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Dog daze: Signs your dog could become aggressive

When your dog isn't well, it becomes more likely to attack or become aggressive. The summer is a particularly dangerous time of year for bites, because there are more people outside and the heat can become hazardous to pets. Pets exposed to heat for too long could suffer from health complications and become aggressive or violent as a result of confusion or disorientation.

The good news is that there are things you can do to prevent injuries and to protect your pet from the summer sun. Here are a few tips to stay safer this year.

1. Give your pet a place to cool down

Limiting time in the sun is a great idea. Make sure your pet has plenty of water and shade. If a pet becomes overheated, it's more likely to become disoriented and to snap at you if you approach. Heat exhaustion is extremely dangerous for pets, just as it is in humans.

2. Don't overwhelm your pet

Planning on having your child's classmates over for a summer party? Put Fido indoors in a safe place. While your pet may love your children, there's a risk that it will become overwhelmed by many strangers entering the home. Keep everyone safe, your pet included, by separating him or her from the group.

3. Teach kids manners

It's necessary to teach children manners when approaching animals. Remember that stray animals are often unpredictable. You shouldn't make eye contact and need to slowly back away if a dog becomes aggressive. Children should learn not to reach out to animals but instead to allow them to come to them. Children may place their hands parallel to their bodies and allow the dog to come sniff the back of the hand. Once the dog does so, it will likely decide if it will walk away or stay in a friendly way. Once the dog approaches, you can show your child to pet the animal gently from the back of the neck down the back. Ruffling a dog's hair or touching its feet could be an unwanted sensation that makes the dog nip at you.

A good thing to remember is that all animals are different. Looking for signs of aggression can help protect you and your child. If in doubt, it's better to leave an animal alone than to approach it, especially if you're not familiar with the pet or the owners are not present.

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Bender & Gritz, APLC
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San Diego, CA 92101

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