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Know the signs that a dog is in distress to avoid a bite

Dogs are normally friendly, loving animals. Unfortunately, even the most docile pet can become aggressive when it is sick or injured, scared or upset. This year, as you’re traveling for the holidays, it’s important to remember how you can avoid dog bites when you’re with friends and family or around people in public. 

While you’re never going to be able to prevent every dog from biting, there are some things you can do to recognize when a dog doesn’t want you to approach it or is feeling stressed. If you notice these signs, back away from the animal and separate yourself from it. 

What are the signs that a dog wants you to back off?

The first thing to do is to read the dog’s body language. Does it look tense? Does it have its ears pressed back or tail tucked? If so, err on the side of caution and back away. It may be fearful or angry, so it’s best not to get any closer. 

Another thing to look for is a dog that seems tense and has its back hair (hackles) raised. That is a sign that the dog is trying to intimidate you, which could mean that it’s more likely to attack.

While some dogs will show teeth while smiling and grinning, the same isn’t true of most. If a dog raises its lips and bares its teeth, it’s time to back away from it. It may be guarding food, trying to show you that it doesn’t want to be picked up or trying to communicate that it’s unhappy, and those teeth can quickly snap and lead to injuries.

These signs of potential dog bites need to be recognized for you to stay safe. Watch closely, so you can avoid bites. If you are injured by a dog, find out more about your right to seek compensation for your losses.

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