Dogs & Toddlers

SAFETY

Dogs & Toddlers

Most family pets are very reliable with children, even toddlers who are, by nature, somewhat disrespectful and rough. So often, a family dog is a real treasure for the growing child and can be very character-forming and a store of wonderful memories can build up during childhood. However, heart-rending stories hit the news, every so often, of terrible injuries and even death caused to children (esp. toddlers), inflicted by a family dog. Occasionally, the primitive nature of a dog can take the upper hand, particularly in a ‘pack' situation.

The advice must be:

  1. No matter how reliable a dog seems, do not leave a toddler alone with the dog. No dog can be considered 100% safe. The risks are too high.
  2. As early as possible, try to instil in a toddler a respect for dogs and their personal space.
  3. Avoid balls, bones, sweets, treats and other cherished objects being around when a toddler is with the dog.
  4. Avoid situations in which a dog may feel rejected or jealous.
  5. Avoid boisterous noisy games with a toddler around the dog. An excited dog can go too far, especially if there are several dogs.
  6. Avoid toddler interference around the dog's meal times.
  7. Do not leave uneaten food lying around.
  8. A bitch on heat can behave differently or make other dogs and bitches behave differently. Hormonal influences can drastically alter the prevailing dynamic in a household.
  9. These points become even more important when more than one dog is around.
  10. These points may be more important when the toddler is a visitor to the house, e.g. in a grandparent's home.
  11. Wide open spaces, away from a dog's territory, are generally safer, although vigilance is always necessary.