Pet owners should be aware of the triggers that can cause their pets to misbehave. Halloween suffers from a notoriously high incidence of dog bites. When masked children come to a person’s home in large numbers, dogs can become aggressive and protect their premises from the perceived harm. While the dogs may be blameless, pet owners should understand the risks and protect visitors and their pets from the consequences of a biting incident.
The statistics are alarming. Roughly 50 percent of children are bitten by a dog by the time they turn 12. Of the 800,000 people who require medical treatment for a dog bit every year, half are children. In total, nearly 5 million people a year get bitten by a dog. Halloween can expose a dog to more children in one night than in the rest of the year combined. When dogs are forced to confront numerous, strangely-dressed children on their home turf, it is a recipe for disaster.
If a homeowner decides to participate by handing out candy, they owe it to the visiting children and their parents to take proper safety precautions to prevent dog bites. Dogs should not be allowed to run free on Halloween. If an owner is unsure of how a dog will react, he or she should simply keep the dog away from trick-or-treaters. Parents should instruct children on what to do if they encounter a strange dog. An unwary child is likely to approach a dog, even if that dog is exhibiting aggressive behavior.
By following a few simple guidelines, children and pet owners can enjoy a stress-free and enjoyable Halloween.
Source: AOL.com, “9 Tips to Prevent Dog Bites on Halloween,” Amy D. Shojal, 24 October 2011.