Being anxious and scared around animals doesn’t help – let them know you and sniff you as you learn to care for them

When I go to my friend's house I am always very anxious about her dog. The dog seems very friendly to all but when she looks at me, she seems hostile. Is there anything I can do?

Stop being anxious. If you regularly feel anxious, you might be the perfect candidate for a dog bite. According to a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, dog bites are three times more common in anxious people. Questionnaires were given to 700 people who had been bitten by dogs, asking them to elaborate on one biting incident, providing information on how old they were at the time of the bite, their relationship to the dog. Adult respondents also filled out a 10-item personality test, which helped researchers categorise the participants according to the so-called Big Five personality traits (extroversion, conscientiousness, openness to new experiences, agreeableness and emotional stability).

Men were nearly twice as likely as women to have been bitten in their lifetimes. About 44 per cent bites occurred in childhood (when participants were younger than 16 years old), and 55 per cent bites were inflicted by dogs that the victim had never met before the incident. Most surprising, though, was an apparent link between dog bites and respondents who scored lowest for emotional stability on the personality test. The more emotionally unstable a person was, the more likely they were to have been bitten by a dog. Findings suggest that the less anxious, irritable and depressed a person is, the less likely they are to have been bitten.

I have to leave home for a couple of months for work purposes. Is there any service or organisation which can look after my dog during this period?

Sometimes situations arise when you need to leave your pet alone for a long period of time. In such a situation it is best to ask a close friend, relative or colleague to board your pet for the duration. If this is not possible, you can try to get a professional pet sitter or pet lodging service. Though such services are not as commonly available in India and may only be available in major towns and cities. You can try websites like or to find a family to take in your pet for a while. Before sending your pet away, meet up with the family or person who has agreed to look after your pet and check if the home is ideal for your pet. Keep tabs about your pet's well-being even when you are away.

I am relocating to a different country. Can I take my pet with me?

Yes. Most countries allow you to bring your pet along. However, you will have to contact the country's consulate or any animal rights organisation there to help you find the legal procedure about bringing your pet with you. You will also have to prepare all the necessary paperwork and medical history from a reputed authorised organisation. You may also be required to have a microchip or RFID placed in your pet. Organisations like Petsfly can also help you relocate your pet in a more comfortable and convenient manner.

(Views expressed and information provided are personal. Send your questions to

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