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Offered by: Jamie Campbell, M.D. – Premier Pediatrics

With ever growing popularity of “dog-friendly” venues, it is no surprise that Colorado ranks among the nation’s top “dog-friendly” states. Be it your family pet, service dog on a shopping trip, or Fido passing by for a walk on the trail – chances are that your children encounter dogs on a routine basis. The CDC estimates that more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year and about 800,000 require medical treatment. Injuries include pain, penetrating wounds, disfigurement, nerve damage, and infection. More than half of injuries occur in children, with the CDC ranking unintentional dog bite in the top 10 non-fatal injuries for those ages 5-9. While we want to believe that injuries are most likely to happen with an unknown dog, statistics show that more than half of injury includes dogs that are familiar.

Common Mistakes:

  • Approaching unfamiliar dogs without permission or dogs without owners
  • Approaching dogs unexpectedly or in high-risk situations
  • Trusting a known dog not to have an aggressive reaction
  • Sending signals that increase tension/aggression: rough play, running away, teasing, direct eye contact

TALK ABOUT IT: Teaching Pet Safety:

  • NEVER allow small to children to play with dogs (even familiar) unsupervised
  • NEVER approach an unknown dog without an owner
  • If an unknown or owner-less dog approaches you, stand “still like a statue” or “still like a tree”
  • ALWAYS ask permission before petting
  • ALWAYS let a dog see and sniff you before petting
  • AVOID approaching dogs in high-risk situations: eating, sleeping, taking care of puppies.

Mental Health
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