This is National Dog Bite Prevention Week, and experts say they hope education and following simple tips help reduce the number of bites.

The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that nearly 5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States.

Michael Duffey, an animal cruelty investigator for the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, says a key tip for avoiding being bitten is that observation often can tell one what a dog intends to do.

He says if the dog's eyes get wide so the whites are visible, or if the canine's lip curls back, its head comes down and its tail stiffens, it may be ready to bite.

"It's time for you to increase the amount of space between you and that animal," Duffey says, "not necessarily to run away, but get away from him. He's warning you with a non-verbal cue that he's likely to bite you."

Duffey doesn't believe specific breeds are more likely to bite than others because upbringing and training play vital roles in how animals turn out.

When in doubt about a dog's background and disposition, he says it is better to err on the side of caution.