Articles and Updates from Phoenix Children's
Families bring new pets into their homes for many reasons. Some want to teach their children about friendship and responsibility – or simply to encourage them to be more active. Whatever the reason for introducing a new furry friend to the family, it is particularly important that you take the time to make your child aware of safe petting in and out of your home. When you teach a child to pet with care, you are also teaching them how to be respectful, responsible and compassionate. Making children aware of these important traits will allow them to continue to remain safe when they are around dogs.
If your child will be spending time at a friend’s home, remember to always ask if there will be any dogs around. It is so easy for dogs to become excited when children are around. No matter the dog’s breed or how friendly you think a dog is, an adult must always be present to help guide a child’s interactions. In honor of National Dog Bite Prevention Week, from April 10 – 16, Phoenix Children’s wants to share valuable information to keep your child safe around dogs.
- Never leave your children unsupervised with dogs. If you are not able to provide constant supervision, it is best to create a separation barrier between the dog and child. By using a baby gate or crate, you can create a safe environment for both your child and dog.
- Talk to children about the body language of dogs. Have your child observe various dogs to help the child understand how they may be feeling. You can talk about the behaviors dogs show when they want to play, have their belly rubbed, are tired or are showing signs of aggression.
- Ask before you pet. Remind children to always ask for permission before touching any pet. Teach children to never bother a dog when it is sleeping, eating, playing with its favorite toy or not feeling well.
- Always pet responsibly. Teach children to avoid petting a dog’s head, face, ears or tail. Children should always pet the dog’s back in the direction that the hair is growing to prevent upsetting the dog.
Teaching children how to interact with dogs will require repetition, patience and setting a consistent routine. It is important to help guide children’s interactions to ensure that no one gets hurt. By following these recommendations, you will be able to create lots of happy memories with your family that will last a lifetime. To learn more about dog bite prevention, watch the video here or contact Ilce Alexander, senior injury prevention specialist at Phoenix Children’s, by calling 602-933-3393.