Dog Safety Guidelines for Your Household
Taking care of a family pet is an excellent way for children to become more responsible and empathetic, but it’s important for parents to be mindful of the potential risks. Even the gentlest of canines can inadvertently cause serious injuries that require intensive care in a children’s hospital. Establishing and enforcing some simple guidelines can help keep everyone safe from dog-related injuries. If an accident does occur, the children’s emergency care team at Sunrise Children’s Hospital is available around the clock.
Obedience training is a must for dogs in households with children. Kids can easily sustain serious injuries if overly enthusiastic dogs jump on them and knock them over. They can sustain fall-related injuries, and hand and wrist trauma while walking dogs that are too large for the kids to control. A dog may suddenly take off after a squirrel, which can make the child fall. If the leash is wrapped around the child’s hand, the bones and soft tissues can sustain substantial damage. Obedience classes can help prevent these injuries. It’s also essential to get your dog spayed or neutered, and to socialize your dog properly to prevent dog attacks that require emergency care.
Emergency care doctors treat children for dog bites more frequently than adults. This can be partially attributed to children’s behavior around canines, which may be interpreted as threatening by the dog. Give your child frequent reminders not to approach unfamiliar dogs without parental and owner permission. When a dog is approachable, your child should walk slowly toward him or her before holding out the back of the hand for the dog to sniff. Teach your child to pet very gently and to back away if the dog looks upset.
The most impactful way to prevent dog-related injuries is to require adult supervision at all times when young children are near dogs. A responsible adult can remind the child how to behave near the dog, and separate the dog from the child when needed.
The safety and well-being of our young patients are our highest priorities here at Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas. In addition to our high-quality children’s emergency care and non-emergent pediatrics, we offer Child Life services to help kids feel at ease in the hospital setting. Please direct medical emergencies to 911, but non-emergent healthcare questions may be directed to a registered nurse at (702) 233-5437.