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Avoid a dog bite incident this Halloween

Everybody seems to love Halloween -- but dogs may not appreciate all of the little ghosts and ghouls (or their parents) showing up at the door trick-or-treating. Here are some of the most important tips you can use to keep everyone safe this holiday season.

If you own a dog and expect visitors

If you're a dog owner, find out when your neighborhood is opening its doors for the annual "beggar's night." Whether you participate or not, make sure that your dog has gone to the bathroom before the time starts and that you have your pet safely away in a quiet room until the festivities are over.

If you do turn on your porch light (indicating that you're handing out candy), sit outside so that you can hand out the candy without opening your door. Otherwise, your dog may feel compelled to protect you and your home -- and that could lead to an unfortunate bite.

If you are taking your kids trick-or-treating

If you're walking your child around the neighborhood, establish some "dog safe" ground rules before you start:

  • No approaching any dogs while you're in costume (even a dog you know might not recognize you)
  • If someone opens a door and you see a dog, stand still. (Experts say, "Pretend you're a tree.") Any movement you make can make the dog more excited.
  • Wait until any dogs you see are put away and out of sight to take any candy.
  • Don't go near any homes where you can see the dog at the door, in the yard or at the front window. That's a sign the dog's owner hasn't thought carefully about the potential for danger.

Dog bites can be an unfortunate reality that will ruin your child's Halloween. If your child has suffered a dog bite after a careless owner failed to restrain their pet, find out more about your legal rights.

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