Of the almost five million people injured every year by dog bites, more than half of them are children under the age of 14. Here are some dog bite prevention tips for parents from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
Pick a good match. Consult a veterinarian for details about the best dog breed for children.
Socialize your dog. Gradually expose your puppy to a variety of people and other animals so it feels at ease in these situations; continue this exposure as your dog gets older.
Train your dog. Training builds a bond and teaches trust.
Avoid aggressive games like wrestling or tug-of-war with your dog.
Neuter your dog and vaccinate against rabies and other diseases.
Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
Teach your child how to act around a strange dog. Tell your child not to pet any dog without an owner present, and only after asking permission. Show your child how to touch a dog gently, avoiding the face, head and tail.
Tell your child not to bother a dog if it is sleeping, eating or caring for puppies.
Tell your child not to run past a dog.
If a dog threatens you, remain calm. Avoid eye contact. Stand still until the dog leaves, or back away slowly. If you are knocked down, curl into a ball and protect your face with your hands. If a dog bites your child, clean small wounds with soap and water and seek medical attention for larger wounds. Contact the dog's veterinarian to check vaccination records.
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