Main page content begins here

Dog Bite Prevention - Learn the Warning Signs

Even good dogs bite.  Respect the signs.

As a pet owner, you are responsible for preventing your dog from chasing, attacking or biting people or other animals. Dog bites can happen for a lot of reasons. From a teething puppy nipping your hand, to an excited dog reaching for a toy or a fear reaction from a dog on the street. Increasing safety and reducing risks are two of the easiest ways to reduce the chance of a dog bite.

Dog Bite Prevention

How Can I Prevent Getting Bitten?
  • Be wary of approaching or reaching toward unfamiliar dogs
  • Watch the dog’s signals and body language. If it is crouching, growling, flattening its ears or baring its teeth, it is not comfortable with you
  • Avoid sudden movements, particularly around the dog’s head
  • If an unfamiliar dog approaches you, stand motionless, stay calm and be assertive. Do not turn your back on the dog or run away from it
  • Do not startle or move toward a dog protecting its food, puppies, owner, toys, or territory
How Do I Greet An Unfamiliar Dog With Its Owner?
  • Ask the owner if the dog is friendly and if you have permission to pet the dog
  • Let the dog sniff you, but try to keep your hands away from its face
  • Pet the dog under its chin; this is less threatening than petting the top of its head
What Should I Do During a Dog Attack?
  • Give the dog something to bite like a purse, bag or jacket
  • Put a barrier between you and the dog such as a bike, table or tree
  • If you fall or are knocked to the ground, lay face down and protect your head and ears
What Do I Do After a Dog Attack?
  • Wash wounds with soap and water and, if possible, loosely cover with gauze
  • Immediately contact your doctor or 911 for emergency medical care
  • Contact the Animal Care & Control Centre through 311 to report the bite
  • Be prepared to report the date, time and place of the incident; where on your body you were bitten; information about the dog and its owner; and the sequence of events

Dog Early Warning System Bandanas

D.E.W.S is the Dog Early Warning System

The Dog Bandana Wearing System (D.E.W.S.) is a simple way to communicate at a distance, whether or not unfamiliar dogs may be approached. D.E.W.S. is not meant to label a dog as being either “good” or “bad” but rather, the system was developed to give responsible pet owners an opportunity to indicate how their dog must be approached.

Red - means Do Not Approach! It means that the owner does not wish for their dog to be approached that day. The owner may want uninterrupted time to themselves, or their dog may be: in training, old, injured, sick, post surgery or submissive.

Yellow - means Caution!  The owner is open to interaction but asks that you seek permission first and listen to instructions when approaching the dog. These dogs may have sensitivities to men, kids, hats, other dogs or a number of other reasons to proceed with caution.

Green - means that the dog is known to be friendly and would love some attention. But remember… even good dogs can bite so you must ask for permission from the owner to approach.


This information is provided as a service by Berkeley's Place (the “Company”) and the City of Edmonton (the "City"). The Company and the City make no warranties or representations regarding the effectiveness of the Dog Early Warning System (the “D.E.W.S.”) or the accuracy of a particular bandana colour. Further, the Company and the City assume no responsibility, and shall not be liable, for any injuries, loss or damage to any individual or animal which may occur as a result of using or relying on the D.E.W.S.

Purchase a D.E.W.S. Bandana

Berkley's Place is your source for the D.E.W.S. bandanas.

You can purchase a D.E.W.S bandana directly from Berkeley’s Place (13550 163 Street, Edmonton). All proceeds go directly to their mission of providing supplies, food, medical equipment and support to various animal rescue organizations.

For More Information

Animal Care & Control Centre

13550 - 163 Street
Edmonton, AB

Facility information and hours

Online Contact 311

In Edmonton: 311

Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311

Fax 780-496-8824

End of page content. Please choose between the following five options:

Back to main menu Back to current page menu and content View current page breadcrumb Back to site search Continue to page footer content