Pet owners are used to the responsibilities of having a dog. This often includes organising care for them when they go away, finding the most suitable premium dog food and taking them for regular walks.
However, one pet safety campaigner has said that their responsibilities go further than these basic requirements as they have urged parents to make sure their dogs are safe around children.
Angela McGlynn, who lost her four-year-old son John Paul Massey when his uncle's dog attacked him, said that adults can't "just rely on the government" to prevent dangerous dog attacks.
She added that dog owners must become more aware of the dangers that come with owning having a canine in your family.
There are certain steps that you can take to ensure that your dog is as safe as possible when around small and excitable children. It's important to take these steps, even if you think you have a calm and friendly dog, as any animal can become annoyed or defensive in an instant.
- Have any dogs spayed/neutered as unaltered animals inflict more bites on people than any other dogs, whether male or female.
- If you are about to buy or adopt a dog, make a well-informed decision when it comes to what breed you bring into your home. Some will naturally be more friendly with small children and other dogs.
- Make sure your child and dog both know how to interact with each other and never leave a dog alone with a small child.
- Training your dog and taking them for regular walks will help your pet to become more obedient and less likely to lash out.
- Try and make sure that there is a place in your home that your dog can run away to and where small children are allowed to go. This will give your canine the choice to leave rather than feel like it has to fight if it is overwhelmed by a situation.
- Make sure your dog has regular check-ups with the vet and is up-to-date on their vaccinations. A hurting or ill dog is more likely to get distressed and therefore is more likely to bite.
Written by: Hannah