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Dog Bite Prevention – Reading Body Language

It is vital for veterinary team members to read dog body language in order to safely and effectively perform medical treatments on our canine friends while minimizing dogs’ stress.

Although dogs cannot speak our verbal language, most dogs communicate with humans and other dogs through body language.  Dog body language can be as subtle as eye or ear position adjustments and as obvious as snarling or cowering.  It is important that all humans who live or interact with dogs are able to read their body language in order to minimize the risk of dog bites during stressful situations for our canine companions.

Below is a link to a poster that shows many subtle stress signals dogs use for communication. The examples within the poster are very polite ways that dogs communicate that they don’t like a situation and/or they are uncomfortable.  If we respect the non-verbal, polite communication from our canine friends, our risks of experiencing a dog bite reduce dramatically.


Humans are taught to respect when other humans are uncomfortable and say “No”. By learning to read dog’ body language, you will be able to provide our canine friends with the same respect.