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Be cautious with pets at public gatherings

POSTED: April 27, 2014 1:30 a.m.

Know your dog? I’m sure you do. You could pick him out of a lineup.

He probably knows his name and responds to your voice better than to any stranger.

If you’re the right kind of science buff, you might even know how he uses hexokinase.

But what about when he’s panicked or in a situation you would hardly expect?

If you’re taking him to a public gathering, consider these things.

Most people know if their dog is wary of strangers, but there is a ton of gray area.

Some dogs get quiet and adhere to dad’s leg. Some kick in the other end of the fight-or-flight spectrum and decide eating the stranger’s face is probably the best way to stay safe. And any dog may react either way at different times.

You also need to think beyond your pet and watch the people near your pet.

Many small children know very little about manners around dogs. Cartoon dogs don’t freak out and bite you when you run up from behind for a hug, but some real dogs might.

So keep that in mind when venturing to dog-friendly public gatherings. Hopefully all humans approaching your canine in a dog-friendly place will be thoughtful, considerate and cautious. But hope isn’t always reality.

Another aspect to ponder before taking your dog out in public are the threats to his health. If you think germs like snotty kindergarteners, remember, at least the little humans don’t regularly sniff each other’s rear ends to say hello.

To prevent any problems, vaccinate your dog and keep him or her on a reliable heartworm preventive.

It will protect from several common intestinal worms. The most common worms are transmitted via microscopic eggs, meaning they could be anywhere. And some of those worms can affect humans, too.

So the trick to bringing your dog to public gatherings is safety on many levels. Vaccines, parasite prevention and socialization are key. If you’re unsure of any of those, take pause and know your dog.

Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at mattsisk2003@yahoo.com.


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