Can “Man’s Best Friend” be Your Child’s Best Friend??

Best friends by Suzanne TennerAt the end of last month the headlines were about how a four year old girl was killed by a family dog. Last year there was a chilling story about a family dog that drug a newborn out of its crib- not even 24 hours after being brought home. No one knows why in either of these cases.

As a medic, I’ve seen more than my share of dog bite cases including one I will never, ever forget. Decades ago I was sent to transport a child across state to a teaching hospital for experimental surgery. The hope was that they would be able to create a new face for her to replace the one that the family dog chewed off. The father killed the dog on the spot. This did not end well for either human or canine.

I have six dogs so please don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those anti-dog people. I love dogs and have had them my entire life. Dogs and kids belong together – responsibly. Just like kids and pools, kids and bikes and kids and the internet -responsibly with parental supervision.

Here are some of my tips for a long healthy kid-pet relationship.

  • If someone (like an adoption professional) says your child and the pet you are interested in are not a good match- listen.
  • Learn about the dog breed you are interested in adopting. Some dogs for example are bred to herd animals- by nipping. Some dogs are just too big and may even pose a suffocation hazard to babies.
  • Socialize your dog to people of all ages and other pets soon and often.
  • Correct (with compassion) unwanted behavior. Dogs aren’t psychic they must be taught what is acceptable.
  • You would never leave your baby alone in a bathtub- don’t leave your baby alone with your pet either.
  • Teach your children and dogs how to interact safely.

Remember those very cute Easter Bunnies? They often like to nibble. Cats have been found in babies cribs blamed for infant deaths- accused of ‘stealing the baby’s breath.’

My life has been so much richer and fuller from having pets in my life. Some of my fondest memories are of my dogs (and yes my children too). Our pets and our children both are depending on us to assure a long, safe and happy relationship.

About the Author

Jim is a transportation safety expert with more than 40 years in both the emergency medical services and the school bus industries. Jim is a former member of the PedSafe Expert team and is proud to have been one of the original contributors to more than 13 years ago.


6 Responses to “Can “Man’s Best Friend” be Your Child’s Best Friend??”

  1. Dawn Allen Dawn says:

    Thank you very much. :o)
    .-= Dawn´s last blog ..One step closer =-.

  2. Julie says:

    Great post. I have two cats and two dogs, and although I never leave them with Monkey Mae unsupervised, I am trying to teach all of them mutual respect. So far, so good. 🙂

  3. Jo says:

    This is a great post.
    I have a Rhodesian Ridgeback and my two youngest are 9 and 10 years old. The first thing we did was to make sure the dog listens to the kids also and not just adults. The kids are more important than the dog and the dog needs to know this..I realize situations can happen of course and not to fully trust animals, but the kids need to learn to leave the dog alone when she wants to be alone. Many dogs get aggressive after the rabies shots so I believe in detoxing the dogs after the shots. Chemicals in food also tamper with the brains..
    .-= Jo´s last blog ..From the Kitchen Pantry – Natural Easter Egg Dye =-.

  4. MarkSpizer says:

    great post as usual!


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