When the bite is worse than the bark

Owning a dog can be one of life’s greatest joys and provides many benefits, from better mental health to increased physical activity. When we think about the costs involved, things like vet appointments, doggy daycare and unexpected health concerns spring to mind. If you’ve never thought of the cost associated with dog bites, you’re not alone.


Have you thought about the following:

  1. Local bylaws. Do you live in an area with breed-specific legislation? For example, pit bulls are banned in all of Ontario. Many other municipalities have different variations of restrictions on aggressive and/or breed-specific dogs. Be informed before you pick a pooch.
  2. Let your insurer know that you have a dog at home. When shopping for a home insurance policy or looking for a dog to add to your family, have a conversation with your insurance broker about any potential restrictions and other matters about coverage.
  3. Consider the damage your dog can do. This is an important factor to consider when choosing to adjust your policy’s coverage amount for your personal liability. If your dog bites another person or another dog, you may be liable for things like healthcare costs, property damage and lost wages, as well as legal fees involved. These expenses can add up quickly.


Just because your dog isn’t considered a ‘dangerous’ breed, it doesn’t mean that it won’t bite. Dogs can also cause damages without biting. For example, knocking someone over, or causing damages to your neighbour’s property. Training, education and behavioural interventions could be your best bet to reduce the chance of attack or bad habits.



Yellow pages - Should you sue over a dog bite

Canada Safety Council - Protecting children from dog bites



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