Having a baby is a profound event for any parent.
However, it may be a challenge to raise this tiny human with your dog around.
Though dogs have been domesticated, they exhibit some predatory behavior which leaves many parents with uncertainty about the safety of their babies.
Dogs can tell the difference between a human baby and an adult human.
When a baby is brought into the family, dogs react differently, some may ignore it while others will show interest and hang around constantly.
Keeping dogs and having a baby around has raised questions among many parents around the world. The most common question being, “will my dog eat my baby? There have been reports of dogs attacking babies and eating them.
There’s a need to be more careful. No matter how harmless your dog may appear, don’t trust him to be around your baby without supervision.
Many people tend to think dogs won’t their babies because they know that they are humans, and naturally, dogs don’t eat humans.
However, this is a misconception that has made parents live with regrets.
According to Fatal Dog Attack Statistics, the age group with the highest number of fatalities is babies under the age one-year-old.
This group accounts for 19 percent of the death due to dog attacks, and of these, 72 percent were infants less than three months old.
Therefore, as a parent, don’t overly trust your dog, however friendly he may be.
In this article, we shall discuss how to keep your baby safe when you have a pet in your home.
Things You Must Do to Protect Your Child from Being Eaten by Your Dog
Having seen the statistics that your dog can be a serious threat to your baby’s life, it’s good to take precautionary measures to ensure your baby’s safety is guaranteed.
Here are some of the actions you’ll have to enforce.
1. Don’t Ever Leave Your Dog with Your Baby Unsupervised
You will naturally be excited about your baby and would want to start introducing your dog to the baby.
This safety precaution may sound unfriendly, but it’s for your own good.
Predatory behavior in dogs is real! Statistics have shown that most dogs attack when the baby is asleep in the crib.
You might be wondering how this could be, but the answer is simple.
Dogs are predatory animals, despite domestication, and may react off instinct; if your dog has a high prey drive, he may perceive your baby as a prey.
The things your baby does –crying, staring without blinking, could trigger a response in which your dog would eat the baby in an attempt to “attack the prey”.
2. Teach Your Dog How to Act Around Babies
You should introduce your dog to your baby to clear off his mind from the prey mentality.
He has to be aware that the baby is human and probably someone who will take care of him in the future.
However, this should be done with care. Make sure you first take your dog through an obedience course to ensure he grasps and obeys the commands you give him.
When you notice that your dog is overexcited when in the room with the baby, remove them until they calm down.
When the dog is calm, you can reward him by teaching him how to behave when around babies.
Ensure that when you are with the baby, your dog doesn’t jump or sit on you.
Give him a command to sit down with time; he will get used to it and learn that he will not always be the center of attention.
3. Prepare Resting Spots for Your Dog
This should be done before you bring your baby home.
Prepare areas where your dog can rest away from the house activities.
Use crates and baby gates to set up the place; these also provide safety to your dog.
Give him toys and chews to keep him engaged.
The arrival of a baby comes with attention-demanding activities.
And you’ll find yourself in a position where you cannot supervise your dog actively when he is with the baby.
In such a situation, send the dog to these spots to keep your baby safe.
4. Never Allow Your Dog to Lick Your Baby
It’s a common myth that when your dog licks your baby, it’s a sign of love.
Don’t buy into this illusion.
Dogs don’t show affection by licking or kissing. In fact, licking and excessive sniffing are a sign of stress.
These are key signs to watch for as they indicate that your dog is stressed about the baby and demands space.
Other symptoms include:
- Furrowing eyebrows
- Turning the head away
- Laying the ears low
You need to be watchful and if you see any of these signs, quickly separate the dog from the baby.
Please don’t punish the dog; instead, send him away calmly to a resting spot with chew toys.
5. Never Punish or Scold Your Dog
When you have your baby around, use positive reinforcement-based training methods on your dog.
Don’t scold or hit the dog in the baby’s presence.
This will make your dog associate your baby with these negative things and he will develop a hateful attitude towards the baby.
This might cause him to attack and eat the baby one day when you’re not watching.
Therefore, you must create a positive association with the baby in the dog’s mind.
6. Teach Your Baby to Be Gentle with Your Dog
When your baby begins exploring with her hands, she might grab the dog’s fur.
This might trigger a response, and the dog may attack her.
Therefore, teach the baby how to pet nicely. With time, they will get used to one another and become friends.
It is important to understand the danger that your dog can pose when around a baby.
Dogs are naturally curious and will want to explore new things in their environment, including babies.
This curiosity can lead them to bite or knocking over a child which could be fatal for both parties involved.
The best way to protect yourself and your family from this is by supervising any interaction between the two, teaching dogs how not to touch children (even while they sleep) with gentle training techniques.
And make sure you never punish your pup after it has interacted with a baby because this type of punishment may make him more aggressive towards infants in the future.