Incidents involving dogs harming children is thankfully very rare, but if you are considering getting a family dog it’s no doubt something that has played on your mind.
Recently my own niece got her first pet - a bunny rabbit - and it got me thinking about when we might consider introducing a pet to our family home.
I think if we ever were to get a pet, a dog would be my first choice - but I would naturally be concerned about Tyne's safety.
Dogs don’t mean to harm people, and more often than not accidents happen when they are over excited or scared. Therefore we’ve compiled a list of tips to keep your children – and your dog – safe when playing together and enjoying each other’s company, to ensure all family members are happy.
Teach children not to tease a dog
One of the most common causes of dog related injuries with children is due to the child teasing them, as they don’t understand that this can make the dog overexcited, agitated or even angry. Therefore, when your child plays with the dog, it’s really important that they understand not to pet them too roughly, not to restrict their toys or treats too much and not to pull its tail. Show them safe and fun ways to play with the dog that will keep them both happy and safe.
When out walking the dog, teach your children not to approach unfamiliar dogs
Unfamiliar dogs can pose a danger, regardless of how friendly they and their owners look. That particular dog may not be used to being around children for example, and may panic and bite out as a reaction. Whilst socialising with other dogs and dog walkers is a big part of having a dog, you should help your child to be wary of dogs you don’t know at first.
Encourage your child to give the dog lots of attention
Dogs thrive from attention and your child no doubt loves giving them lots of it. You should encourage them to give the dog as much attention as possible so that the dog doesn’t get jealous of them, and so that they feel a part of the family. Get them involved with them, and so that they feel a part of the family. Get them involved with simple tasks, such as feeding the dog their royal canin food to show the dog that the child is an important part of their life. However, you should supervise meal times as this is often the highlight of your dog’s day, so they can get very overexcited and hyper.
Teach your child that the dog also needs its space
Just like us, dogs also require down time and some time to themselves. This is especially true at meal times, when they are caring for their puppies and when they are sleeping. You should make sure your child knows when to play with the dog, and when to leave them be. Whilst it’s perfectly fine for your little one to stroke their pooch as they get cosy in their dog bed, they should understand when to let them sleep. Likewise, you should never leave your dog alone with your child when the child is
sleeping, as your dog may just see it as something warm to snuggle up to, which could resort in an accident.