PhotoA lot of  people love animals. They love visiting them at zoos, coming home to them as pets and viewing them in their natural habitats.

But sometimes things can go awry between animal and human. Dogs can attack, things in the ocean can bite you, and there are all kinds of things flying around that can give you a nasty sting.

So what are the best ways to avoid animal attacks? 

Dog Bites

According to the American Humane Association, about 4.7 million people in the United States are bitten by a dog each year and 71% of those bites are on the extremities (legs, hands, arms and feet).

Jeremy Talamantes, dog trainer and owner of K-9 Behavior Services, says when you're confronted by a vicious dog, you might be bitten or you might be attacked. And for your own safety, it's important to recognize the difference. 

"You have bites and you have attacks. So the bites happen very often, but the attacks are 'I'm not letting go. I'm going back and forth on you.' And those are the ones that are serious and they can be life threatening situations," said Talamantes in a TV interview.

A lot of experts say not to panic if you're confronted by a mean dog, but that's clearly a difficult thing to do, especially if you have a slight fear or  a full-on phobia. 

But Talamantes says staying calm is the best thing you can do in most cases, because running will set off a natural instinct in the dog and tell him to give chase.

"If you find yourself in a situation where you come around a corner and a dog comes up and he's staring at you, he's sizing you up and at that same moment you need to do the same thing," advised Talamantes.

"You need to stop. Don't move. Don't take off running. If you take off running, you're prey. It's a prey-driven instinct that a dog has. He's going to chase you and he's going to take you down."

In addition, Talamantes says if a dog is biting you for more than three seconds -- it's not a just a bite, it's an attack -- and you'll have to do whatever you can to protect yourself.

He suggests to start screaming to get someone's attention, which probably won't be too hard for you to do considering the circumstances. After that, try to find something to put  in between yourself and the dog, like a garbage can lid, stick or broom.

And just as important, go to the emergency room if you're ever bitten, since the bacteria in a dog's mouth can cause infection, experts say.

Bee Stings

PhotoWhen it comes to avoiding a bee sting, experts say to think about where you're going and plan accordingly.

Researchers at the University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources say to avoid wearing colognes, perfumes or scented soaps if you're going to be in a place that has a lot of bees or wasps.

Additionally, they say not to wear bright or heavily patterned clothing or walk barefoot in areas with a lot of foliage. And if a bee or wasp does land on you, most times it's not looking to sting; it's just looking for water.

"If you remain calm when a bee or wasp lands on your skin to inspect a smell or to get water if you are sweating heavily, the insect eventually will leave of its own accord," wrote the researchers. "If you don't want to wait for it to leave, gently and slowly brush it away with a piece of paper."

Most experts say unless you're disturbing a nest, the chances are high you won't be stung. But if a bee lands on you, you increase those chances if you swat at it or try to hit it.

And after you decide whether you're going to brush the bee off or wait for it to leave, you should slowly back away and go to another area, experts advise.

If you're allergic to bee or wasp stings, get emergency medical treatment immediately. And wearing a Medic-alert bracelet if you're allergic to stings is another smart move.

Bear Attacks

PhotoAs for bear attacks, you're more likely to be bitten by a dog or stung by a bee, but they still happen.

And just because the chances of something bad occurring are low, it doesn't mean that you don't prepare for it in some way, right? 

Like getting struck by lightning. Even though the chances are low, you still take the necessary precautions during a thunderstorm. You don't go walking under a tall tree, for Pete's sake.

According to safety tips provided by various sources, including Hinterland Who's Who and Parks Canada, it's best to make a lot of noise if you're walking through the woods, or in an area that's known to have bears.

Making noise as you walk will alert a bear to your presence, because if it becomes alarmed, you'll increase your chances of being confronted. Generally, bears will try to avoid a confrontation, so if they hear you coming they'll go someplace else, experts say.

If you do run into a bear or one runs into you, slowly back way. Running will only increase the chances of an attack occurring.

And experts say if you plan to be in an area that's known to have bears, you should keep bear spray handy, and have it in a place where you can grab it quickly.

If the bear isn't retreating, hold your arms high above your head. This will make you appear bigger in size to the bear, and it might back off. 

Obviously, these tips will be difficult to follow in the heat of an attack, but you'll still need to be prepared nonetheless. A recent study published in the Journal of Wildlife Management showed that attacks by North American black bears are happening more frequently, as population in the United States and Canada continues to grow.

"We didn't demonstrate why population growth is correlated with more bear attacks," explained Stephen Herrero, a professor at the University of Calgary and one of the study authors. "But we speculate that it could be because bears in those areas are living in less productive habitat with periodic food stress, which may predispose some bears to consider people as prey. 

"With training, people can learn to recognize the behavior of a bear that is considering them as prey and deter an attack by taking aggressive action such as fighting back," he said.

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