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A lawsuit may be filed if you suffer a dog bite

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows that nearly five million Americans are bitten by dogs each year. At least 50 percent of those are children. Some 30,000 people were forced to undergo plastic surgery to repair a disfiguring injury caused by a dog bite in 2014. Many of these injuries could have been easily prevented.

According to the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery, one step parents can take to help reduce their child's risk of being bitten by a dog is to sit down with a veterinarian to learn what breed of dog may be the best fit for them.

After selecting the right dog, they should have it neutered, vaccinated and trained before introducing it to their children. Doing so may greatly reduce its desire to bite. However, if your child runs past it, awakens it from its sleep or bothers it while it's eating, then it may still snap at them.

While parents should never leave their dog alone with a baby or young child, it's important for them to teach their older kids how to interact with it too. You'll want to instruct them to let the dog sniff them and to pet them gently. You should also let them know to never touch the dog aggressively, grab its tail or get in its face.

Parents should also teach their kids to remain calm and to not make eye contact with their dog if it becomes aggressive. They should also advise them to curl up in a ball and cover their face if a dog charges them.

Any person who is bitten by a dog should immediately wash their wound with warm soapy water. Pressure should be applied to any puncture wounds to get the bleeding to stop as they attempt to seek out additional medical care.

While most dog bites result in minor injuries that leave behind little to no scarring, an aggressive animal can seriously hurt or kill someone. A Knoxville animal bite attorney may advise you that you're eligible to sue their owner for your medical costs, pain and suffering and other types of damages depending on the circumstances of your case.

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