Preventing dog bites

The best way to prevent dog bites is to make sure your dog is well socialised and trained from puppyhood onwards. Anxious dogs are more likely to bite, so recognising anxiety will give you early warning that your dog is uncomfortable and might bite.

Never leave children under 10 unsupervised with any dog, even the family pet, and teach all children the basics of dog safety. Even the friendliest dog can react if it’s scared or feels threatened.

What kids need to know about dogs

  • Leave dogs alone when they are eating or are near their food.
  • Don't grab or cuddle a dog around the neck, as this can frighten it.
  • Don't surprise a sleeping dog.
  • Always ask the owner before you pat their dog.
  • Don't enter a strange dog's yard without the owner being present.
  • Don't play with any dog unless the owner is watching.
  • Don't play with a dog with a litter of puppies, especially while the mother is still feeding them.
  • Take care not to get dogs over-excited when you play with them.

Download the Preventing dog bites fact sheet

Here are some more handy resources about recognising the signs that a dog is feeling scared, how to greet a dog and how kids should and should not interact with dogs.

© Dr Sophia Yin and reproduced with permission.

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