Like humans, dogs can also exhibit excitement, fear and aggression. While you might want your child to experience how adorable dogs are, they might not know how to approach one. Before you know it, the dog is growling and baring its teeth while your child is traumatized for life.
How often do dogs bite children?
Each year, there are 4.5 million dog bites, 20% of which involve children. Reports show that children aged five to nine are especially vulnerable to dog bites. Because children are short and therefore more reachable to a dog, a dog bite can cause severe damage to their head and neck region.
Dogs mainly bite out of fear
A dog that is not used to people or children may become afraid and start growling in self-defense. No matter how friendly a dog looks, it could attack if it lacks socialization or is under stress.
Here are some of the most common reasons a dog might bite a child:
- The dog was resource guarding. Many dogs do not want others, such as children, to touch or be around their food, toys and sleeping area.
- The child set off the dog’s fight or flight response while playing. Dogs dislike being cornered or stuck, so they might try to get out by attacking the person blocking their way.
- The child made eye contact. For some dogs, a direct stare is a sign of intimidation.
- The dog was uncomfortable. Children might poke, pull the dog’s tail or scream, which could stress out the dog.
- The dog was overstimulated. Some dogs can endure brief interactions with children, but they may snap if they don’t get a break.
There are many other ways a child could trigger a dog. It’s also important to remember that not all dogs are trained, and even those who are may not like children at all.
Dogs are known to be man’s best friend, so it can be surprising when one starts growling or becomes aggressive toward a child. If someone else’s dog bites your child, the pet owner may be liable for damages. However, that is not an excuse for endangering your child.
As a parent, you are responsible for keeping your child safe. If you see a dog and want to get close to it with your kid, you should always get the owner’s permission first.