Dog safety

Dogs make wonderful pets and are a part of many Australian homes. They help children to learn about responsibility, establish routines and develop friendships. As much as they can bring fun and happiness to the lives of many families, there is a risk to children from dogs. All dogs have a basic survival instinct which can cause them to attack. Any dog is capable of biting a child.

Children who are bitten by dogs are often bitten by their own dog at home or a dog they know. A dog will usually bite a child around their face and head.

Knowing the right way to act around dogs is important to avoid being hurt.

Safety tips

  • Always supervise your child when they are near dogs
  • Teach your child to pat dogs gently and calmly and never to pull their tail or ears
  • Don’t try to pat dogs that are eating, sleeping, playing with a toy, growling, backing away, raising the hair on their back, raising puppies or fighting with another dog
  • Be aware that when you play aggressive games with your dog, such as wrestling, it may raise their levels of aggravation
  • Train your dog to sit, stay, drop and come to establish boundaries and discipline
  • Only approach other dogs after your child asks permission from the owner. Make sure they approach the dog slowly with the back of their hand extended.

For more information on how to interact safely with animals, visit