Texas Living

Dog Safety

By Kristy Alpert 6.9.15

We call them man’s best friend, and for good reason. There’s nothing better than seeing a wagging tail waiting at the front door when you return home, or the excitement on your child’s face when he or she sees a puppy in a park. But even though these canine companions bring so much joy, it’s important to remember they’re still animals and can react poorly when scared or excited.

Sixty-five percent of U.S. households own a pet according to a 2015/2016 American Pet Products Association survey. With more than half of the 4.5 million dog bite reports each year occurring to children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s a good idea to teach your child about animal safety long before he or she comes into contact with a dog. Regardless of whether it’s a random dog in a park or a trusted neighbor’s pet, here are some good guidelines for children to follow about dog safety:

  • Always approach a dog slowly and from where it can see you.
  • Never put your face near a dog’s face.
  • Always let a dog that doesn’t know you well sniff you before trying to pet it.
  • Never hit or kick a dog.
  • Always ask permission before petting someone else’s dog.
  • Only use polite petting on a dog (i.e., no patting, pulling, or poking).
  • Don’t disrupt a dog while it’s sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
  • Never steal a dog’s toy from its mouth.
  • Do not tease a dog.
  • Don’t make loud noises around a dog.
  • Stay away from stray dogs.
  • Always report any unusual dog behavior or a dog bite to an adult right away.