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Protect kids and yourself from dog bites this holiday season

The holidays bring around lots of family members and friends, but that can pose a problem for your furry companion. Not all dogs like to be overwhelmed with new sights, sounds and smells, and the addition of new people to the mix can be a recipe for disaster.

When it's time to visit a home with pets, there are some things you can do to avoid getting bitten. First, remember that the pet is likely to be overwhelmed. It may feel stressed or anxious, so when guests arrive and when people are cooking or participating in event activities, it's best to put dogs showing signs of anxiety, stress, fright or aggression away. They can be put in a kennel, crate or even just separated into another room until they calm down and get used to the guests' arrival. 

Dogs can also become overwhelmed around small children. Kids tend to be rough with dogs, and that can make dogs bite or nip as a warning. When children don't stop, the dog could become aggressive and attack, causing serious harm to the child.

The best way to avoid this situation is, of course, to prevent children and dogs from meeting over the holiday, but even better is to talk to your child and other children at the party or home about animal safety. Discuss what the animal feels like and how to approach him or her to reduce the risk of injury.

Taking some time to reduce risk before entering a home with a pet is the first step to safety this holiday season. If a pet does attack, remember that it is the pet owner who will likely be responsible for the injuries you or a child suffers.

Source: The Mercury News, "'Tis the season for dog bites," Tracy Seipel, Nov. 24, 2016

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