Visiting friends for the holidays? Talk about the dog first

On Behalf of | Dec 4, 2021 | Dog Bites |

You love dogs. In fact, you’ve never met a dog you didn’t like (or one that didn’t like you). It’s almost inconceivable that you could actually be in danger from a bite by a dog that’s known to you. However, that’s exactly what could happen this holiday season while you’re visiting friends or relatives.

There are roughly 4.5 million dog bites every year, and about 800,000 of them are serious enough to require medical care. Understanding more about the danger can help you avoid being among that number.

Why are dog bites likely to happen during the holiday season?

Dogs bite because they’re stressed, and there’s a lot of stress to go around during the holidays. Dogs get stressed when:

  • There are a lot of strange people around.
  • There’s a lot of commotion and noise.
  • They’re thrown off their routine.
  • They feel threatened or scared.
  • They’re hurting or sick (particularly when they get older).
  • They think someone may try to take their food, toys or other possessions

In other words, dogs tend to behave a lot like people. When they’re scared, sick, anxious or upset, they get aggravated. While people can express their displeasure in dozens of different ways, dogs pretty much fall back on their instincts – and that can lead to a bite.

What can you do to avoid a bite?

Many dog parents know that it’s often best to put their pets in another room or in a crate when there’s going to be a lot of noise, movement and people around. That doesn’t just protect the people – it also protects the dog.

If your friends or relatives aren’t of that mindset, you can always ask if they can put the dog in another room for the duration of your visit. If they’re unwilling, you may have to simply steer clear of their pet (and make sure that your children do, too).

If you are bitten by a dog this holiday, it can be uncomfortable to press a claim for your damages against a friend or relative, but that may be your only option if you want the hospital bills covered. Fortunately, homeowners insurance is designed to handle these kinds of situations.