Dog bites aren’t all that common, but they can be severe when they do happen. Around one out of every five people who suffers a dog bite will have to seek medical care for the injury. Two primary concerns in these cases are pain and infection.

Fortunately, there are some ways to decrease the chance that a dog will bite you. While these aren’t foolproof, they are a good start. It is imperative that everyone, including children, know how to behave around dogs.

One of the most important things to remember is never to approach a dog you don’t know. If the dog is with its owner, you can ask the owner if you can pet it. Only approach the dog if they say it is okay. Even then, you should go up to the dog slowly.

If you see a dog that doesn’t have its owner present, don’t run away from it or try to go near it. Instead, move away slowly, but if the dog is coming toward you, try not to panic. With very few exceptions, it is best to remain still if a strange dog comes to you.

Dogs will sometimes attack even if you haven’t done anything to warrant an attack. Going on the defensive is your best bet in these cases. Try to put something between you and the dog. Even a purse or backpack can provide some protection. Curl into a ball and protect your ears and neck with your arms if you are knocked down.

Even if the wound doesn’t seem bad, you should have it checked by a medical professional. There is a high risk of infection, but having the area flushed out and receiving antibiotics might be beneficial. If you don’t know the dog’s owner, you don’t have a way of knowing whether it has a rabies vaccination, so you might need to receive additional care because of that.

You do have the option of seeking compensation from the dog’s owner if you can find out who that is. Make sure you consider all the damages you face, so you aren’t left in a financial crisis because of the bite.