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Dog Bites and the Yellow Ribbon Campaign

Dog bites pose a major public health concern in children and adults. Every year, hundreds of people are bitten by dogs in our communities, resulting in physical and emotional trauma, time away from work or school.

The first step in preventing dog bites is to understand why a dog may bite. A dog may bite if it feels threatened, is in pain, or is protecting its territory. Dogs may also bite because of fear, anxiety, or confusion. It's important to remember that any dog, no matter how friendly or well-behaved, can bite if provoked or startled.

To help prevent dog bites, it's important to be aware of a dog's body language. Signs that a dog may be feeling threatened or anxious include lip-licking, yawning, panting, and averting its gaze. If you see these signs, it's best to back away slowly and give the dog some space.

It's also important to teach children how to interact with dogs safely. Children should always be supervised when around dogs and should never approach a dog they don't know. They should also be taught to never tease or startle a dog, climb on or 'ride' a dog, pull on its ears or tail, or reach into its food bowl.

Yellow Ribbon Campaign

See a yellow ribbon on a dog or pet? Give it space!

If you see a dog or animal with a yellow ribbon (or any colour yellow on its collar/leash), it’s a sign to give the animal space. Remember, yellow means caution!

Yellow on a stoplight = slow down.
Yellow on a dog = I need space!

If your dog needs space, use a yellow ribbon!

If your dog/pet needs space, tie a yellow ribbon (or tag/bandana) on its collar or leash. This lets people know not to pet or approach your animal. Some reasons a dog/pet may need space:

  • In Training: Let them focus on their lesson.
  • Age: Older dogs may be grumpy, sleepy, and less social. Give them space…they’ve earned it! 
  • Health reasons: A dog may feel unwell or be recovering from surgery/operation and needs space to heal.
  • Personality: Some dogs are aggressive, anxious, nervous, fearful, shy, skittish or anti-social by nature.

Related Information

Get more information on insects, animals and bites.

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