Dogs and Children

January 27, 2016

Families who have children and dogs are often told two things:

  • Never leave dogs and children alone together; always supervise
  • All dogs can bite so supervise your dog when you have children over

This is good advice, yet there are approximately 400,000 children between the ages of 5 and 9 who seek medical attention for dog bites each year. The problem is not due to lack of supervision. 

So what is the problem?
The problem is that generally, parents have not been taught the warning signs to be watching out for. There are always warning signs before a bite occurs, but these can be very subtle and may be missed by many people.

A dog may appear to tolerate being repeatedly annoyed by a child until one day he bites, surprising everyone. Sometimes the warnings have gone on for months or even years before the dog finally loses his tolerance and bites. Signs that you should take very seriously that indicate the dog is saying “I have been very patient with this child, but I am nearing the end of my patience” include:

  • The dog gets up and moves away from the child.
  • The dog turns his head away from the child.
  • The dog looks at you with a pleading expression.
  • You can see the “whites” of the dog’s eyes in a half moon shape
  • The dog yawns while the child approaches or is interacting with him.
  • The dog licks his chops while the child approaches or is interacting with him.
  • The dog suddenly starts scratching, biting, or licking himself.
  • The dog does a big “wet dog shake” after the child stops touching him.

Please be aware of these signs. Contact us for more help.

Related articles:

Dog Bite Prevention Tips

Keeping Your Children Safe Around Dogs

Adapted from Doggone Safe. 2016