Tuesday, 08 August 2023

Safety around dogs 🐶🐶

The bond between your child and dog can bring fun and happiness to
family life. We don’t expect our own dog to bite, but any dog can bite
if they feel they have no other option.
Children are most likely to be bitten at home, by a familiar dog.
Luckily most bites are preventable and close supervision is key

 A calm, happy dog is less likely to react
unsafely to children’s natural exuberance.
• Give your dog a safe space of their own where
they can go if they need time out. Have a rule to
leave them alone when they’re there.
• Keep them occupied – physical exercise and
mental activity help keep your dog happy.
• Teach your child to be calm and kind with your
dog. Avoid shouting, teasing or restrictive cuddles.

Close supervision is the most important
thing to keep children safe.
• Watch, listen and remain close when your child
and dog are together.
• If either your dog or child seems unhappy,
positively and calmly separate them. You can throw
your dog a treat or toy, or lead your child away.
• Understand your dog’s body language so you can
spot signs they feel uncomfortable or stressed.
• When you know you’ll be distracted during busier
times, use safety gates to keep children and dogs
separate. Or, take your child or dog with you.

Trigger times – teach your child to leave
your dog alone when they are:
• Sleeping – no-one likes to be woken up suddenly.
• Eating or having a treat – they might think you’re
going to take their food.
• Have a toy or something else they really like –
they might not want to share

Your growing child – as your child
changes, the risks can change too.
• Teach the rules to your child from an early
age and keep explaining them as your child
understands more.
• As your child becomes more mobile, review
changes needed, like adding safety gates.
• Think ahead about your changing family life and
new risks that can emerge. Read our fact sheet
on bringing baby home.

Still worried?
• If you’re worried by the way your dog is with
your child, talk to your vet. They’ll check your
dog’s health and can refer you to a qualified
animal behaviourist.
• Visit the Animal Behaviour and Training Council
website to find a qualified behaviourist near you