Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are all coming soon — and that usually means a lot of visits to the homes of family and friends.
It may also mean encounters with other people’s dogs. Distractions, noise, tons of movement and strange people can all trigger anxiety and stress in a dog, and that can trigger aggression. That substantially increases the chances that you (or your children) could end up bitten.
Ways to minimize the danger of a dog bite
Ideally, the dog owners you visit will exercise good judgment and either put their pets in another room while visitors are present or keep them under a watchful eye — especially when there are a lot of people coming and going.
You can’t count on other people to be sensible, however. With that in mind, here’s what you should do:
- Watch for “Beware of Dog” signs. If you see one, believe it. Don’t go into a yard or approach an open door with your trick-or-treater in tow unless you catch the owner’s eye and make sure the dog is away.
- Ask friends and relatives to put their dogs behind a barrier while you and your small children visit. It can be impossible to keep small kids and pets apart — or avoid injuries — unless you use a physical barrier. (Point out that your request is as much for the animal’s safety as your child’s.)
- Never approach a dog that’s sleeping, hiding behind its owner’s legs, barking, shaking, trying to eat or playing with its toys. That’s a recipe for disaster since those are the times a dog is most likely to either be startled or feel territorial.
- Teach your children not to interact with strange dogs unless they have both your permission and the permission of the dog’s owner.
Hopefully, this holiday season will once again pass without any incidents. If you do suffer a dog bite or your child is bitten, find out more about your right to compensation to cover your injuries and losses.