picture of angry, growling dog

This Version Posted: September 24, 2020

Animal bites can be traumatic and put people at risk of rabies. Let’s be careful around animals to keep bites at bay.  

Advice for Parents/Caregivers
  • Never leave a child alone with an animal (including your own pet)
  • Teach children how to safely act around pets or other animals:
    • Ask a pet owner first if it’s OK to touch or approach an animal. Ensure the owner is in control of the animal and aware while the child is approaching the animal.s
    • Do not disturb animals that are sleeping, eating, caring for their young, or showing signs of illness
    • Get children to keep away from wild or stray animals, If a wild animal growls or is aggressive, back away slowly. Never turn around and run. Avoid direct eye contact. Wild animals (like foxes and raccoons) that are friendly may be sick, so stay away!
Advice for Small Children
Advice for Pet Owners
  • Be responsible, especially if children are near your pet
  • Keep pets on leashes and under control when out in public spaces/trails
  • Vaccinate your pet against rabies. It’s the law!

What to Do if Bitten by an Animal

  • Get the pet owner’s contact information. If possible, take a picture of the animal or remember specific features (like markings, collar with tags). This helps with the follow-up investigation to ensure the correct animal is identified.
  • Wash the bite area with soap and water
  • Get medical care right away. Rabies is fatal if left untreated
  • Report the bite or scratch to the Health Unit so that further investigation can be done.

For more information, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5006, or email info@hkpr.on.ca.

Additional Resources