Keep Everyone Safe: Warning Signs That A Dog May Bite


Here at Pupaholic we love dogs! A love for dogs is seeing another dog and approaching it to pet it and say hello. But, when you approach an unfamiliar dog — even if you have premium dog treats in your pocket — you’ll always want to ask the owner first if you may pet the dog, because you don’t know if the dog is friendly or if it will bite.

It’s important to know the warning signs of when a dog is about to bite, because even if you get permission, the animal has the ultimate choice, and may not want the attention. A dog may even be roaming around without a person, and this scenario is one you’ll want to know the signs of as well to prevent any bites or attacks. Overall, keep yourself and the dog safe.  

The signs

Oftentimes, it can be difficult to tell if a dog is agitated because many times dogs are corrected for displaying these behaviors, and suppress the warning behaviors, whether it be growling or barking. The bites that are out of nowhere, are most likely the dogs that have been conditioned by their owners to not exhibit these behaviors.

Always be aware of your body language and don’t rush up to a dog; adjust your behavior according to the dog’s body language. The following are common signs the dog may bite:

  • Growling, showing teeth, or snapping - these signs are very physically obvious signs that a dog is about to bite. Growling and snarling are a dog’s way of expressing that they’re unhappy or uncomfortable with the situation. If a dog is growling as you’re approaching, back off and give the dog space. Being mindful of the situation in which the snapping occurs can be a good indication of why it’s happening. Does your dog growl when you approach it while it’s eating or sleeping? Knowing why a dog is doing this, can help alert you to situations in which you should leave a dog be.

  • A wagging tail - people usually experience a happy dog when its tail is wagging, so most find it surprising that it can be an aggressive trait. Instead, pay attention to the way the dog is wagging its tail. A happy dog will wag with its whole body, while an upset dog will be rigid with a highly pointed tail that moves back and forth very rapidly.

  • Fur that is raised - when there is too much stimulation, the hair on a dog’s back may stand up, so if you notice this change, it’s a signal for you to back off.

  • Harsh or rigid body posturing - a dog’s body posture is a dead giveaway on when it’s about to become aggressive. A happy dog will have a relaxed body with low-hanging ears, while an upset dog will have an extremely stiff body with raised ears. If you reach out to pet a dog, and this happens, move away and give it space.  

Keep everyone safe

We understand your love for furry friends, but read their body language before approaching. To help butter a dog up, speak to its belly, and try carrying some of our premium dog treats with you! Leave a trail of treats for the dog to follow!

Shop our premium dog treats today!