Around holidays, parents of small children have plenty of tasks to occupy them in their preparations for the celebrations. With all the frantic activities that happen on holidays, they may no longer be paying as close attention to what’s going on around their children in relatives’ homes.
However, if they are in a home of a dog owner, failing to properly supervise the kids’ interactions with the canine can end very badly for both the children and the dog.
Holidays are stressful for animals
When we consider the stressors that humans face around the holidays, e.g., buying presents, baking cookies, decorating the home to perfection, etc., it’s easy to understand how dogs can become stressed as well.
There are strangers coming and going from the house. Holiday decorations can confuse dogs. And unfamiliar children are underfoot who are focused on interacting with the dog.
Dogs need their own space
Dogs have far fewer tools to communicate their needs and feelings than humans do. Also, many humans miss the clear canine signals the dogs are sending to transmit that someone has encroached on their personal space.
Parents can teach their children never to approach dogs when they are eating, drinking or interacting with a favorite toy. Some dogs are also quite protective of their bedding or even a piece of human furniture where they typically lay.
If the kids want to “meet” and interact with the dog, ask the owner to supervise all interactions as well. At the first sign of the dog’s discomfort, it can be removed to a quiet room and allowed to de-stress from the situation.
What to do if a dog attacks
No one wants to contemplate worst-case scenarios. However, if it is your child who gets bitten, you need to know how to proceed.
First and foremost, immediately seek medical attention for your injured child. You should also ascertain from the dog’s owner that the animal has indeed had all of its shots — most importantly, rabies. Ask for proof if there is any doubt whatsoever.
Depending on the severity of the dog bite or attack, your child may need extensive rehabilitation and/or reconstructive surgeries to be as close to pre-bite normal as possible. Even in cases where the bite was relatively minor, the lingering fears around other canines could persist for years in your child. Therapy may be necessary in order for them to deal with this phobia.
Filing a claim for damages after the bite may be necessary in order for you to recoup your and your child’s losses from the holiday attack.