Preventing dog bites on Halloween night

Halloween is supposed to be a fun holiday for people of all ages. It provides an opportunity to get creative, connect with neighbors and eat far too much candy.

But is it also a recipe for dog bites?

The ingredients for a disaster?

Each year, more than 4 million Americans get bit or attacked by dogs. The vast majority of those victims are children.

Although there are no statistics for how many of these bites occur on Halloween, there are many factors that contribute to a greater risk of dog bites during trick-or-treating. The combination of new people, new smells and a steady stream of visitors can make dogs agitated. Unhappy pets forced to wear uncomfortable costumes may lash out. And even if they mean well, some dogs - especially younger ones - can get overly excited by all the stimulation. They may end up inadvertently causing harm by jumping up on people or knocking down small children.

How to keep a fun night from becoming a nightmare

Parents and dog owners alike can reduce the risk of dog bites by:

  • Keeping aggressive or overly excitable dogs away from the door when trick-or-treaters come ringing
  • Staying well away from dogs at the door until the owner restrains them
  • Preventing kids from approaching dogs in the neighborhood, including dogs they know, since the dog may not recognize your child in costume
  • Making sure that children don't entice dogs with candy, props or dangly costume accessories

Nobody wants a night of trick-or-treating to end with a trip to the ER or a life-altering injury. These precautions can help children and adults avoid potential dog bites.

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