TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - There is one dog for every four and a half Americans. Unfortunately, four and a half million people get bitten by dogs every year.
Lucas County Canine Care and Control says the majority of those bitten by dogs are kids.
Richard Stewart, director of Lucas County Canine Care and Control, says if you or your kids encounter a dog running around the neighborhood, stay calm - Yelling or screaming could attract the dog.
"You definitely don't want to run. You want to slowly back up until you can't see the dog anymore and then try and take a different route to get home," said Stewart.
It's also important to talk to your kids about how to act around dogs. If you approach a dog, first ask permission to pet the dog.
Then, you want to slowing introduce yourself to the dog without overwhelming them.
"First you show your hand, make sure they're comfortable, before you move on to petting them," said Stewart.
It helps to create a safe place in your home for the dog, like a crate, and teach your child not to bother the dog while they're in their safe place.
If you're having a baby, make sure you slowly get your dog ready for a new member of the family to come into the house.
"Doing things like holding a baby doll that cries, things like that can help your dog get used to those situations," said Stewart.
As a dog owner, make sure your dog is up to date on shots, and always look for changes in their behavior that could trigger them to bite.