Dog attacks can kill your child

Dog attacks and dog bites are amazingly common in America. According to this site, there are about 5 million dog bites per year. Over half of the people bitten by dogs are children.

There are four ways for your child to get bitten by a dog:

  • The family dog bites your child (by far the most common way)
  • A friend's dog or a neighbor's dog bites your child
  • Your child approaches a dog (even a dog on a leash) and gets bitten
  • An unleashed dog attacks your child
Here are several news stories that show what can happen:

Steps you can take

To protect your child against dog attacks, you should take the following steps:

  • You should NEVER leave an infant, toddler or child alone with the family dog or a friend's dog, even if the dog is "as gentle as a lamb" and "loves children". It does not matter if the dog is large or small. It does not matter what breed the dog is. Even if you are in the room, a baby or toddler should NEVER be left on the floor in the same room with any dog.

  • If you are playing or walking in an area with your child and a dog approaches, you should pick up your child and leave the area.

  • You should train your child to never walk up to and pat any dog on a leash, or any strange dog not on a leash. The child should always keep at a safe distance and ask the owner's permission before approaching any dog.
Un-neutered male dogs are the most agressive. If you have a dog and children, you should have the dog spayed or neutered.

If you have been around dogs all your life and if you love dogs, these measures sound extreme. They sound extreme only until you realize that there are 5 million dog bites in America every year, and more than half of them happen to children. The reason they happen to children is because children and dogs are about the same size (or the dog is larger). A dog can be intimidated by the physical size of an adult, but not by a child. The most common place for a dog to attack is the child's face. Dogs are animals, and even the best animals can act in unpredictable ways for unknown reasons.

A friend of mine was at home sitting on the couch. His daughter, a toddler, was on the floor watching TV in the same room. The family dog of 10 years ran over and bit the child on the face. The child was rushed to the emergency room and it stiches were required to repair the damage. There was no reason for the attack, and no provocation. Perhaps a sound on the TV set the dog off. Who knows? Then it happened again several months later, and they had the dog put down. This was a happy little lap dog that had never before shown signs of aggression. Dogs can be totally unpredictable.

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