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Posted in Dog Bites on September 30, 2021   |  by Gary Burger

Children and Dog Bites

Children and their dogs can have close bonds, but we must never forget that dogs are animals and sometimes they feel that they have to attack. As a parent or another family member of a young child or as any responsible pet owner, it is important to understand the roles we all play in keeping children safe from dog bite injuries. Dog bite injuries happen in Missouri and Illinois no matter how careful we are, so if your child or someone you know has been bitten and injured by a dog, you must speak with a qualified dog bite injury attorney right away. Burger Law's team of experienced dog bite lawyers will speak to you about your case for free and begin fighting to get you the recovery you deserve. Call us now at (314) 500-HURT or fill out this form. We are here for you.

Children and Dog Bites

The majority of serious and fatal dog bite injuries involve minor victims and 50% of children will be bitten by a dog at some point during their childhood. These tragedies can occur when children are not educated on how to behave with dogs or are around a dog unsupervised. Very young children who begin exploring increased mobility, such as learning to crawl or walk, can alarm even a dog who has been around the child from birth. There are many factors and situations that can cause a dog to become agitated and ready to attack. Once a dog attacks, the child's small size makes them vulnerable to more severe injuries. The damage a dog bite does on a child is much more than physical. Many dog bite victims, especially young people, suffer from lasting trauma and symptoms such as anxiety, phobias and nightmares after a fearful dog bite incident. We must do all that we can to prevent these horrific incidents from occurring to our children.

Preventing Dog Bites in Children

Whether you are a dog owner, a parent or both, we all have a part to play in preventing dog bite injuries from happening to our children. We each have a responsibility to do the following.

Dog Owners

The dog owner is responsible for their dog at all times. As a dog owner, you should:

  • Have your dog spayed or neutered
  • Properly train your dog
  • Supervise and leash your dog
  • Understand dog behavior and remove your dog from any situation where they are displaying anxious or aggressive behavior

All dog owners must be responsible and follow these simple rules. However, we all know that not everyone who should be responsible exercises that responsibility. That is why it is so important as a parent to understand what you can do and what you can teach your children to keep them safe from dog bite injuries.


As a parent, you want to keep your child safe from any and all dangers in the world. Even if your child is inherently gentle and good with animals, it is important to take these precautions:

  • Teach your children how to behave around dogs
  • Teach your children warning signs for a dog that is anxious or threatened
  • Never leave an infant or young child unsupervised around a dog
  • Do not allow your child to interact with a dog while it is eating or sleeping
  • Teach your child proper etiquette for approaching or petting a stranger's dog or any other dog
  • If your child is bitten by a dog, take action immediately and get your child emergency medical care


It is hard for children to resist the large eyes and soft, fluffy fur of a friendly pup. But they must learn the proper behavior and precautions before they are allowed to interact with any dog.

When interacting with dogs, a child should:

  • Always ask before approaching or petting another person's dog
  • Let the dog sniff his or her hand before touching the dog
  • Be gentle
  • Stay quiet and and still, avoiding eye contact with a dog that is unfamiliar and off-leash, such as a stray dog or a stranger's dog that got out of their yard
  • Get an adult if a strange dog approaches
  • Give a dog space: let the dog approach when it wants to play

A child should NEVER:

  • Play with a dog unsupervised or without permission
  • Approach a dog that is growling, barking, pacing or showing its teeth
  • Approach a dog whose tail is straight up in the air or tucked between their legs
  • Approach a dog whose ears are pinned back
  • Approach a stray dog
  • Try to pet a dog on the face, hold its face, or try to give it kisses
  • Tease a dog
  • Play tug-of-war or other aggressive games
  • Pull a dog's ears, legs or tail or drag the dog
  • Scream or make other loud noises around a dog
  • Try to pet a dog behind a fence, gate or car
  • Try to run from or chase a dog

St. Louis Dog Bite Injury Lawyers in Missouri and Illinois

The way to minimize the damage from a dog bite injury is to prevent the dog bite altogether. By educating ourselves, our friends and family as well as our children, we can reduce the risk of our children being injured in a traumatic dog bite attack. If a dog bite injury does happen to your child or someone else in your family, ensure that they get prompt medical attention and then call the dog bite injury attorneys of Burger Law. Our skilled attorneys will fight for you from day one and will not rest until we have helped you receive a full recovery. Speak to our lawyers for free now at (314) 500-HURT or online.