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Holiday gatherings can lead to dog bites

If you are gathering with friends and family this holiday season than last, you should not ignore the risk of a dog bite. Some 800,000 people seek medical care every year for dog bites, and children make up at least half of the victims.

Dogs, like people, can get anxious and excited when there are visitors in their homes. Even ordinarily friendly, sociable dogs can be more likely to bite if they fear someone encroaching on their territory. They might also become overprotective of their family when someone they don’t know is in the house.

Dog owners have a responsibility to do everything they can to prevent their dogs from biting. That may mean locking them in a room away from the activity, especially if children are visiting. Kids are more likely to touch a dog’s toys or get close to their faces than adults, leaving them more susceptible to bites.

How can you reduce the risk of a bite

If you’re visiting someone who has a dog – even one you know or that seems to be friendly, it’s wise to be aware of their body language and tell your kids to avoid petting them, especially if the dog is eating, sleeping, playing with a toy or appears unwell. While older dogs may seem docile, they are more likely to have health issues. If you touch a sore body part, they may bite to stop you.

If a dog bite has serious consequences, you may need to explore your legal options. Even if a bite seems minor, it is best to get a medical check-up. Dog’s mouths are not clean, and a bite could lead to an infection with serious health consequences.