When we hear about a dog bite injury involving a child, it usually seems that the attack was inflicted by a neighbor's pet, or by a strange dog that the child has never encountered before. However, in many situations, that is not the case. A large number of dog bite injuries are inflicted by the family pet, and the victims of many of these attacks are children.
In fact, children under the age of 14 make up half of the 4.7 million people that suffer dog bite injuries in San Diego and across the U.S. every year, with the majority inflicted on children between the ages of five and nine. Although these numbers are certainly frightening, the following are a few steps that parents and dog owners can take to protect kids from the trauma of a dog bite.
- Do your research. Look for breeds that are known to get along well with children, such as labradors or collies. Ask your veterinarian for help in choosing the appropriate dog for your kids and family.
- Socialize. After you bring the dog home, expose it to different people, pets and situations.
- Vaccinate. Make sure your dog stays up-to-date on rabies and other common diseases. You may also want to neuter your pet in order to reduce its aggressiveness.
- Educate. Teach your children to always be careful and cautious around your dog, even after the pet has spent several months or even years in your home. This is especially true when the dog is sleeping, eating or caring for puppies, when even the most good-natured dog can become angry or scared and lash out, with potentially harmful consequences.
Source: Health, "Simple Steps Can Shield Children From Dog Bites," Mary Elizabeth Dallas, July 6, 2012