Friday, June 29, 2012

Kids & Pets – Tips for Preventing Dog Bites

By Suzanne Alicie

As a responsible pet owner, I have to be diligent in making sure that my dog Bear doesn’t bite someone. When we go for a walk most adults know how to approach a strange dog, or at least know better than to run up squealing and jumping around. Children, on the other hand, are naturally exuberant and excited to see a dog and they all want to pet her; she’s big and fluffy, and just draws them in.

Unfortunately, Bear is not very social and really does not appreciate the excitement of children that she doesn’t know. This can lead to heart stopping moments when I’m praying that Bear won’t snap at someone, or that the parents will take charge of their children so that I don’t have to tell the child, “STOP, don’t touch the dog.” Because then children cry and parents get angry because I’ve yelled at their child. They don’t realize that I’m trying to protect them.

I’d rather yell at their child than have my dog cause them to be hurt or even scared of dogs. Sometimes her barks and growls are pretty scary too, and she does get vocal when she feels crowded or threatened. I believe children should have a healthy fear of many things, but especially dogs. This is different from a real fear, and is more of a respect and knowledge of the possibility that the dog could bite.

As parents, it’s important that you teach your children not to approach strange dogs and if you have dogs and children you must teach your child to respect your dog as a member of the family. They have to understand that they could harm the dog if they play too rough, which could also make the dog bite them. Children aren’t mean intentionally, but sometimes they forget that their dog isn’t a stuffed animal and may try to pick him up by his tail or pull his hair while they are playing.

Feeding time is the time to keep your kids away from the dog completely. Even the most well trained dog could give in to instinct and snap at a child who gets too close to them while they are eating. In your own home and with your own children, all it usually takes to prevent dog bites is to accustom your children to being around a dog and respecting the dog’s space.

When you take your dog out, it may be wise to consider a muzzle to protect children from bites and always make sure that your harness, leash and collar are in good shape. An escaped dog running to-and-fro incites people to help you by chasing him. This could lead to strangers getting a bite for their efforts, especially children who think they are helping.

Even if you have a nice dog who likes children, it’s always important to make sure that strange children approach the dog calmly and give your pooch time to sniff them before they reach for him. Always carry a few CANIDAE dog treats when you go to the park so that you can help children become acquainted with your dog and reward your dog at the same time for being so well behaved.

Top photo by Ernst Vikne
Bottom photo by Mr. Dtb

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie


  1. "heart stopping moments"? Keeping the kids from touching your dog is the best preventive.

  2. That is all so true. I have never had a dog that would bite children but have known several that have bitten children and both times it was when the dog was having his or her dinner. A muzzle sounds like a good idea if the dog is going to be around children.

  3. My dog Stella loves kids and we have a little daycare on our block. When we walk by, the kids will come out and surround her and pet her. She loves it. If she didn't though, I would find a more isolated place to walk her, early am, or early evening when toddlers aren't around so much. Older kids would be OK and lots of them ask if they can pet first. But its easy to warn older kids (5 and up). Good luck!


  4. what kind of dog is this??

  5. Another important post Julia. Children do get very excited and almost treat a dog like it is a stuffed toy, which of course can be very dangerous. It can also be confusing to a child, because some dogs have a much higher tolerance for loving, tailing tugging, and hugging than others. Teaching the child to respect animals is a great idea, not always easy... you can turn your eye for a split second and an accident can occur, but you also have to teach your dog to be well behaved!! It's a complex subject that is unique to each dog and child!!

  6. Fantastic blog! I say that on topics like the one above, responsibility is always the key, a responsible pet owner and a responsible child carer.

  7. When I had my rat terrier, I told kids though the was lovable, she is still a dog and that she could bite. She never did but I know animals.

  8. Great tips for preventing dog bite. The most common reasons why kids get bitten is because they don't know the proper ways to interact with a dog.

  9. Children are the ones usually being bitten by a dog, so it’s important that you always supervise them when you go out, especially when you’re in a public place like on the park or in the street. This is where you usually see dogs hanging around with their owners. On the part of the owners, you must not let your dogs roam free even if it has a good behavior. It’s better to act cautiously than to suffer afterward.


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