LOS ANGELES – An increase in dogs biting children has been reported in Los Angeles County as more children are home full-time during the coronavirus pandemic.
Most of the dog bites have occurred while a family dog was eating, playing with a toy, challenged, or hurt by a child, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Control and Care.
To minimize the chance of a child being bitten by a family pet, the department suggests parents:
— create quiet places for their dogs to retreat, where children will not disturb the pet, as a house always full of children may be exhausting for the dog.
— realize that small children often have not developed skills to recognize signs of stress or danger from animals, and they should be monitored while interacting with pets.
— be especially protective of older pets, who may have arthritis, causing pain when children hug them or pat them too hard, or may have hearing or vision loss, causing them to be startled when a child suddenly appears in their space.
— stop children from interfering with animals while they eat.
— do not allow children to climb on dogs, pull their ears, tug their tails, play with their mouths or engage in any behavior that may aggravate the dogs.
— help your dog to socialize with children and try to identify the stress generating causes. It will help your dog to calm down and play with children in a better way.
“Most pets are well-adjusted family members and live harmoniously with their families. However, even the best pet may lash out if they are excessively harassed or challenged,” Marcia Mayeda of Animal Control and Care said.