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Ways to avoid bites from frightened dogs on Halloween

On behalf of Terence Gross of Gross & Schuster, P.A. posted in Dog Bites on Monday, October 31, 2011.

Halloween is a dangerous night for pedestrians. It’s also a time to watch out for family dogs, who may trick themselves into believing they’re being threatened by 4-foot tall ghosts and tiny Kim Kardashians.

It’s a serious problem. Small children ringing doorbells for trick-or-treating can be at risk of adog bite if a family animal perceives them as a threat. Dogs tend to know people by sight and smell, but even if they are normally familiar with a visiting trick-or-treater, animals can become confused and be frightened of masks, sparkly outfits and the like.

Paw Nation has put together an article with tips on how to prevent dog attacks on Halloween. Here are a few of their suggestions.

• Supervise your children. If you know your child is going to visit a home with a dog, either accompany the child or make sure the dog is restrained. Parents can call ahead and ask people to confine their dogs prior to visits.

• Keep doors and open areas clear. Since dogs may get excited and feel protective around doorways, and children will be ringing the doorbell all night long, it may be best to keep dogs out of the way and in a different room on Halloween night.

• Look away and stay calm. If you or your children feel threatened by a canine, it’s best not to stare, which a dog can perceive as threatening. If a dog does approach you or your child, standing calmly is the best thing to do.

And, as always, be careful and use common sense. Halloween is supposed to be fun, but staying safe is important too.

Source: Paw Nation, “9 tips to prevent dog bites on Halloween,” Amy D. Shojal, Oct. 24, 2011

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