Curbing the Uptick of Dog Bites to Children During COVIDAnyone who has ever been around a dog, especially if you grew up with one, knows they tend to bring out the best in people. There is just something about their nature that makes you want to be near them. Maybe it’s the unconditional love and loyal companionship or maybe it’s their quirky personalities, but if you’re a “dog person” you’re just drawn to them. As dog-loving parents, you can’t wait to impart that amazing feeling onto your children, but sometimes it can end badly.

Every year emergency rooms treat approximately 340,000 dog bite injuries. Just under half of those bites – about 400 a day – are to children. Covid has been not only illuminating this problem but driving it.

Covid has forced families to be at home the vast majority of the time, leading to prolonged exposure and interaction with their dogs. Because dogs are so keenly aware of their humans’ emotions, which gives them cues on how to behave or react, it stands to reason that if people are frustrated and stressed over being cooped up, dogs will feel that same stress and can react accordingly. Small children can be critically injured if a stressed-out family pet starts snapping in displeasure.

Dog adoptions rising during a pandemic may be a bad thing

Dog fostering and adoptions rose substantially during the pandemic, which at first blush sounds like a great thing. People suddenly found themselves at home a lot more and felt it was the perfect time to bring a pet into their slowed-down lives. Parents also felt it was a prime opportunity with children being home to teach them the responsibilities of pet care and compassion towards animals.

What many parents have failed to consider is that not all rescuers thoroughly screen dogs for aggression. Sometimes, they simply can’t: shelter intake teams almost never know the dog’s background with regard to abuse or neglect, and what may trigger dangerous behavior as a result. A child can be bitten during a split-second altercation between two pets, or just while playing with the new furry addition to your family who perceived a move your child made as threatening.

Ways to prevent dog bites to children

If you have children in your home and you have a dog, you need to pay extra attention to their interactions. Even if you don’t have children in your home, you need to be attentive to your canine companion to be sure he or she doesn’t pose a risk to children playing near your home.

Some tips to avoid dog bite injuries include:

  • Even if the dogs are on a leash or in a fenced yard, do not allow your children to walk up to strange dogs to pet them without first asking the owner’s permission.
  • Teach children not to taunt dogs, play aggressively with them, or run from them.
  • Make sure your dog is properly socialized with both animals and children.
  • If you rescue a dog from a shelter, have him/her evaluated by a trained behaviorist to determine whether there are triggers that may cause biting and learn how to avoid them.
  • Remain at a distance when any dog is caring for puppies, eating food, or chewing treats.
  • Don’t wake a sleeping dog, especially if it appears the dog is having a bad dream. Interrupting a dream can inadvertently cause a reaction based on the dream – just like it does with humans.

Dogs are as complicated as people and can be dangerous in their own way, though not with the same intent. Just the same, dog owners are liable for the harm they cause to other people. If you or your child has been the victim of an aggressive dog, the Minot dog bite injury lawyers at Larson Law Firm, P.C. can help you seek compensation for your physical and emotional wounds. To schedule your free consultation in our Minot or Bismarck offices, call 701-484-HURT, or we invite you to reach out to us through our contact page.