When you think about a dog attack, you probably think about strays or dogs that belong to strangers. The vast majority of dog bites, however, tend to involve people and dogs that know each other — at least a little bit.
Coming up on the holiday season, you may be visiting a lot of houses with friends and relatives who keep dogs. To keep yourself and your children safe, remember these tips.
What are the signs a dog is about to attack?
Dogs seldom attack without warning. Dogs tend to bite when they’re anxious, scared or trying to protect their territory. You can tell a dog is giving off warning signs when you see:
- A dog that’s trying to look bigger or tougher: They may bare their teeth, growl, bark, puff up their fur, stare you down and stand with their legs wide and tail stiff.
- A dog that is trying to hide: They may shrink to the ground, hug the corner of a room, hide behind someone’s legs or a chair and otherwise try to avoid being touched.
- A dog that does a mixture of the two: Some dogs send off mixed signals because they are both frightened and defensive.
In any case, when you see these signs, back away and give the animal their space.
What can you do to minimize the risk of a dog bite?
Ask your friend or relative if they can put the dog into another room until the gathering is over. At the very minimum, make sure that your children stay far away from the pet. Don’t allow them to grab the dog’s tail or ears, take the dog’s toys or otherwise antagonize the animal.
If you (or your child) should suffer a bite this holiday season, make sure you understand all your rights to compensation. Homeowners insurance will usually cover medical bills and other losses.