A dog can be your child’s best friend. Dog’s provide unconditional love and will teach your child about responsibility. But before you dash out and bring home a pooch, there are some important facts you should know.

According to the American Humane Society;

Half of all dogs attacks happen with children under the age of 12 80% of dog bites that result in an emergency room visit involve kids under 15 70% of dog bite fatalities involve children under the age of 10 Babies are 370 times more likely than an adult to be killed by a dog

These are some scary statistics that should give parents pause for thought. Of course, not every dog your child encounters is going to be Cujo. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take steps to keep them safe.

In this post, I’m going to cover some tips on how to keep kids safe around dogs and (for those pet parents) how to keep dogs safe around kids.

1. Teach What’s Acceptable

Children shouldn’t be expected to know what’s acceptable when interacting with a dog. It’s also not fair to expect a dog to endure your child’s inexperience. For these reasons, we as parents must teach our kids how to interact with the canine species. This includes not allowing them to pull on the dog’s tail, ears, snout, fur etc. jump on the dog or throw things at the animal.

Giving our children the knowledge to respect animals and treat them kindly is paramount in having the two of them coexist in peace and happiness.

2. Watch Toddlers

Unfortunately, the statistics show that 88% of 2 year-olds that died as a result of a dog attack was not being supervised. It just makes sense to keep a close eye on very young children, especially around dogs that are not a part of the family unit.

3. Spay or Neuter

Intact dogs are more likely to show aggression so it’s important to have them spayed or neutered. This is especially true in males. If you are adopting a dog over the age of 6 months that is not fixed, be sure to contact your veterinarian for his/her earliest appointment to get this routine procedure done.

4. Set Some Ground Rules

This point is important for children of all ages. Before you bring Fido home have a family meeting about the ground rules of the dog. Older children can be responsible for some of the lighter doggy duties like feeding and watering, while the younger kids should be reminded to never bother a dog when it’s eating or sleeping.

5. Know the Breed & Training

Before you get a dog do some research into the breed. There are some canines that are natural people pleasers and have a higher tolerance for children, while others will take more training.

Once you have the dog, you will also have to set some boundaries and expectations for Fido. Training up your dog in the ways of behaving will take patience and persistence, but it will be well worth it in the end.

6. Exercise Daily

All dogs need to be exercised on a daily basis. This is especially true for those bigger breeds that may become hyperactive if left alone. A hyper dog is much more likely to inadvertently knock down a small child, so get him outside to burn off that excess energy. Read this article on some fun ways to exercise your dogs.

Now that we know how to keep our kids safe around dogs, let’s explore how to keep our dogs safe around children.

How to Keep Dogs Safe Around Kids

Although most of the above tips will work to keep both children and dogs safe from each other, we’ve dug up a few more for those concerned pet parents.

1. Size Does Matter

It’s only logical that a bigger dog will be able to handle a rambunctious child better than a smaller breed. If you have a tiny dog it is recommended to always supervise it around young children. A drop or kick to a dog weighing only 5 or 6 pounds could mean a trip to the vet’s office or worse yet, even death.

2. Separate

If you are a pet parent and are fearful of a friend or family members child hurting your best furry friend, then keep them separate. Putting your dog in its kennel or behind a closed door is the best way to keep a curious (and undog-savvy) child away from your precious pooch.

3. Use a Leash

Public parks can be a great place to exercise your dog, but they are also usually full of children. When you walk your dog or play in the park with her, be sure to keep her on a leash. When children see a dog their first instinct may be to run up and pet it. Keeping Fluffy on a leash will ensure you have control over the situation. If you still feel uneasy, pick your dog up to ensure her safety.

Keep Them Safe

Whether you are keeping your kids safe from a dog or the dog safe from the kids, these handy tips may be all it takes to avoid a bad situation.

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