spot on the couch.

4. Don’t allow a child near a dog while either one is eating. (A dog can inadvertently bite a child as the little one runs by with a cookie in her hand.)

5. Never speak to your dog harshly, smack it, push it off furniture, or forcibly take away an item. Children learn from what they see adults doing, and you don’t want your child learning the hard way that dogs don’t like to be treated roughly.


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