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Latest health and behavior news and advice from the veterinarians at Tufts University.

News & Views July 2019 Issue

When Dogs’ Reactions to the Mail Carrier Go Beyond Cute

© Kzenon | Bigstock

Things are not always so copacetic between dogs and mail carriers.

Dogs barking at the mailman are fairly common, but some 6,000 attacks on letter carriers occur each year, according to the U.S. Postal Service, and some are quite serious. Among the cities with the greatest number of attacks: Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Minneapolis. But attacks occur all over the country, involving not just bites but also knocking letter carriers to the ground, sometimes necessitating emergency room visits.

If you have a reactive dog:

-Always make sure he or she is indoors or behind a high fence when the mail carrier comes by.

-Don’t open your door to accept packages until you have confined your pet to another room with the door closed.

-Don’t let children accept the mail. A pet dog who is protective of the youngsters in the household may see the interaction as threatening.

-Bear in mind that a reactive dog can sometimes break through a screen or even a window.

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