Many children love animals, enjoy close relationships and learn life lessons from their own pets. However, there are responsibilities and risks involved when children and animals are together.It is important that children are taught the skills to behave safely around animals, and to prevent and recognise any problems that may arise.Teach children to always treat animals gently and calmly. Never hurt, tease, frighten, surprise or corner an animal.Separate children and animals including pets during noisy high-energy play, when food is present, and when the animal or child is sleeping. Never disturb an animal that is eating or sleeping.
There is a proportion of children who are injured each year due to an incident with a dog. Children five years old or younger are most at risk and are most frequently bitten by their own or a friend’s dog, usually in or around the home. Incidents are usually triggered by a child’s interaction with the dog during play, eating or when the dog is sleeping.. Children always need constant, close supervision when near dogs, especially during play when children must be gentle with dogs.to leave a dog alone when it is sleeping or eating. Children must leave a dog alone when it lifts its lips, growls, backs away, raises the hair on its back or stares at you.Dogs need lots of exercise. Encourage your children to join you on walks with the dog. Remember to use a leash when walking your dog.Do not allow your pet to roam alone in a baby’s room.Don’t allow your pet to lick your child’s face or any cuts or scratches.Never leave a young child alone with an animal. Accidents can happen when children tease pets or touch them in a way that makes them uncomfortable.Don’t let your child touch a dog or stand near him during times of heightened excitement—for example, while the dog is eating; when someone comes to the door; or when the dog is barking at a squirrel in the yard or at someone through the window.
When choosing a dog to be part of your family, research what breed will be best for your lifestyle and environment. Training, socialising with adults, children and other animals, and keeping your dog healthy are essential.