We’ve all heard the saying, “Dog is man’s best friend.” However, man’s best friend can sometimes become man’s worst enemy, especially in the case of kids. According to the CDC, dogs bite 4.5 million people each year. And of these yearly dog bites, over 750,000 occur to children. Some of these bites were minor, but many were serious enough to require medical attention.
But you should not let these figures scare you away from getting a dog. You just need to be aware of the dangers of owning a dog and take the proper precautions when dogs are around your children.
Dogs Bites Highest for Kids
Not surprisingly, the highest rate for dog bites are in kids aged five to nine. Think about it, this is the age when children are very curious and love dogs. If they have lived in a home where there is a dog, they think every dog is literally their own and their best friend. However, everyone needs to remember that dogs are animals. They aren’t people, they are animals, and they need to be treated as such.
Dog Safety Tips
The most important thing for parents to internalize is that children need to be supervised around dogs—even the family pet—at all times. Additionally, parents should tell their children to do the following when approached by a dog they do not know:
- Never approach a strange dog. Don’t run up to it.
- Don’t scream or run away from a dog. It puts them on the defensive.
- If an unknown dog approaches you, stay still.
- If a dog knocks you to the ground, roll into a ball and protect your face, head, and neck.
- Get adult supervision when playing with a dog.
- Report stray dogs and dogs displaying odd behavior to authorities right away.
- Leave dogs with puppies alone. They can be very protective and dangerous.
- If you get bitten, report the bite immediately to an adult.
It’s true that some breeds of dogs are known for being more aggressive and cranky. These are breeds you should probably avoid if you are thinking about purchasing a dog and you have kids at home.
- Rottweiler (overly protective)
- Cocker Spaniel (overly protective)
- Pekinese (impatient)
- Pit bulls (can be great dogs if they have not been abused or neglected)
- Rhodesian Ridgebacks (very dominant)
- Dachshunds (very impatient)
Good Family Breeds
Here are a few dog breeds that are known to be good with kids:
- Labrador/golden Retriever (smart/very active)
- Poodle (smart)
- Beagle (friendly/not too big)
- Collie (tolerant & calm)
- German shepherd (tolerant)
There are always cases of dogs that don’t fit these lists. The biggest thing is that parents and adults need to be cautious around dogs and teach kids the same behavior. We all just need to respect our canine friends and realize that they are animals, not people.