Yahoo: Dog safety for kids, what parents need to know
By Irina Gonzalez
Maybe your family has a dog, or you visit friends and relatives who do. But even if you aren't pet owners or around animals on a regular basis, your child is bound to cross paths with a dog — leashed, unleashed, service animals and so on — while out on a walk, at the park or even while shopping or dining. It's hard to predict how your child or the dog in question will feel or react in the moment — frightened? eager to play? — which is why it's crucial for parents to do their part by teaching basic safety guidelines.
“Even if your family does not have a dog, it would not be unusual for a child to encounter a dog at some point,” Aimee Hoflander, a staff educator and facility dog handler at Children’s Mercy Kansas City, tells Yahoo Life.
Depending on their size, dogs may feel threatened by young kids who are at eye level, and toddlers can be especially scary and unpredictable for animals. What's the best way to keep everyone safe? Ahead, experts share the rules of basic boundaries around dogs and tips for teaching even the smallest of kids safe behavior.
Learn basic dog safety boundaries
First and foremost, parents and caretakers need to understand basic dog safety boundaries themselves, says Hoflander. These include:
- Always ask the handler if you may pet or approach their dog
- Pet a dog in the direction from their shoulder toward their tail
- Do not pet the top of the dog's head
- Speak in a low voice and move gently to help dogs feel safe
- Never approach a dog if you have food in your hand or pocket
Read the full article via Yahoo! Life