Dogs may make faithful companions and playful pets, but it is important to remember that they are also animals with instincts. It is easy to forget this fact and leave your children alone with a dog, especially in a park or public area where you assume the animals are friendly. The reality is that 4.5 million children get bit by dogs every year. Protecting your child and helping them recover from the trauma of dog bites is an essential part of their healing.
Getting Medical Attention
Minor bites can often be cared for at home with basic first aid after your child is bitten by a dog. If the dog is unfamiliar, the bite is deep, the wound won’t stop bleeding, or if there are any signs of infection, go to the doctor or hospital immediately. Dogs can carry bacteria in their mouths that can harm children, and medical attention may be necessary. Serious bites need to be seen immediately by a medical professional.
Understanding How the Child Feels
Caring for your child physically after a dog bite is only one part of helping him or her heal. Many children experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after being bitten by a dog. This can be difficult for an adult to comprehend. Experts tell parents to imagine that they were attacked by an angry, open-mouthed bear that stands as tall as they are. This is the equivalent of a full-sized dog attacking your child. You can imagine the trauma you might feel after going back into the forest after a bear attack; the same is true for your child who must return to their own home or neighborhood after being bit by a dog.
Tips for Helping Children Overcome the Trauma of Dog Bites
Studies show that a high number of children experience PTSD after a dog bite. Look for and recognize these symptoms: excessive anxietyanxiety, poor sleep, decreased performance in school, irritability, withdrawal, altered appetite, reduced creativity and/or behavior problems. These symptoms may be present all of the time but may become more pronounced when a child is around a dog.
If your child was bitten by a dog, they must see a therapist as soon as possible. Studies show that the sooner a child sees a therapist after a bite, the better they will heal. The therapist will be able to assess your child and offer treatment options. Listening to your child, reassuring them that this was not their fault and encouraging education can also help them recover from the trauma.
After a dog bite, your child will need help in recovering from the trauma physically, mentally, and emotionally. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to guide them in this healing by getting them the medical assistance they need and listening to their fears and concerns. The proper care and treatment may be expensive, so talk to a personal injury lawyer to get compensation to care for your child.