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Safety Around Dogs

In the UK around 20% of households have a dog. They are great to have around, helping child development, being a friend and are a member of the family.

Every year people visit Jersey's Emergency Department because they are bitten by a dog. Children are twice as likely to be bitten than any other age group and suffer more often from bites to the neck and head.

People often think that most bites occur in the street by unfamiliar dogs, that the main problem is caused by 'dangerous dog breeds' and children get bitten in the face more because they are small. In fact, most bites occur in the home and involve young children. The child's age is a significant factor.

For tips on how to say hello to dogs and behave around them click here

The dog is usually known to the child with most bites triggered by an interaction started by the child and a lack of parental supervision. What is known is there is no relationship between the dog's breed or size and facial injuries in children. Research from the University of Lincoln has shown young children misinterpret dogs' expressions. They do not recognise an angry dog face.

They are also more likely to lean in closely when they want to look at something. This combination along with getting excited around dogs, approaching them too quickly, talking loudly and trying to hug the animal can result in a bite.All dogs, big or small, can bite and cause an injury. Even the friendliest dogs can become uncomfortable and react by biting.

Do...

  • Always supervise your child around dogs.
  • Teach your child how to behave around dogs to decrease their risk of being bitten
  • Ask the owner for permission before petting a dog Move slowly around dogs so as not to startle them
  • Do not tease dogs - this makes them frustrated or angry Keep fingers together when feeding a dog a treat so they won't confuse the hand and the treat

Don't...

  • DON'T pet a dog playing with a toy because the dog may become defensive
  • DON'T try and pet a dog in its car or over the fence. Most dogs instinctively protect their property
  • DON'T creep up on a dog that is sleeping or eating since dogs may bite when startled or frightened