Dogs and babies can get along like champs. However, it's not a rule that your dog will adore your new...
Dogs and babies can get along like champs. However, it's not a rule that your dog will adore your new baby. You do need to be aware of the dangers that dogs, even the well-loved family dog can pose to a baby and later an older child. MYTH - my long-time pet would never bite. FACT - most babies and kids are bit by family pets or by a dog that's owned by a friend, neighbor or family member. Stray dogs are responsible for very few bites in relation to dogs people know. Even if your dog has always been excellent with children that doesn't mean he won't act aggressively toward your child. Now that the two of them live together full-time there are many chances for conflict. Kids are notorious for bugging pets over and over and pets can only take too much. Never, ever leave your baby alone with the family dog. It's just plain not safe. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about 100,000 children under age 10 are treated in the emergency room annually for dog-bite-related injuries, and most happen in the home, with the family dog. MYTH - rabies are a big problem. FACT - rabies aren't that big a problem. Thanks to vaccinations very few bitten kids get rabies. Yes, kids can get other injuries, but usually kids don't get rabies. Be aware that wild animals can carry rabies though. MYTH - dogs usually bite or nip at hands; that's not so bad. FACT - research shows that dogs tend to bite little kids on their neck, face or head, not their hands. Usually research shows that this happens because kids like to stick their face right in a dog's face. A few safety tips: Once your baby starts crawling make sure you keep the dog dishes away from your baby. Dog food likely won't hurt your baby nutritionally, but can be a choking hazard. Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise and attention. Once the baby comes and you're busy, ignoring your dog can increase his agitation. Dog safety is not just for babies. As your child gets older she's even more likely to get bit because she's also more likely to agitate the dog.

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