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Dog bites are a threat to your safety in the summer. In fact, they’re most common in the summer, because dogs are most likely to be out with their owners at this time of year.

There are dozens of reasons why dog bites are dangerous, ranging from disease to the physical pain and injuries they cause. However, many bites can be avoided if you know what to do to prevent them.

How can you prevent a summer dog bite?

The first thing to do is to remember that all dogs are different. They may be getting put into new social situations or be unfamiliar with their surroundings.

To avoid bites, it’s best not to approach a new dog unexpectedly. Allow it to approach you instead. If a dog is acting shy or evasive, leave it alone and allow it to adjust in its own time.

Did you know that heat can play a role in dog bites, too?

Any time animals feel unwell, they’re more likely to snap or bite at others. For example, a dog with heat exhaustion may pant or even become aggressive, since it’s not sure what’s happening. In cases where a dog is sick, it’s best to let the owner handle the animal and get it to a veterinarian as soon as possible. If they are not present and you have to help the pet, call animal control or make sure to use a barrier between yourself and the animal, like a large blanked or jacket, so that there’s a lesser chance of a serious bite.

Dog bites are avoidable in most cases, but if you’re bit, the owner will be responsible in most cases. You can file a claim to have your medical care covered.