Dog Safety 101 for kids -

Dog safety for kids

Even the friendliest of dogs can be unpredictable around new people, especially children, who often don't know how to act around animals. Luciano Aguilar says there are six crucial tips for keeping kids safe when meeting a strange dog.

Boys aged five to nine are bitten by dogs more often than anybody else. And more than 75 percent of the time, they're bitten in the face. For you parents out there, it's very important to teach your kids how to approach and act around a dog they don't know.

"The first thing to remember is that dogs are animals," says Luciano. "And when animals feel threatened, they often bite."

Children should always ask a dog's owner for permission to approach him. Kids should then wait for the owner to grab a hold of the dog and be in control of him before petting. And your child should never sneak up on a dog or approach him straight on. Instead, flank the dog and pet him starting on his side.

"A dog may feel threatened by a hand reaching directly over his head, so work your way up from his side," Luciano explains. "When your child is petting a dog, they should give calm, soothing praise; not high, energetic praise. That could make the dog think it's play time and cause him to jump and nip at them."

Even if you're being affectionate with a dog, like hugging or kissing him, he can easily misinterpret that action as hostile. Dogs are predators, so kids should never run or wave their arms around a strange dog. He may decide to give chase.

"Nobody likes to be disturbed when they're sleeping or eating and dogs are no different. So kids should definitely let sleeping dogs lie and stay away from those food bowls at mealtime," adds Luciano.

A litter of puppies is cute, but their mother can become extremely protective while caring for her babies. Kids should always be very respectful of any mama dog.

"You don't want to scare your kids so they're frightened of every dog they see," says Luciano. "But they definitely have to understand that dogs are driven by their animal instinct. So be sure to teach your child to always approach a strange dog with caution and respect."

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