Safety around dogs

The bond between your child and dog can bring fun and happiness to family life. We don't expect our own dog to bite, but any dog can bite if they feel like they have no other option. Children are most liekly to be bitten at home by a familiar dog. Luckily most bites are preventable and close supervision is key.

A calm, happy dog is less likely to react unsafely to children's natural exuberance.

  • give your dog a safe space of their own where they can go if they need time, have a rule to leave them alone where they are there
  • keep them occupied, physical activity and mental activity help keep your dog happy.
  • teach your child to be calm and kind with your dog, avoud shouting, teasing and restrictive cuddles

Close supervision is the most important thing to keep children safe.

  • watch, listen and remain close when your child and dog are together
  • if either your dog or child seem unhappy, positively and calmly seperate them. You can throw your dog a treat or toy, or lead your child away
  • understand your dogs body language so you can spot signs they feel uncomfortable or stressed
  • when you know you'll be distracted during busier time, use safety gates to keep children and dogs seperate or take your child or dog with you

Trigger times - teach your child to leave your dog alone when they are

  • sleeping - no one likes to be wokens up suddenly
  • eating or having a treat - they might think you're going to take their food
  • have a toy or something else they really like, they may not want to share

Your growing child - as your child changes, the risks can change too.

  • teach the rules to your child from an early age and keep explaining them as your child understands more
  • as your child becomes more mobile review changes needed like added safety gates
  • think ahead about your changing family life and new risks that can emerge

If you are worried by the way your dog is with your child talk to your vet. They will check your dogs health and can refer you to a qualified animal behaviourist. Visit the Animal Behaviour and Training Council website to find a qualified behaviourist near you.