Preventing dog bites and what to do if one happens

Preventing dog bites and what to do if one happens



Any dog can bite, regardless of their size or breed (yes, even your perfect dog!). However, there are things you can do to reduce the chances of your dog biting someone.

In public, keep your dog on leash and give other animals and people enough room to keep their distance. If your dog doesn’t like interacting with strangers (human or canine), it’s OK to make that clear to people who approach you. This may feel unfriendly, but dealing with the consequences of a dog bite will feel even worse!

Many dog bites happen at home, both to members of the household as well as visitors. You can reduce the chances of your pet injuring a visitor with a little planning. Place your dog on a leash or move them to another space before opening your door or gate for delivery drivers and other visitors. Getting bit is a real risk when trying to take food, food wrappers or toys away from otherwise well-behaved creatures, so be careful when doing this. Lastly, always monitor children carefully around your dog.

Talk to your veterinarian if you are worried about your dog’s behavior around others or in general. Changes in behavior can indicate a medical problem. Even if it’s not medical, your veterinarian can help you decide how to best address concerning behaviors.

If your dog does bite someone or you are bitten by a dog, seek medical help if necessary and then call Washington County Disease Control and Prevention at 503-846-3594 for information about how to file a bite report. It is important for you to report any animal bite that breaks your skin because of the risk of disease. Washington County will provide you with next steps depending on the situation.

Finally, keep your dog’s rabies vaccination and licensing up to date. We hope your dog never bites anyone, but if they do, you will be glad these things are in place.


For more information on these topics and more, please visit The Bonnie Hays Animal Shelter is located at 1901 SE 24th Ave in Hillsboro. If you have a question for the animal shelter, email