URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — This week is “National Dog Bite Prevention Week” and an expert gave tips on how to keep you and your loved ones safe.

According to State Farm, Illinois is the second-ranked state in the country with dog-related injury claims with 290 of the 3,260 national claims in 2021.

Breanne Tabbert, volunteer coordinator and behavior specialist at the Champaign County Humane Society, offered valuable tips on how to avoid getting bitten by a dog.

Tabbert first explained that it is important to read a dog’s body language and not come into their space uninvited. She said that you should always listen to vocalizations and always ask a dog’s handler permission before petting them.

“Allowing them to do their own thing is most appropriate,” Tabbert said.

Likewise, it is crucial to be aware of your own body language as well. For example, you should not reach out or bend at the waist because that can be intimidating for a dog.

Instead, it is recommended that you crouch down to get on eye level with the dog before approaching it.

Similarly, it is particularly crucial to instruct children to exercise these steps as well.

“Any dog with teeth has the ability to bite, regardless of age, size or breed,” Tabbert said.

As a dog owner, there are also several steps you can take to avoid a dog-related accident. Tabbert said that you should make an effort to socialize your dog, instruct them how to politely greet others and (with puppies in particular) address their impulse control.

She also shared that it is important for your dog to have a healthy output to play, because sometimes, dog bites are simply the result of overly aggressive playful behavior.

Tabbert works with many different pets to address behavioral issues, but she also “highly encourages” seeking out a trainer and/or consulting your veterinarian if your dog has a tendency to bite others.