Holidays With Dogs: Protecting Visitors from Dog Bites
The holiday season can be a stressful time of year for everyone and that includes pets. While your dog might not have to deal with things like holiday shopping, they can be stressed out by friends or family who stop by to spend the holidays with you, whether it’s for a quick visit to drop off a gift, a party, or to stay with you for an extended amount of time. Even if your dog is normally well-behaved, the extra activity can be very overwhelming and that can potentially lead to dog bites.
All dogs can potentially bite, no matter what breed it is or how big it is. Dogs can also bite for many different reasons, but some of the most common reasons include being scared, being sick, or being protective. But regardless of why your dog might bite, as its owner, you have a responsibility to take reasonable steps to keep your visitors safe. Even if your dog doesn’t have a history of aggressive behavior, being proactive is the best way to go. If you’re expecting visitors this holiday season, here are a few ways to help keep everyone safe.
Contain Your Dog
Dogs often get very excited about visitors, so if your dog has a history of getting worked up when someone stops by, be sure to secure the dog in another room while your visitor enters the house. Not only will this reduce the chances that your dog will injure the visitor, it makes it less likely your dog will sneak out the door as people walk in the door. With your dog in another room, you can always introduce them to your visitors once they’ve had a chance to settle down.
Dogs who are sick, injured, or taking care of puppies can be more likely to bite if they’re bothered, so if you have a dog in this situation, it’s best to keep visitors away from them all together.
Since the holiday season is a busy time of year for mail and package delivery, it’s also a good idea to put your dog in another room if you need to open the door to sign for a package or take something from your letter carrier. Dog bites are a major occupational hazard for postal workers and people who deliver packages, so keeping the dog contained is an important way to help keep them safe.
Dog bites can truly happen to anyone, but children are statistically more likely to be bitten by a dog than other age group. Lots of children are very excited to see a dog, but very young kids can unintentionally end up provoking a dog as they try to play with it. If young children will be visiting your house, make sure someone is always supervising them as they interact with your dog.
Pay Attention to Your Dog
As a dog owner, you know your dog better than anyone. You likely have a good understanding of what sorts of things can make it uncomfortable and know what sorts of things your dog will do to communicate that it’s feeling stressed out. Dogs can be very communicative and can show a variety of warning signs before biting. As visitors interact with your dog, keep an eye on the dog to watch for signs that your dog isn’t happy and remove it from the situation if necessary.
Even when precautions are taken, dog bites can still happen and when they do, the owner is still liable in the majority of cases. If you were bitten by a dog while spending time at the home of a friend or family member, contact a dog bite lawyer as soon as possible. Goodwin & Scieszka is experienced in handling Michigan dog bite cases and can help answer your questions and understand your legal options. Contact us to get started.