This time of year you might be seeing friends and family who have pets that you may not be familiar with. If you have children, now is a good time to talk to them about approaching these animals and when to know that they should leave them alone.
The majority of dog bites that occur do involve children, which is why preparing your children for interactions with animals they don’t know is a good idea. Preparing them, and yourself, for interactions with pets may help you avoid an emergency.
3 tips for avoiding a dog bite
The first tip for avoiding a dog bite is to talk to the owners before bringing your children inside the home. Ask them what kind of disposition their pet has. If the pet is likely to jump up or is nippy when touched, you may want to ask the owner if they can put their pet on a leash or in another room while you’re visiting.
The second thing you should do is talk to your children about the signs of a dog that is anxious or upset. Panting, tucking its tail, putting its ears back against its head, showing teeth, or growling may all be signs that a dog is about to bite. Explain to your children not to approach the dog when it is expressing those behaviors. Instead, advise that they approach it only when you’re present to monitor the interaction.
A third tip is to remove yourself and your children from dangerous situations. While you might want to stay and visit for longer, if your children can’t keep their hands off the dog or you notice that the dog is showing signs of aggression, it’s reasonable to take your leave. It is up to every adult present to make the right decision for the dog and children alike, and that might mean separating them.
Dogs are usually friendly, but when they are upset, anxious, tired or hurt, they could bite. You may be able to avoid a serious emergency this year by paying close attention to the dogs around you and putting distance between yourself and an animal when needed.