Calgary's Animal and Bylaw Services says the number of reported dog bites by family pets are on the rise.

Two children were bitten by dogs in the past week β€” one fatally. A newborn baby in Airdrie died this week after being attacked by the family's Husky.

And just over a week ago, 3-year-old Macie Haskill from Blackie, located roughly 85 kilometres south of Calgary, needed stitches after the neighbour's German shepherd bit her face.


Macie Haskill, a three-year-old from Blackie, Alta., was attacked by her neighbour's German shepherd on Feb. 8. (Submitted by the Haskills)

Bill Bruce, the head of bylaw services, says he's starting to notice a trend.

"So what we are tracking now is an increase in house dog bites, by the family pet to a family member or visitor to the home or just a visitor to the property," he said.

Bruce says he's not sure why β€” dog owners are either becoming more aware and reporting every incident or its happening more often.

Watch for warning signs

"It can be as simple as if your dog resists when you try to move it off the couch," said Bruce. "That's a warning flag. That's a sign that something is going to happen if that's not corrected, and so it’s how do we get people to understand those warning signs."

He said one solution might be better public education. Bruce says the hard lesson learned is to "never ever leave your dog alone with children."

Regardless, dog behavioural expert Stanley Coren says dog bites are on the rise, but only slightly, because dog ownership is on the rise. He said, however, there are warning signs.

"You know if you go near their food bowl they'll growl, or if you try to take something out of their mouth, or a toy from them, they respond with by growling or threatening and that's usually a bad sign," he said, adding the owners should then get some professional help before someone gets hurt.

With files from CBC's Colleen Underwood