Petting a dog: Who can resist? Especially since most dogs love the attention, too.
But there are situations when it’s just a bad idea, whether it’s your own, a friend’s, or a stranger’s dog.
The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends avoiding these ten scenarios.
- If the dog is not with his owner.
- If the dog is with his owner but the owner does not give permission to pet the dog.
- If the dog is on the other side of a fence, don’t reach through or over it to touch the dog.
- If a dog is sleeping or eating.
- If a dog is sick or injured.
- If a dog is resting with her puppies or seems very protective of them and anxious about your presence.
- If a dog is playing with a toy.
- If the dog is a service dog. Service dogs are working animals and shouldn’t be distracted while they are doing their jobs.
- If the dog is growling or barking.
- If the dog appears to be hiding or seeking time alone in its “special place.”
These may seem like simple precautions—that’s because they are! But they’re also easy to forget when faced with a cute fluffball of fur or a soulful gaze. Responsible dog ownership isn’t complicated. But it’s vital to the health and happiness of dogs and their people.
If you have a puppy, early socialization and training will lead to a lifetime of stable behavior.
Learn more about National Dog Bite Prevention Week.