October is the month of cooler weather, pumpkin-flavored drinks, and the Halloween holiday. At the end of every October, people expect pranks, scary movies, and frightening occurrences because it’s Halloween, the holiday known for scary things, but some dangers are not as obvious as others. While people enjoy costumes, outdoor parties, and trick-or-treating, they sometimes overlook the dangers that come with mixing dogs, children, and Halloween festivities. With 4.5 million dog bites each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dog bites and Halloween child safety is a major concern. Dog owners that bring their pets along for the ride or allow their dogs to roam free during Halloween put a lot of children at risk of being bitten. It’s important to know the dangers of meeting dogs during holiday events and how to respond so you and your children can avoid a dog bite this Halloween.
Part of Your Child’s Safety Measures this Halloween Involves Staying Alert Around Dogs
Taking your children trick-or-treating should be a fun experience, but people often bring their dogs with them, creating an unsafe experience. While it may seem like a cute idea, dogs can be aggressive toward strangers, especially in stressful situations. Many dog owners do not realize that their pets can be out of their comfort zone and act defensively or hostile in hectic places. A holiday that involves shrieking children, many strangers, and costumes that distort appearances is a stressful event for any dog, no matter how well trained.
If you are trick-or-treating with your children this year or allowing them to go on their own, ensure that everyone knows to take extra precaution when coming into contact with any dogs. Do not approach, pet, or call strange or even familiar dogs to you while trick-or-treating, as they may not recognize you in costume or may feel threatened by your appearance. Do not tease or agitate dogs in any way, and if a strange dog comes to you, ask the owner to respect your space or stand still, avoiding eye contact until the dog leaves. Try to avoid dogs when you are walking with your children from house to house to avoid further risk.
Homes that have dogs inside the house, behind a fence, or leashed outside are not as safe to approach as they may appear. While the dog may seem secure, it takes just a quick second for them to slip out from under their owner’s control and by then it’s too late. The dog may be extremely protective and only concerned about defending its property and owners. You should avoid houses when you hear barking coming from inside a house, behind a fence, or when a dog is leashed-up in the yard. If you do visit a house with a dog, do not step forward, but instead let the owner know if you are not comfortable coming near the dog. Wait for them to put the dog away or come outside of the house without the dog and to you and your child with the candy. Make sure the door is firmly closed before turning around and walking away.
When going to a party at a house with a dog, remember to be extremely cautious when approaching, even if you are sure the dog knows you. The dog may already feel threatened by the number of people there and also may not recognize you in costume. Avoid cornering and agitating dogs during Halloween to prevent a potential dog attack.
Keeping your child safe from all dangers during Halloween festivities is important. Remember this Halloween that your child’s safety concerning dogs is another matter to consider when trick-or-treating. Be alert for strange dogs while out walking, and try to avoid dogs completely during the night for extra precaution.
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