Children, Dogs and Safety

We once had a dog named Liza. She was a mixed breed and very smart. She had a repertoire of tricks that never failed to impress visitors. Liza was a high strung dog and one day I looked out the back door and saw her nip at our oldest son, who was about four years old at the time and who happened to be pulling her tail! She didn’t hurt him but the incident made an impression on me. I had a long talk with my son and watched them both more closely from then on.

About a week ago I was driving somewhere and listening to the radio when I heard about an incident that happened in my home state of Kentucky Three little boys were playing with a pit bull somewhat aggressively. They were told to stop by an adult and they did, but when one of the boys stared at the dog it jumped up, bit his nose off and swallowed it. The dog was euthanized. The nose removed and put back on the little boy.

I can’t imagine how traumatic that was for everyone who witnessed it, most of all the little boy it happened to.

Man’s Best Friend Has Sharp Teeth 

About 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year and more than half of the victims are children, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. About 800,000 people seek medical attention for the bites. Less than half of those people require treatment and about 16 die, the agency said.

The ASPCA (The American Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) predicts half of all children in the United States will be bitten by a dog before they turn 12. The majority of bites will be from the family dog or the dog of a neighbor or friend.

Dogs and Children

I love dogs. We have always had pets and always will, but after the incident with my son I am very cautious about dogs and young children. My nephew was also bitten (on the face) by a dog when he was a little boy. I don’t think young children should be left alone with pets under any circumstances. Even pets you trust can surprise you. As a matter of fact the owner of the dog that bit the boys nose off said he had raised the dog from a puppy and it had never shown any signs of aggression.

I also think certain breeds are more prone to aggression. Pit bulls, Rotweillers, Chows, and Dobermans are four that I found listed on several web sites. Having said that I will add that my brother once owned a Doberman was that one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever known, but I still wouldn’t have left in a room alone with a child.

Here are some recommendations about children and dogs from the ASPCA.

A youngster should never stare into a dog’s eyes, tease a dog, approach a chained dog, touch an off-leash dog, run or scream if approached by a loose dog, play with a dog while it is eating or touch a dog while it is sleeping. If a loose dog comes close, children should stand very still and be very quiet. Always ask a dog’s owner for permission to pet it and let the dog sniff your closed hand before you start touching it. 

You can read about the incident I mentioned here…—dog_bite_-_gleaner/

What are your thoughts about children and dog safety? Have you ever known a parent or grandparent whose child was bitten?

Roxy, our German Shepherd, has never offered to bite anyone but I still wouldn’t leave my grandchild alone in a room with her. Children can startle or even agitate a dog just by crying, hitting them or pulling on them.


  1. I was bitten by my babysitters chow as a child and it was very scaring, in both senses. I was terrified of dogs from that moment on. I have tried very hard since having kids to get over it and not to pass on that fear to my kids, but I have still seen it in them. They have a VERY cautious respect for all dogs!

  2. n. foss 21 Jan, 2013

    my grandchild approached my shepherd while he was eating, he put his paw on her chest and pushed her down. that was something I had never heard of. he did not bite her but he pushed her away from his food. He is a good dog.

  3. teresak 21 Jan, 2013

    Wow, he is a good dog! Thanks for commenting!

  4. teresak 21 Jan, 2013

    Oh wow, Tiff! So sorry about that and hope history NEVER repeats itself with your kids! hugs, T