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How do you protect kids from dog bites?

Your child had a recent near-bite while petting a dog. To keep your loved one from becoming a dog-bite victim, you want to teach him or her how to stay safe around dogs.

The American Veterinary Medical Association offers tips for protecting kids from harm from canine companions. Keep your daughter or son from becoming a statistic.

Ask for permission

Help your child develop the habit of asking the owner for permission to pet a dog. Even friendly or familiar dogs may snap, and the owner may know this. Asking before petting benefits kids and dogs.

Stay away from unfamiliar dogs

No matter how friendly or cute an unfamiliar dog may be, your son or daughter should not approach it. Teach your child to avoid dogs they do not know who wander the streets off a leash or unsupervised. Rather than try to make friends, the better response is contacting local animal control.

Remain calm around aggressive dogs

Encountering an aggressive dog may make your child freeze up or grow frightened. Instruct your son or daughter to remain still with low, clasped hands and her or his head angled down when approached by an aggressive dog. If the aggressive dog does not approach, the safe response is slowly and quietly walking away.

Do not disturb a dog in a crate or bed

Let your child know the importance of respecting a dog’s time in a bed or crate. Dogs feel safe in these spaces, and they should enjoy their privacy without interruption or intrusion.

You cannot prevent every dog bite, but you may minimize the chances of your child sustaining one. Teach your daughter or son these tips as soon as possible.