Dog Bite Prevention

Animal Services Officers going door to door will be wearing uniforms and carrying City photo ID

Animal Services may be coming to your door!

Animal Services Licensing Officers are going door to door to educate dog owners on their responsibilities to purchase licences for their dogs.

These Officers will be in uniform and carrying City photo identification with them at all times.

Anyone may renew or purchase a licence at their door, online or in person at Hamilton Animal Services, Municipal Law Enforcement or Municipal Service Centre locations


You are responsible for making sure your dog does not bite.

Dogs bite because they are:

  • Protecting their owner, property, food or water, toys or puppies
  • Old and impatient
  • Injured or sick
  • Hurt or surprised by someone pulling its fur, tail or ears
  • Playing rough with someone and get too excited
  • Lost and/or scared

Dog bite prevention tips

Here are some things you can do to prevent a dog biting:

  • Ask the owner if you can pet their dog.
  • Let a dog sniff you first by putting out your hand with your palm facing down.
  • Scratch the dog on the chest or the side of the neck.
  • Do not tease a dog that is behind a fence  , in a car, on a chain, in a house behind a window,  sleeping,  eating,  protecting something like food or puppies.
  • Do not play with a dog unless an adult watches you.
  • Do not hug and kiss a dog. This is a common cause of dog bites.

What to do if a dog approaches you

If a strange or lost dog approaches you:

  • Do not run. Remain still.
  • Do not scream. Do not hit the dog.
  • Do not look the dog in the eyes.

What to do if a dog knocks you over

If you are standing still and a dog knocks you over:

  • Curl up in a ball on the ground with your hands covering your neck.
  • Stay still and do not speak.
  • Do not peek or get up until the dog is gone.
  • Count up to the highest number you know quietly in your head and start again until the dog leaves or an adult comes to help you.

Warning signs that a dog is going to bite 

Do not approach a dog if:

  • It has raised fur on its neck, tail or in a ridge along the entire length of it back.
  • Its tail is pointed high and moving quickly back and forth.
  • It has stiff body posture.
  • You can see the whites of its eyes: when a dog moves its head a little, but doesn’t move its eyes, it is a sign of anxiety.
  • It is growling and/or snapping.
  • It is licking its lips when food is not involved.
  • It is yawning and looking away.
  • It is cowering and tucking its tail.

If you are petting a dog, ask if it wants more. If it stays and snuggles, then they want more. If not, then maybe they do not want more and you should leave them alone.

Dog bites and scratches

  • Seek immediate medical attention if a dog bites you.
  • Contact Public Health Services so they can check for rabies by calling 905-546-3570
  • If you have been bitten by a dog and wish to press charges, contact Animal Services at 905-574-3433.