Popular pediatrician on TikTok warns parents never to trust their dog around kids
"I know that you love your pets and that you trust your pets, but never trust your pet."
We love our fur babies. Even after we transition from purely pet parents to full blown baby parents (for those of us that do, anyway) we still see our cats and dogs as pure and precious creatures in need of our attention and care. Cause they are. Duh.
In some cases that means sharing the same activities, wearing matching outfits…heck, it wouldn’t be out of this world to see a baby sharing a stroller with a dog from time to time.
But sometimes, love and trust are two different things. And when it comes to our pets being around children, some experts recommend not placing your faith in the paws of your beloved pets.
Pediatrician Dr. Sami, of the popular Pedi Pals on TikTok, recently warned parents that “you can never be too careful around dogs” when they’re with small children, “no matter how much you love them, no matter how gentle they've been.”
In the clip, she explains that when her kids were very young, they were always kept separate from the dogs until they were old enough to interact safely with them—to know to not come between them and their food, to know when they’re irritated, etc., etc.
And while Dr. Sami admitted that her dogs have never shown aggression, it doesn't mean that their instincts wouldn’t kick in at an inopportune moment. Hence why she always used a partition for her kids or when her kid’s friends came over, and why she encourages parents to ask other parents to keep pets separated during visits.
“I know that you love your pets and that you trust your pets, but never trust your pet,” she says, all while cuddling with an adorable puppy named Daisy.
The worst cosmetically damaging dog bite I saw was actually done by a chihuaha. Of course larger dogs can even unalive people. So if you love your dog and kids, stop playing into the fairy tales of the internet- and be cautious, vigilant and smart. Im sure someone will say they didn't like me whispering and for that, I pre-emptively apologize.♬ original sound - The PediPals (Pediatric Pals)
Dr. Sami also points out that those all-too-common videos on social media showing dogs and babies cuddling in harmony is not a reality.
“Anytime I see these like videos on TikTok of people that have like their baby sleeping with their husky, I'm like, ‘Dear God, this animal can't talk, okay?’” she says, adding, “you just don't know what's going on in their brain and they might be okay with everything 99.9% of the time, but then the one time they're not, their instinct is to bite and their instinct is to go for the face. They rarely ever bite extremities. It's always the face.”
“And if I had a nickel for every single one of my patients that has been bitten by a dog and required stitches, I'd be rich. It's way, way, way too common in the pediatric world. Just be careful,” she concludes.
Judging by the comments to her video, D.r Smai is not the only person with this viewpoint. Several parents and even fellow doctors chimed in to agree.
One parent wrote, “My son is two and I JUST started allowing them to walk around each other under VERY careful supervision bcuz my son started to understand my dog’s boundaries. But I never trust ANY dog or ANY toddler 🤣”
Another added, “People always wonder why I’m so cautious with my sweet dog, it’s because she’s still a DOG and toddlers are crazy!!!”
Meanwhile, a doctor shared, Most of the dog attacks we see in the pediatric ER are from the family dog that they thought would ‘never do that.’ 🥺.”
Dr. Sami’s opinion is also shared by The American Academy of Pediatrics’, which states that parents should “never leave dogs and children alone together.”
And as the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reiterates on its website, “any dog can bite: big or small, male or female, young or old. Even the cuddliest, fuzziest, sweetest pet can bite if provoked. Remember, it is not a dog's breed that determines whether it will bite, but rather the dog's individual history and behavior.”
Furthermore, the AVMA states that children are the most common victims of dog bites and are far more likely to be severely injured. In addition, most dog bites affecting young children occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs.
When it comes to dog bite prevention, the AMVA has a few basic guidelines, including but not limited to:
- Teach kids how to respect animals: that it’s not okay to pull their ears or tails, tease them, how to approach dogs calmly, just as a few examples
- Break your house into zones: one for the kids, the other for the furry kids. Note that there’s a difference between zoning, like using a partition, and imprisoning your pet.
- Always, always, always supervise interactions between pets and young children.
- Avoid the assumption that because a stranger’s dog has been friendly in the past, that it will be in the future. This, of course, goes for the family dog as well.