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Holidays and your pet: Avoiding dog bites

Dog bites are a serious concern among those visiting family and friends during the holidays. While Fido might be man's best friend, he still can have an attitude and get scared when changes occur. Dog bites are more common during the holidays, and it's for a good reason.

Keep in mind that pets do well with a routine. Changing routines for the holidays can affect how your pet adjusts to people visiting or coming and going from the home. Not getting your pet enough exercise could also impact its likelihood for aggression or fear during holiday events.

Dogs need space. When you think of your pet, think about how close it likes to be to people. Some dogs love people and want to snuggle everyone they see. Others need to be left alone, so the toddler who wants to pull on his ears is at risk of being snarled at or worse.

As a dog owner, you should know the signs that your dog is in distress. It may flatten its ears or tuck its tail. It might growl or whine. Maybe it will cower or howl. Each dog is slightly different, but you need to recognize its body language to make sure it gets what it needs to be comfortable. If your dog flees from new company, don't go after it and force it to interact. Give your dog space and allow it to slowly meet new people in a controlled environment. After that, make sure you're monitoring your pet. If there are signs of fear or aggression, it's time to separate your pet from the event.

Source: k9aggression.com, "Why Dog Bites Happen More Often During Holidays," accessed Dec. 15, 2017

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