Tips for keeping your Kids & Family safe around dogs

Dogs can make great pets and most people who own dogs feel they are part of the family.  However, dogs can also bite, which can lead to serious injury and even death


Pets and your Family

Dog Safety Tips for Parents

You can reduce the chances of children in your care being bitten or injured by a dog if you teach them some basic safety tips:

  • Never approach an unfamiliar dog.
  • Never run from a dog and scream.
  • Always ask permission before petting someone else's dog.
  • Stay still when an unfamiliar dog comes up to you.
  • If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still.
  • Do not look an aggressive dog in the eye.
  • Do not disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
  • Do not pet a dog without letting it see and sniff you first.
  • When allowing dogs to sniff your hand, hold out your hand with the palm facing you.  This allows you to pull your hand away quickly if the dog tries to bite.

Taking Control

  • Never let children play with a dog unless supervised by an adult.
  • Never leave an infant or child alone with any dog.
  • Do not play aggressive games with your dog, such as wrestling.
  • Seek medical care for any serious dog bites and report all dog attacks.
  • Teach your dog submissive behaviors, like rolling over to show its stomach.
  • Support animal-control programs in your community and the enforcement of local laws regulating dangerous or vicious dogs.
  • Support dog bite prevention educational programs in schools
  • Work with a Veterinarian.
  • Get the advice of a veterinarian about the right breed of dog if you are thinking about getting a family dog.
  • Spay or neuter your dog, this often reduces its aggressive tendencies.
  • Be sure all pets are properly immunized.
  • Seek a veterinarian's advice quickly if your dog becomes aggressive.


  • During 1995-96 in the United States, at least 25 persons died as the result of dog attacks. Twenty of these deaths were among children.
  • In 1994, an estimated 4.7 million persons in the United States were bitten by dogs. Of these, roughly 800,000 persons sought medical care for the bite. Over half (420,000) of those getting medical care were children.
  • Children are often bitten on the face, and any bite can cause severe injury or infection.
  • Small children may cause a dog to act in a dominant way toward a child. Many children's lack of judgment and ignorance about how to behave around a dog and their inability to fend off an attack can add to the risk. It is very important that parents closely supervise children when around dogs.