Pitbulls are one of the most popular dog breeds in America. They are known to be very strong and aggressive as they were originally bred for fighting.
They’re kept as pets by many families, but their bad reputation raises the concern of many parents about whether it’s safe to leave Pitbulls around their babies.
So, are Pitbulls safe around babies? Pitbulls are safe around babies as long as they are trained properly and supervised at all times. Pitbulls are not naturally aggressive but they can be territorial and will attack if they sense a threat. Otherwise, they are very loyal and affectionate to their owners and family members.
Keep reading to learn more about pitbulls, what makes them dangerous, and how to ensure that your babies will be safe around them.
What You Need to Know About Pitbulls
When it comes to physical appearance, pitbulls can look quite intimidating. They are large in size as they stand at 18 and 21 inches in height. They also weigh around 35 to 35 to 60 pounds, with the males being heavier.
They have four canine teeth, two upper and two lower, which they use to hold on to their prey. While their teeth are not very sharp, their bite force is extremely strong mainly due to the strength of their jaws
A pitbull’s bite force can measure up to 235 PSI which is possibly the strongest bite of any domestic animal.
How Dangerous Are Pitbulls?
Pitbulls are known to be dangerous and it’s very common to see alarming news articles warning about them.
If you take a look at the statistics surrounding Pitbulls, you will notice that their bites have caused more fatalities than any other dog breed. According to police reports in the past sixteen years, Pitbulls are responsible for about 72% of deaths due to dog bites.
These reports have earned Pitbulls a bad reputation that discourages many pet owners from keeping them.
Do Pitbulls Deserve Their Bad Reputation?
Pitbulls do not deserve their bad reputation as they are not any more dangerous than any other breed of dog. Almost all dogs will attack and bite if they are provoked enough.
While it’s no secret that Pitbulls were originally bred and trained to be aggressive so that they could fight with other animals, they are not naturally aggressive toward humans, especially their owners.
They can be very territorial and protective which causes them to attack if they feel that there is a danger or threat towards their owner or someone else in their household.
Advocates of pitbull ownership believe that Pitbulls, like any other dog breed, are a product of their environment. So, their bad reputation is mostly due to irresponsible ownership as some owners actively train their pit bulls to be aggressive.
I discuss this more in my article on Pitbulls vs wolves here, so check it out when you have a minute.
Is It Safe to Have a Pitbull Around Babies?
It can be safe to have a pitbull around babies, but only if the dog has been properly socialized and trained from a young age.
Many dog breeds, including pitbulls, can be trained to be affectionate and protective of babies or children. However, you still need to be aware of the risks that come with leaving a dog with your baby.
Pitbulls play by taking objects in their mouths to chew on them and most of the time they are not aware of their own strength. So, it is possible for pitbulls to inflict serious bites on babies while playing and not realizing they’re actually hurting them.
Babies and small children can also be unpredictable. They can make sudden movements and noises that might sound like squeaky toys that your pitbull likes to play with.
They might also play too roughly with the pitbull which could provoke the dog to attack and bite in self-defense.
What Makes Pitbulls Good Family Pets?
Despite all the risks, there are many perks that come with keeping pitbulls as a pet, especially if you have children.
So, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why pitbull make good family pets:
- They are easy trains and they are always looking forward to pleasing their owners. If trained properly, they can be very obedient and loyal.
- They make great playmates and companions for children as they are highly energetic and can be very affectionate.
- They make great guards as they’re very protective and possessive of their owners and family members.
- They do not require high maintenance as they have relatively shorter hair than most other dogs. This will reduce the time it takes to clean and make it more hygienic to be around children.
- They’re generally very healthy so you let your child play with them without any fear of disease transmission or health problems.
How to Make Sure Your Baby and Pitbull Are Safe Around Each Other?
Now that you’re aware of the risks and benefits that come with having a pitbull dog as a family pet, you need to consider how to make sure your baby and pitbull are safe around each other
Here are some tips on how to create a safe space for your baby and pitbull to get along well with each other:
Train Your Pitbull Not to Be Aggressive
Pitbulls are social creatures by nature which makes them very easy to train. However, if you want the pitbull to grow as a companion to your child, you need to train it from a young age.
You need to make sure your pitbull is socialized early on to prevent it from becoming aggressive. You can do that by allowing the dog to interact with a wide variety of environments, smells, sounds, animals, and people. You also need to teach it basic commands such as sit, stay, come, and down.
It’s very important to be consistent and patient with your pitbull throughout the training process. Make sure to always reward your dog with treats and praise to encourage good behavior and avoid harsh punishment as it might provoke the dog to attack.
