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Be careful around dogs this holiday season to avoid dog bites

With the holiday season upon us, many people might be heading out to go visit other homes. Some of those homes might have dogs. While most people say their dogs are nice and friendly, there is always the possibility that the dog might lash out. With that in mind, we want to remind our Wisconsin readers about some basic dog bite facts.

Most dog bites occur to children, and those children are likely to suffer from serious injuries because of the dog bite. More than 800,000 Americans are treated by medical professionals each year. Amazingly, more than half of those are children. Senior citizens rank second for dog bites.

While the number of dog bites requiring medical attention might seem shocking, the number of dog bite victims in the U.S. annually is even more shocking. More than 4.5 million people suffer from dog bites in this country each year. That means that one out of every five people who is bitten has to seek medical care.

It is vital for dog owners to properly socialize their dogs prior to having them around people. People who are visiting a home with a dog should seek the owner's permission before reaching out to the dog. Some dogs might get nervous around new people, so caution is necessary.

Let's face it, dog bites will happen. When they do happen, the person who suffers an injury has the right to seek compensation for that injury. Compensation can help to cover medical expenses and other expenses related to the dog bite. If you are bitten by a dog this holiday season, learning about the process for seeking compensation and the types of compensation might help you to decide how you want to proceed.

Source: American Veterinary Medical Association, "Dog Bite Prevention" Dec. 22, 2014

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