Safety First: Tips for Kids to be Safe Around Dogs

Safety First: Tips for Kids to be Safe Around Dogs


Children and dogs can be best friends, but it’s very important that kids are taught how to be safe around dogs to prevent accidents.  Whether it is a familiar dog, a new one, or even your own pet, there are certain ways children should approach a dog.  Below, the American Kennel Club outlines the steps kids should take before petting any dog.

  • Ask permission: It’s very important to ask a dog’s owner first if you can pet the dog.  Not every dog reacts the same way to strangers petting them, and the owner will know if the dog is friendly and if it is safe for you to approach.

  • Approach calmly: If the owner says yes, make a fist, extend your hand slowly to the dog, and let him sniff the back of your hand.  Dogs recognize people by scent, so letting him sniff your hand lets him become familiar with you.

  • Where to pet: Once the dog has sniffed your hand, pet him gently under the chin or on the chest.

  • Don’t hug dogs: Kids should never hug a dog.  Dogs don’t hug each other, and they don’t understand hugs to mean love and affection like humans do.  Wrapping your arms around a dog can stress him out and lead to a potential negative reaction.

  • Keep your chin up: Never put your face down in front of a dog.  This can be threatening to the dog and cause him to react.

Every so often, kids may come across a loose dog in the neighborhood with no owner present.  Parents should tell their children never to approach a dog they don’t know, however, sometimes they may find themselves in a situation where a strange dog approaches them. If your child encounters a strange dog they should not run away, yell or make other loud noises that may scare the dog. Instead, tell them to stand still with their arms crossed over their chest and to look away from the dog and avoid direct eye contact.