How to keep your child safe around dogs

dog bit twoDog attacks on children are never far from the headlines and sadly the number of hospital admissions keeps on rising. Every year more than 200,000 people are bitten in the UK costing the NHS an estimated £3 million in treatment. We look at what steps can be taken to make sure children are safe around dogs, and hopefully prevent every parent’s worst nightmare.

Dog owners should brush-up on basic canine psychology to help them understand how their pet may behave around children. Dogs are pack animals driven by instincts and if they believe they are higher up the pecking order than a child they may display defensive behaviour. Similarly if a dog feels threatened it may react aggressively. To further complicate matters children are often unaware of human animal boundaries and can unwittingly provoke dogs by pulling, poking and teasing.

The following tips are designed to make sure that man’s best friend stays friendly:

  • If you are expecting a new member of the family it’s a good idea to gently introduce your dog to the idea by leaving a few children’s toys lying about and going for walks with baby’s pram.
  • Don’t assume that your child is safe from harm at home; the majority dog bites are by family pets.
  • Never leave your child alone in a room with your dog; no matter how well they get on together.
  • Dogs are protective animals and shouldn’t be disturbed if they are poorly, sleeping, eating or playing with their puppies.
  • Teach your child that all dogs are different and while your pooch may enjoy being petted other dogs can react differently.
  • Running away from a dog is interpreted as a sign of weakness and is likely to further encourage a dog to attack.
  • Dogs can also bite when they are overexcited; so teach your child to play nicely with your four legged friend.

Even well-trained dogs can have their bad days and just like humans they can become grumpy and snappy.  If your dog bites someone it’s important that you’re financially protected and that means finding a Dog Insurance policy with adequate Public Liability cover.

With the rise in the number of dog bites there’s been a corresponding rise in the number of people taking dog owners to court and seeking financial compensation. In fact, you can be held legally responsible for any injury caused by your dog including accidents. And if you don’t have Pubic Liability cover you could be left seriously out of pocket.

To find out more visit our Pet Insurance page.

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