We published an article back in February highlighting the risks of not properly understanding your dog's body language and how to educate your children in recognising signs of aggression in dogs.
New figures from the NHS show that 23,000 people were admitted to hospital following dog bites or dog-related injuries in the past three years. Following the publication of these numbers, the RSPCA has now also published six golden rules for keeping your child safe and your dog happy.
RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: “While dog bites are thankfully still generally quite rare these figures show that, unfortunately, the number of hospital admissions due to dog bites are continuing to increase.
“The RSPCA believes it’s incredibly important that dog owners ensure their pets are properly cared for and are happy and healthy. Providing the right training and positive experiences will help shape well-rounded, friendly dogs but it’s also crucial that people - adults and, specifically, children - learn how to act around dogs, how to have positive interactions with dogs, and how to understand their body language and behaviour. Parents should always supervise children when interacting with dogs and react if the dog shows any signs of being uncomfortable.
“Dogs can bite for many reasons, such as an underlying illness or injury, or because they’re frightened of certain circumstances. It’s also important to remember that any dog - irrespective of breed, size or history - has the potential to show aggression and cause injury if they’re frightened, uncomfortable or in pain. That is why the RSPCA is campaigning to #EndBSL - legislation which labels four types of dogs as ‘dangerous’ based on their appearance.
“Any dog owners with concerns about their pet’s behaviour should seek advice from their vet or a clinical animal behaviourist. There’s more information about aggression in dogs online as well as advice for parents about children and dogs interacting safely.”
The Royal College of Surgeons attributes the rise in admissions to the increase in ownership of small dogs. They believe that people may be unaware of the damage even small dogs are capable of causing and that less care is required.
The French Bulldog is now Britain's most popular dog ahead of the Labrador with nearly 15,000 being registered in 2018 compared to around 1,500 in 2009.