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Avoid a bite, teach your kids about safety around strange dogs

Even though we consider dogs to be man's best friend, some breeds aren't as prone to friendliness as others. This can lead to major problems for people who are unfamiliar with a dog's disposition, especially if the dog becomes aggressive and bites.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, every year, approximately 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs. Of those who are bitten, children and young teens make up the largest portion at 70 percent. Because bites can range in severity from the very minor to those that require extensive surgeries to correct, we wanted to outline a few safety tips that both adults and children can follow to help avoid a possible dog bite.

Watch a dog's body language for clues of aggression or fear. Dog attacks can be both provoked and unprovoked. Because dogs speak a different language than us, it's difficult sometimes to tell when this has happened. We can however look at their body language to see what state they're in. Are their ears up and their tail wagging? Or is their body tense with their ears lowered? These signs can point to friendliness or aggression respectively and are great indicators of when to approach a dog or not.

If the dog is out on a walk with their owner, ask for permission before petting.Not only is this tip good manners but it's also another great way to avoid a sudden and unwanted bite. While some dogs might be incredibly friendly in their own home, their disposition may be very different when out on a walk. If an owner gives permission, offer the dog the back of your hand in a slow, non-threatening way. If the owner says no, respect their response as it may indicate the temperament of the dog.

When encountering a stray, avoid turning your back or running away. Most dogs' natural instinct is to chase something that is running from them. Because you don't know how aggressive a stray dog is, try to avoid running or turning your back. If the dog does attack, stand still and straight with your arms in. If you are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball and try not to move.

If a dog does attack, it's important to remember that you may be owed compensation from the owner. Getting help from an attorney is a good way to make sure this happens.

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