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Dog Bite Prevention Tips for Kids

Dog Bite Prevention Tips for Kids

A dog and a kid.


While kids and dogs are often the best of friends, and most dogs show remarkable patience around children, it’s still a good idea to teach kids how to know when their actions might trigger stress in a dog.

They should also know dog body language signals their family dog gives when he might be getting annoyed and running out of patience. 

A kid smiling while hugging a dog.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), "Most dog bites affecting young children occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs." Preventing dog bites is possible, there are many things we can do to prevent it.

The organization Doggone Safe advocates for dog bite prevention through education, and has a ton of great resources for people interested in learning more about safe canine-human interactions, particularly with kids.

Dog owners must always practice responsible dog ownership.

Here are a few simple tips to teach the kids in your life about how to safely interact with dogs:


Three big dogs and two kids outside a house.

Reasons a Dog May Bite a Child

  • The dog is protecting a possession, place, or person.
  • The dog may be old, injured, or sick.
  • The dog may not have learned proper control and bites too hard during play.
  • The dog’s hunting or herding instinct could be triggered by the child’s voice or movements.
  • The child has done something to provoke, startle, or frighten the dog.
  • The child unintentionally hurts the dog by stepping on his tail, etc.


A child petting a dog.

Dog Bite Warning Signs

  • The dog turns his head away or walks away from the child.
  • The dog looks to you for help.
  • The whites of the dog’s eyes can be seen.
  • The dog yawns and/or licks his lips when the child is nearby.
  • The dog will start biting, scratching, or licking himself.
  • The dog does a vigorous shake after being touched.

Dog bites are likely to happen soon if the dog freezes into a stiff position, especially with front legs spread and head low, looking at the child with lip curled to show teeth. An aggressive dog's ear may always be up and forward, their tail may be straight up - or even wag.

The majority of dog bites happen with some warning, although we can't always spot the signs nor predict dog behavior. Dog owners must teach children how to respect a dog so we can prevent dog bites from happening.

How To Deal With a Loose Dog/Unfamiliar Dog

  • In case your child loves to pet dogs other than your family dog, remind them not to pet dogs without asking their dog owner first.
  • Let a dog sniff you first you and your kid before petting unfamiliar dogs.
  • Do not touch the tail and face of the dog.
  • Always a the dog gently.
  • If loose dogs or strange dogs come near your child, tell them not to scream or run. They should also not look the dog in the eye and just remain still, until the dog loses interest.
  • Tell your child that if a dog ever push them to the ground then they should curl up in a ball.

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