Child and dog safety during Coronavirus

Top tips for keeping dogs and children safe around one another during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

We are all being asked to stay at home during this difficult time, and that means that around the country dogs and children will be spending a lot more time together. Most dogs and children will be making the most of this time together and will relish the extra time to play, but with restrictions in place on leaving our homes, its possibly that both your children and dogs could become bored and frustrated, which could lead to a number of safety issues.

Issues to be aware of 

  • Young children are unable to fully read any warning signs and understand dog behaviour. The sort of behaviours that adults assume as being quite acceptable like removing the food bowl from a family dog while it is eating is not so straight forward when the task is conducted by a younger member of the family.  
  • More cases of dog bites are reported when family's spend long periods of time together (i.e. holidays and Christmas), especially when they cannot spend time out of doors.
  • Dogs that are not mentally and physically stimulated can become agitated which can contribute to unwanted behaviour.
  • Children under ten years old tend to be bitten more often than other age groups and its usually by a dog that is known to them i.e. a family dog and through a situation that they encounter on regular basis.
  • The every-day environment that a child encounters is more likely to be the place where they are most at risk. From knocking a ball into a neighbour’s garden where a dog is present or teasing or over exciting the family dog are common places where bites can happen.
  • Dogs bite for a reason, usually through fear, undue provocation or accidents. It could also be through a misunderstanding of a dog’s behaviour. Adults are more likely to be bitten on the fingers, hands and legs whilst children are bitten more likely to be bitten on the face and scalp.

Below are some hints and tips on how to keep both your dog and children stimulated and safe whilst at home.

Do's

  1. Get your children involved in looking after your dog, like feeding, brushing or exercising them. Make sure they are supervised at all times.
  2. Get your children involved in teaching your dog a new trick like give a paw, high five or spin on the spot or get your children to read a poem or short story to your dog.
  3. Encourage children to keep a daily diary as to how many tasks they complete and how many tricks they try to teach.
  4. Suggest some home or garden games that the children can create to help stimulate your dog, like hiding their favourite ball or a treat and getting your dog to find it.
  5. Teach your child how your dog communicates so that they start to read your dog and recognise when to play, when stop and when your dog needs space.
  6. Make sure your children wash their hands with soap and warm water after interacting with your dog, their food or their bedding.
  7. If your child show's signs of coronavirus (persistent new cough or high temperature) you should try to keep your dog away from your child for seven days.

Find more tips on keeping your dog stimulated during the coronavirus pandemic.

Don'ts

  1. Never leave a young child and dog alone together.
  2. Never allow your child to pull your dog’s ears, tail or fur.
  3. Always leave resting and sleeping dogs alone and allow your dog some quiet time. Don’t over fuss, kiss or cuddle them too much.
  4. If your dog’s bed is near a walk way move it to a quiet place in the house or make a safe den for your dog, somewhere your dog can go to relax while the children can play uninterrupted.
  5. Ensure children keep calm around your dog as they can get upset by people, screaming, shouting , running around or arm waving.
  6. Never let our children approach your dog when it is eating or chewing.

 

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