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Prevent Dog Bites During the Holidays

Dog bites are an issue during the holidays. More of us are visiting the homes of loved ones, and some of these homes invariably include pets. As well, more people are visiting our homes, and delivery personnel are arriving in our homes more frequently to deliver holiday parcels. Changes during this season — such as new decorations and new faces — can upset pets. At the same time, some guests, especially younger ones, may inadvertently tease or annoy a pet. All of these factors can contribute to bites. Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to help prevent dog bites:

1) If you are pet owner, make sure that your pet is healthy and comfortable. Even though this is a hectic time of year, take time out to spend some time with your dog. Talking to your pet, going on a walk, or scratching your dog behind their years will reassure your pet that everything is OK. Spending time with your pet also ensures that you will notice any signs of potential illness. If your dog shows any signs of illness, make sure that you take your pet to the vet immediately. Dogs are far more likely to bite if they are in pain or unhealthy.

2) If you are pet owner, consider placing your dog in a different part of the house if you have guests or are expecting visitors or delivery personnel. At this time of year, it is a good idea to put your dog into a separate room if you will be expecting many new guests. This will allow your dog to get comfortable to the sounds and smells of people before they are introduced. Also, keeping your dog from delivery personnel can help prevent unfortunate accidents.

3) Supervise your pet around guests and visitors. If you have younger visitors, especially, keep in mind that dog bites can cause severe head injuries, facial disfigurement, and other serious injuries for youngsters. Unfortunately, small children sometimes do not know the proper way to behave around animals. It is your responsibility to ensure that your pet is correctly supervised at all times. If you cannot supervise your pet, consider keeping your pet away from the guests until the guests leave.

4) If you will be visiting people who have a pet, practice good pet safety. Never approach a strange dog without asking permission, even if it is a dog that belongs to a loved one. If you do approach the animal, make sure that you approach slowly and allow the dog to sniff you. Never approach dog that is sleeping, eating, or seems agitated. Teach your children the correct way to behave around dogs as well.

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