How to Keep Toy Breed Dogs Safe Around Kids
Toy dogs are extremely fragile animals that require relatively delicate handling. If you have children, you will need to teach your children to handle the dog safely. You will need to be mindful about how your children interact with the small dog and teach them to interact with it in ways that will not cause it harm. Demonstrating how to play with the animal safely and gently will ensure that the both the child and the dog do not get hurt. Finally, you should instruct your child on how to care for the delicate dog properly in order to avoid injuring or harming the animal.
Ensuring Safe Behavior
1. Supervise the children around the dog.
To keep your kids from harming your toy dog, or vice versa, you should always supervise interactions between them. If your child wants to play with the animal, make sure that they do it where you can watch them. This way you can quickly intervene and stop your child from harming the dog. It also makes it easier for you to provide teachable moments about proper pet care.
- Make it a rule that the kids can only play with the dog in the living room or backyard so that you can keep an eye on them.
2. Teach your children proper dog manners.
To ensure that your child and dog do not have a bad interaction, you should teach your child about how to interact with the dog. Because toy dogs are already particularly anxious dogs, you should instruct your child to avoid approaching the dog from behind or hovering over it. This increases the dog’s anxiety levels and the likelihood that it may hurt itself. It also increases the likelihood of the dog biting the child.
- In order to maintain your dog’s health, it is important that your children not startle or scare your toy dog. High anxiety can lead increased illness for your dog.
- For example, your child may scare the dog, causing it to jump and hurt itself.
- Teach your kids to always leave a clear escape route for the dog when they interact, so that the dog does not feel cornered or trapped.
3. Familiarize your children with dog body language.
Small dogs feel threatened easily, and they may lash out or bite if they feel cornered, trapped, or harassed. A dog’s body language can offer clear warning signs that the dog is feeling anxious or defensive. Teach your child to leave the dog alone if they see the it:
- Tucking in its tail.
- Averting its eyes.
- Licking its lips.
4. Tell your children to be mindful of the dog.
Because of their small size, toy dogs can sometimes go unnoticed. If they are not watching where they are going, your child can easily trample the dog. They might also hit it with a swinging door or drop things on it. Remind your children that they should look down and always have an idea of where the dog is located.
- Ask your children to not run in the house or swing any doors. This will help keep them from inadvertently hurting the dog.
5. Keep smaller children away from toy dogs.
Many children, particularly when they are young, have a hard time gently showing affection. They often cause dogs pain by squeezing, pinching, hitting, and poking them. Younger children often have no idea that they are hurting the animals. With toy dogs, young children can seriously hurt a dog or cause it to bite them.
- Toy dogs are not ideal for children. They are often territorial and anxious, which makes them a bad match for rambunctious and intrusive children. Talk to your veterinarian if you are thinking about a toy dog for your child.
Demonstrating Safe Interactions
1. Show an older child how to touch a dog gently.
Teach your older children to be gentle with your toy dog by demonstrating how to properly hold and pet the dog. Inform your children that hard pats can easily frighten the dog and even injure it. Instead, tell them to gently caress the dog and give it soft touches.
- Teaching gentle touching will also ensure that your children are not bitten.
2. Demonstrate how to play with the dog nicely.
Although they are small, you will need to remind your children that the toy dog is not actually a toy. They need to be gentle when playing with the dog to avoid hurting it. Any kind of rough play could severely injure the dog.
- Toy dogs can easily suffer fractures and broken bones from seemingly simple accidents. You child’s weight alone could easily crush some small dogs.
- Toy dogs can play many games like fetch and tug of war. However, the child should scale back the intensity of play because of the dog’s small size.
3. Teach your children to play with the dog in safe locations.
Your children need to be mindful about playing with the dog in safe places. It is important to avoid playing with the dog in places where it might fall or become stuck.
- For example, because it might fall and hurt itself, the top bed of a bunkbed is not a safe place to play with a toy dog.
4. Make sure that you have properly sized toys.
Toys that are too large for your dog can be very dangerous to them. Large thrown toys can easily injure your dog. Make sure that your child knows to use appropriate sized toys when playing with the toy dog.
- For example, if your child wants to play catch with the dog, make sure that they are using an appropriately sized toy. A large ball or stick could injure the animal.
5. Tell your children to not overexert the dog.
Small dogs can easily overexert themselves with physical activity. This can lead to illness or injury. To avoid this, instruct your children to limit the amount of vigorous activity they participate in with the dog. Although toy dogs can mostly enjoy the same activities as larger dogs, exercise should be less frequent and for shorter periods of time.
- A toy dog only needs about 30 minutes of exercise a day.
- Small dogs cannot walk as long or as far as larger dogs. Your toy dog will quickly get tired.
- For a toy dog, your living room is a veritable playground.
Teaching Good Pet Ownership
1. Demonstrate to your children how to feed the dog properly.
When caring for a toy dog, it is easy to give them too much food. They do not need nearly as much as a larger dog. A seemingly minuscule amount of food will suffice. Talk with your veterinarian about how much to properly feed your toy dog.
- For most dogs under 5 pounds (2.26 kg), a half cup (120 ml) of dog food each day should be enough.
2. Show your kids how to groom the dog.
When grooming your dog, it is important to be gentle. Brushing too hard or scrubbing too vigorously can hurt your small dog. Show your children how to wash your toy dog softly and how to brush its hair gently.
- Small dogs can also get cold quickly if they are wet for a long time. Make sure that your children know to dry off your dog quickly if they bathe it.
3. Protect your dog from the elements.
Because they are small, toy dogs also get cold easily. If you child takes the dog out during the winter, make sure that they take a sweater or some kind of clothing for your dog. In the summer, smaller dogs are also susceptible to overheating. Make sure that your children know to provide your toy dog with plenty of shade and lots of water.
- In general, smaller dogs should not spend much time outside. Let your children know that your toy dog needs to spend most of its time indoors.
4. Have your children properly carry the dog’s carrier.
Because many toy breeds cannot walk very far, many people carry them in carriers. Teach your child to carry the toy dog’s carrier properly to avoid injuring it. Make sure that they know to not swing the carrier around or drop it while the dog is inside. Being careless or rough with the carrier while the dog is inside can seriously injure the animal.
Protecting Your Dog in Public
1. Keep the dog in its bag, if applicable.
Because they can become physically exhausted so easily, you will likely want to keep your dog in its bag when you are in public. This will also keep your small dog from being injured by children or other animals. Keeping your dog in its bag also ensures that the any children who want to see your dog have to approach you before gaining access.
2. Ask children not to approach your dog.
If your small dog is skittish, let children know that they should leave it alone when you are in public. When children approach your dog, do not let them play with it unsolicited. Let them know that your dog is delicate and that they need your approval to play with it.
- Say something like “Please do not touch the dog,” or “You can play with the dog, but you have to be gentle.”
3. Let the dog approach the children.
When you are at a park, you can also let your dog dictate who touches it. You can monitor your dog and see whom it approaches. If it your dog goes near some children, keep a close eye on the situation. You can also let the children know that they need to be careful handling your dog.
- Say something like “Please do not pick up my dog,” or “Be gentle when you touch the dog.”
4. Remove your dog from dangerous situations.
If the children will not listen to you, pick up your dog and leave. Because of its small stature, the children could easily injure your dog. They may also make it extremely anxious and cause it psychological distress. Take your dog away from any situations that you feel are not safe.
- Say things like “If you are not going to play nice, we’re going to leave,” or “Be nice to the dog or we’re leaving.”