Sécurité avec les chiens | A child and his dog

Dog Bites

4 January 2009

A pet dog cat, bird, reptile, or even hamster can bite or scratch. Young children are especially at risk.

Recognizing signs of a potentially dangerous animal

A cat will make itself look big by arching its back and raising its fur. A cat may also hiss and push its ears back. 

A dog’s back fur will stick up as will the fur on its tail, it will push its ears back and it may growl and show its teeth.

When in the wild

Teach your child to not pursue wild animals and not to feed them. They may become aggressive.

What your child should know

  • Before he/she pats a dog, ask the owner about the dog’s nature.
  • Never hug or kiss a dog on the face.
  • Never disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating or protecting something.
  • Not to run away from an unknown animal. Move away slowly, giving the animal plenty of space.  
  • Tell a parent or other adult about stray or threatening animals.
  • Avoid animals he/she doesn’t know, animals that seem sick or afraid, or animals with babies.
  • Never hide an animal bite. Bites can be serious and require immediate medical attention. Tell an adult right away.  
  • Leave pets alone when they are sleeping or eating.  
  • Never play biting or attacking games with a pet.

Advice to parents

  • Remember to supervise your child near pets and animals at all times and follow the same recommendations yourself.
  • New puppies are popular holiday gifts for children but dog bites are common during the holiday season. Remember, pets are not toys, be informed.
  • If you are about to acquire a pet, try to find out some information about the animal and its breed.

Additional Resources:

Reviewed by Trauma specialists at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.
Last updated: April 2020

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