There are way too many reports of kids interacting with dogs that end up with severe and oftentimes, deadly consequences, where no one is the winner. Let’s keep everyone safe by supervising kids around pets at all times. Here are ten safety tips for your kids while they’er around dogs:
- Get permission from the owner before you pet Rover.
Many dogs are very friendly, but some dogs are not. Make sure to ask the owners if their dog is friendly and if it’s okay for you to pet the dog; and make sure to also ask your own parent or guardian before you pet somebody else’s dog. And be sure to follow all of the safety tips!
- To pet a puppy or a kitten, you must ask an adult for permission.
It is also important to ask an adult before petting puppies or kittens, especially when the mama dog or cat is present. Mothers of almost any animal are naturally protective of their babies.
- Petting under the chin is where you’ll begin.
After you have received permission to pet a dog, you should pet the dog under the chin area or on its chest. This way the dog can see where your hand is and what you are doing. Many dogs don’t like to be petted on the top of the head. They might think you are going to hurt them.
- A dog may sniff your hand in order to understand.
A dog’s sense of smell is much, much greater than our own. Dogs use this sense of smell when greeting and getting to know newcomers. If a dog smells you to get to know you, hold your hand still and let him sniff the back of your hand while keeping your fingers tucked in. This will keep your fingers out of the way as well as not threaten the dog.
- If a dog has a bone, you must leave him alone. If a dog has a snack, you must keep back.
If a dog is eating or is chewing on a bone or other item, he/she might think you are going to take it away, which could cause the dog to protect what it has by growling, snapping or biting.
- Respecting their space can save your face.
It is common sense to keep a respectable distance between a child’s face and the teeth of a dog or a cat, even if it is the family pet.
- If you run and shout, it can freak a dog out.
The way you behave can influence the way a dog behaves. If you scream, shout, run or swing your arms or feet around dogs, they are more likely to chase or attack you.
- A shy dog will think you’re the bomb if your behavior is calm.
Your behavior can influence the way any dog behaves, but shy or nervous dogs can be even more affected by rambunctious children. Being calm around a shy dog can make them feel less nervous and more secure.
- Whether you’re a girl or a boy, never tease or annoy.
If you are teasing or annoying a dog or a cat, they can’t tell you in words that they want you to stop; but they can tell you to stop by growling, biting or scratching.
- Quiet and slow is the only way to go.
If you are scared of a dog, do not run or scream. It is safer to walk away slowly and quietly. As you calmly walk away, try not to stare into the dog’s eyes, since dogs consider this a sign of aggression toward them.
Thank you to Patty Letawsky, who many years ago, gave her permission to reprint this list to teach children respect for animals, and help keep them safe around dogs. Whether it’s an unknown dog in the neighborhood, or the trusted family pet, always be alert and supervise children at all times.