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Dog bites: Avoid them during spring get-togethers

Dog bites are dangerous for a number of reasons, including that they are deep and have the potential to tear through skin, muscle and bone. If left untreated, they can become badly infected. On top of that, some dogs carry dangerous diseases that can infect humans.

This year, when you plan to get together with friends or family members who have pets, you may not think there's a high risk of injury. However, dogs aren't always predictable, especially in unusual or unfamiliar situations. Here are a few tips to stay safe when you're around new or unfamiliar pets.

1. Ask to pet before you reach

Before you ever reach toward a dog, it's in your best interests to ask if the dog is accepting of new people and if petting it is safe. If the owner agrees, then you should kneel down and allow the dog to approach you. Approaching the dog could cause it to shy away or nip in defense.

2. Avoid making eye contact

Even if your own dog loves it when you look into their eyes, it's a bad habit to get into. Looking into a dog's eyes can be a sign of aggression that leads to bites.

3. Excuse yourself if a dog is out of control

If there is a dog acting too rambunctiously or one that continues to act oddly toward you, it's okay to excuse yourself from the event or meeting until that animal is leashed or put in another room.

These are a few tips to help you avoid a bite. Be cautious, so you can get to know new animals safely. If you are bitten, seek medical care and then learn more about your right to compensation.

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