Millions of people every year in the U.S. are victims of dog bites. Sixty percent of these victims are children. Dog bites are one of the most common reason children visit the emergency room, and the majority of the dog bites to children are from dogs the child knows.

Dog safety tips for children

  • Always ask permission from an adult owner before petting an unknown dog.
  • If the owner says you can pet the dog, walk to the side of the dog and face the same direction as the dog. Stand up or squat down if the dog is small. Never bend at the waist. Gently extend your hand with the fingers curled up for the dog to sniff. If the dog backs away, he does not want to be petted. If he doesn’t back away, then open your hand and pet him over the shoulders.
  • Never try to pet a dog through a fence or care window.
  • Never pet a dog that is tied up.
  • Never pet a dog that is eating, or playing with a toy.
  • Never pet a mother dog that is nursing her puppies.
  • If a dog runs up to you, stand like a tree, with your hands at your side. Don’t run. Be quiet. If the dog knocks you down, lie like a log. Don’t move and protect your neck with your hands.

Safety tips for parents

  • Supervise your dog with your children, particularly toddlers. Dogs can behave differently with children than adults.
  • Train your dog. All dogs should attend at least one obedience class.

Source: Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association/University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine

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