Dogs, even big dogs like Newfoundlands, are not made to be ridden. The muscles in their backs can’t support the weight of any child.
Dr. Sarah Bassman of Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine gave the following statement to The Stir regarding this issue:
“Children riding on the back of their family dog is very dangerous for the animal, and the child, even if you have one of the giant breeds as your family pet.
The muscles in a dog’s back are not strong enough and are not designed to carry a passenger and could be damaged by this activity.
We worry about muscle sprain and strain, vertebral subluxation, and disc-related problems. Lesser sprains and strains may need to be treated with pain medications or physical therapy while serious spinal injuries could lead to paralysis which may or may not be able to be surgically repaired.”
Giant breed dogs like the Great Dane and Newfoundland are often prone to neck and spine injuries due to their size so putting adding weight or pressure on those areas can increase their risk of getting injured.
Not only is a child riding on a dog dangerous for the dog but it is also dangerous for the child.
Even the most predictable and gentle dog can still get startled and either turn around and bite the child or throw them off.
Children should always be taught at an early age by their parents to respect a dog’s space and even though some parents may think that a child sitting on the back of a dog can make a cute picture, it’s often not worth the risk to anyone.