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Dog Safety Tips For Kids.
The First Step In Dog Safety and Bite Prevention.
Many children grow up with a dog or other pets in the house. And in most cases, it is great. Having a pet has many benefits, including teaching responsibility if your child helps take care of his pets daily needs. Having a dog also offers companionship and can teach social skills, such as not to be too rough when playing. Plus having a dog can be a lot of fun.
One of the main downsides of allowing your children, especially younger ones, around a dog is that sometimes dogs, cats and other pets bite. In fact. All children should be taught to respect other living beings, be they animal or human. From birth, children need to learn that some things are just not allowed, and to be GENTLE should be a common household command. Even if your household does not contain animals, your children should still be taught the basics. One
day they will encounter a dog, whether it is somebody else's pet in a controlled environment, or a meeting on the street with a strange dog.
Dog bites are a big health problem, but one that is largely preventable.
That is why it is important to help you reduce your child's chances of being bitten by a dog.
One of the easiest and most important things that you can do is to NOT leave your younger children alone around a dog, not even the family dog.
The Basics in Dog Safety
This is so important, but so many parents don't notice how rough their children are. A gentle hand will carry them through so many different situations in life, not just meeting animals.
When your child approaches a dog, show them how to pet them gently. Don't let
them pull on ears, tail or fur, but a gentle rubbing of the fur, or feeling of the ears is okay. Don't let them squeeze handfuls of fur, and make sure they know that a tail is not a handle.
If your child has a normally heavy hand, don't use a real dog for the first training session, use a stuffed animal.
A dog might not be as patient with grabbing hands as you would think.
The Right Approach
This is very important! From the time they first understand, you must teach your
children how to approach a dog properly!
What is the right way to approach a dog?
Approach his owner first and ask permission!
Saying HELLO to the dog.
After permission is given approach the dog slowly.
Do not run up to a dog, ever. Hold your hand out, palm down, and let the dog sniff you. Let him decide how close he wants to get. Many dogs love attention, but the first few moments of every new meeting is critical. A correct approach will likely have the new dog sliding in closer for hugs and kisses.
Please don't bring your children up to fear all dogs, even if you do. A child who was taught fear will react to a strange dog in a way that may make the situation even worse. Teach them to respect dogs and all other animals instead.
Respect their boundaries, not run from them.
Meeting A Strange Dog With No Owners Present
It is very important to keep a cool head during these moments. Do not do what your instincts may tell you to do. The first instinct is often to scream and run, please do not do this. Instead, using a loud, firm voice, tell the dog to go home. If he doesn't leave, don't panic.
What is the dog doing? Is he just watching you, curiousity in his posture ears perked, tail wagging, relaxed stance? If this is how he looks, just walk away calmly.
Again, do not run.
Is the dog standing in a threatening manner? Ears laid back along his head, his body tense, his tail up may or may not be wagging slowly, don't be fooled this a threatening posture. Tell him to go lay down in a firm voice, do not yell, do not scream. Any sudden move on your part may trigger an attack. Start to walk away slowly. Do not make any sudden moves. If he starts to advance on you, and lunges, drop into a "turtle" position, and yell for help.
If knocked down by a dog, lie still and remain in a ball.
If you come across your child in this position, do whatever you have to do to get the dog away.
If bitten by the dog, immediately report the bite.
Never Run Away From A Dog: Running will only trigger a prey response, and a dog that may have been content to sit and watch will suddenly chase. Even a dog whose only intent is to play may cause devastating results when the prey is caught.
Never Approach a Dog When He is Eating. Parents, this should be common sense, every child should know this, whether you have pets in the home or not.
Never Leave Your Child With a Dog Unattended!
Accidents happen in the blink of an eye, and even the gentlest family dog will bite if he is in pain, or if he has just had enough.
Although most dog bites aren't fatal, many do require medical attention. In addition to basic first aid and cleaning the wound, your child may need antibiotics, a tetanus shot, and or rabies vaccination after a dog bite. You should seek immediate medical attention for multiple or serious bites, especially in younger children and bites that involve your child's head and neck.
First Aid for Dog Bites
As with other wounds, you should stop any bleeding by putting pressure on the
wound and then clean the area extensively. Since dog bites are at big risk of becoming infected, most children should take 3-7 days of an antibiotic, usually Augmentin, to prevent an infection from developing. Keep in mind that most dog bites aren't sutured closed, because of this risk of infection. Bites on the face, or those considered to be 'clean' or quickly seen by the doctor may be
sutured at times.
Other preventative measures that you may need to take include getting your child a tetanus shot if they have had less than three doses.
Even if they have had three or more tetanus shots, if they have a bite that is not considered clean and minor, they may need a tetanus shot if it is been more than 5 years since their last one. Children with clean, minor bites may also need a tetanus booster if their last one was more than 10 years ago. Since most kids
have had 4 tetanus shots by 18 months of age and a booster at 4 and 12 years, they may not need another one after a dog bite.
Since most dogs in the United States are vaccinated against rabies, it is not usually a big concern after a dog bite. If your child is bitten by a dog and you are not sure if they have had a rabies shot, you should contact your Pediatrician or your local health department or animal control.
Children may need to be treated with Rabies Immune Globulin and rabies vaccine within 48 hours of being bitten if the dog who bit them has not been vaccinated or if the dog can not be found. If the dog was found and its rabies status was unknown, a veterinarian may need to quarantine the dog for 10 days, although rabies vaccine should usually still be given to the child, especially if the dog
bite was unprovoked.