Introduce Your Pitbull to Your Newborn Baby
You need to help your dog get used to the presence of a new family member.
You can start by allowing the dog to sniff an item that contains your baby’s scent before bringing the baby home from the hospital. You can also allow the dog to explore and sniff around the baby’s room, however, make sure to establish clear boundaries around the baby’s nursery.
Once your dog gets used to the baby’s scent, you can allow it to meet the baby in person. It’s recommended to talk to the dog on a walk before introducing it to the baby to drain its energy and improve its mood.
During the first meeting, make sure to keep your dog at a respectful distance from the baby, and eventually, you may allow the dog to get closer.
Teach Your Children How to Behave around the Pitbull
As babies grow older, their curiosity will increase. They might play too roughly with a dog by kicking it or tagging on its tail without knowing any better.
That’s why it’s important to teach your children at a young age to love and respect their pitbull to prevent any harm coming to either of them
Children need to know the proper etiquette of handling dogs and playing with them, especially when the dog might attack if it’s provoked enough.
Supervise All Interactions Between the Pitbull and Your Children
Even with proper training, accidents can still happen. So, it’s very important to give your pitbull some time to get used to being around a child and never leave it unattended with your baby.
Also, make sure to be on the lookout for any signs that your dog might be becoming aggressive toward the baby or that your baby is unknowingly harming the dog.
Testimonials from Real Parents
If you’re still feeling skeptical about leaving your baby with a pitbull, check the following testimonials from several pitbull owners about how they introduced their dog to their new baby.
“I came home and had my boyfriend keep the baby with him for an hour or so, so I could spend quality time with Haze because we missed each other a LOT and I wanted to make sure he knew he was still super important.
Then I let him sniff clothes and blankets the baby used at the hospital. His tail didn’t stop wagging. He knew exactly what was going on and kept whining and pacing.
Then we brought the baby in, he instantly laid down next to the baby and fell asleep with his nose touching him and they have been best friends ever since.”samanthacarmen9712
“When we first brought our baby home, I let my 2 pits smell his blanket and onesie he wore. Once their tails started wagging we praised them.
Then we brought our baby out and they fell completely in love. Now they play together, nap together, and our baby is the safest baby out there because our dogs are so protective over kids, all kids actually.”– mrsmariothebarber
“I adopted my pit mix when he was over a year old. They picked him up wandering around after a family abandoned him. I brought my baby along with me to the shelter so we could bond with him together.
Once I had seen his temperament, I rolled her in the stroller and watched carefully. He went over, licked her feet, laid down, and stayed there with her until we left. He has some anxiety that we work with but it just makes him cuddlier. He is so good with all three of my kids. He plays with the boys and gives gentle kisses for my girl.”– tweetyburd87
“The day we brought the baby home, my older daughter and husband took my pit bull Carrie and my other 2 dogs Romeo and Booga for a walk so when they returned I was already inside and in my room with the baby.
My husband and daughter let the dogs sniff the baby’s blanket and told them NO.
I had a gate in the doorway to my room allowing them to see and hear the baby. After a few hours of them patiently waiting by the door, we allowed them into the room. I picked up the baby and allowed all three dogs to sniff her.
Carrie, my pit, is the one that showed more interest, we even let her lick the baby’s feet. After that day, every time my baby cries, Carrie is there wanting to help. Carrie likes to sleep near the bassinet, she is our gentle giant.” –msevilyn
To make it simple, it’s not fair to generalize the behavior of a whole breed of dog based on a few incidents. There is no reason why any family should not have a pitbull simply because they have children.
However, keep in mind that having a pitbull around your children is a serious responsibility and that it will never be 100% safe to leave your child alone with a pitbull or any other dog breed.
To reduce the risk of any accidents or bites, the best you can do is train your dog properly and teach your children how to be safe around dogs.
What Is a Nanny Dog?
Nanny Dogs is a term used to refer to several dog breeds that are normally good with kids. These dog breeds include the Staffordshire bull terrier, St. Bernard, and the pitbull. Families often keep these dogs as pets to be loyal companions and guardians to their children.
Can Pitbulls Get Jealous of Babies?
Pitbulls can get jealous of babies just like any other family member. They can feel a wide range of emotions so, if they feel like they’re not receiving enough attention and that baby is getting all the affection from their owners, they will begin to act out.
What Are the Signs of Aggression in Pitbulls?
Signs of aggression in pitbulls include retracing their lips and showing their teeth accompanied by growling, pulling their ears back completely, and raising their tails and moving it back and forth. You will also notice that the dog will look at you from the corner of its eyes and not directly.
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