The holidays tend to be times when families try to spend time together. For your family and friends who own dogs, they may include their furry friends in holiday get-togethers.
Dogs can be cozy creatures when it’s time to snuggle by the fireplace, but they can become dangerous when they start to feel stressed by travel or guests.
Here’s what you should know if your holiday celebrations will include four-footed friends.
Bite risks get higher
Unlike people who can talk about their stress and take steps to take care of their needs, dogs have limitations in communicating their stress. While a dog may use several different methods, its owner may not pick up on all of them.
Depending on the dog and how social they feel, they might reach their breaking point with very little warning. When a dog gets to its maximum stress level, it will lash out in dangerous ways.
Know the signs
There are many reasons a dog owner may not notice their dog’s stress signals. The owner may think the dog has more time in its stress allowance, or the owner may want to stay with a particular friend a little longer. You can help yourself stay safe by knowing common stress signals such as:
- Tucked ears or tail
- Whale eyes (revealing the whites of their eyes)
- Avoiding eye contact
- Freezing or getting stiff
Regardless of how mild the signal seems, any of them could be the dog’s last warning before it bites. You can help the dog (and its owner) by suggesting somewhere the dog can relax and have time alone.
It’s important to remember that, for the dog, all these signals are obvious, and they expect their owner to notice them. Knowing when a dog is stressed is the first step to preventing dangerous bites.