What should I do if a dog bites my child? Here’s What to Expect

What If the Kid Unintentionally Provoked the Dog?

It happens. “Toddlers cant really discern how to be gentle with anyone or anything,” Dr. Elmaraghy points out. “If you watch how a toddler interacts with their parents, sometimes they smack them in the face or they poke their fingers in their eyes and ears. They are exploring their world. And when they see a dog, thats just one more thing that they need to explore by poking and prodding. And a dog is not going to process that very well,” he cautions. Even the gentlest dogs can be provoked. “Dogs are obviously very territorial and they perceive children more of a threat than I think people really understand,” Dr. Elmaraghy says.

Its especially important for parents to keep their little ones away from the family dog while the pet is eating or sleeping, for safety. Boundaries are everything, whether your little one is old enough to be perceptive of them or not. Moreover, toddlers should always be supervised around dogs, regardless of your pups disposition.

What to Do If Your Dog Bites Your Child

First, immediately separate the dog and the child and assess the wound. Did the bite break skin? Is there blood? Does your child need to go to the emergency room? Once you have a plan, double-check to ensure both your child and your pup are up to date on their vaccinations. “You have to really make sure the child is not in any more immediate danger,” explains Dr. Elmaraghy.

Depending on the severity of the wound, dont be surprised if the child is skittish — or plain terrified — around dogs for the time being, or in the near future. “The childs going to be traumatized,” warns Dr. Elmaraghy. “Because a dog bite can be painful and fairly severe.” In general, until you can figure out why the bite happened and what youll be doing to prevent it from happening again, keep the dog and the child away from each other.

Why do dogs bite?

You may have the sweetest, most gentle, most even-tempered dog thats ever existed. But that dog can bite, and in certain circumstances, even the sweetest dogs WILL bite. Dogs most often bite in response to a stressful situation; biting isnt always a sign that the dog is aggressive, but it is their natural and completely normal defense mechanism. All dogs will respond differently to different stimuli or stresses. Some dogs have a very high bite threshold, and can withstand a lot of noise and activity and doesnt get anxious easily. Other dogs have a very low bite threshold, and will bite if theyre startled, bothered in even the slightest of ways, or uncomfortable. Some common bite triggers in dogs include loud noises, pain, anxiety, or fear.

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Why Do Dogs Bite Children? Parents, You Can Prevent Dog Attacks In Kids!