Kids and pets just go together. Unfortunately, not all children like pets and not all pets like children so parents have to be on their toes. An infant can be scratched or stepped on by the family pet, a rambunctious puppy or large dog can topple a toddler but many people forget that the pets can be in danger from the kids as well. Ears and fur gets pulled, toes get stepped on and foreign objects get inserted in places that they shouldn’t.
Dog bites can be a serious consequence when kids and pets don’t play nicely together. The Journal of Pediatrics has published these recommendations for parents:
- Consider the selection of any dog carefully. Speak with a professional and ask questions about the dog’s background and breed. Spend time with the dog before bringing it home. If your children are afraid or apprehensive, delay getting the dog.
- Dogs should be spayed or neutered to reduce aggressive tendencies.
- Don’t play aggressive games with your dog.
- Never leave infants or young children alone with dogs.
- Make certain that any dog entering the household receives proper training and socialization. Try to teach submissive behaviors to avoid dominance problems as the dog matures.
- If your dog develops aggressive or undesirable behaviors, seek professional help immediately.
- Dogs with a history of aggression are not appropriate for families with small children.
- Teach children to:
- never approach unfamiliar dogs,
- never run from a dog, and
- report any bites or scratches immediately.