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After a dog bite, you can help your child heal emotionally

There is nothing worse than seeing your child suffer from severe injuries from a neighborhood pet. You normally trust your neighbors and allow your child to greet them and their pets when they see them, but today was different. The dog was tired or wanted to protect its owner, and in doing so, your child got hurt.

When a child suffers a dog bite, he or she may struggle with the emotional side of the injury for some time. It's not just the physical injuries that you have to worry about. He or she may struggle to feel normal and may have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which could present with nightmares or night terrors, a fear of animals or other symptoms.

How can you help your child?

Remind your child that it isn't his or her fault. Dogs are animals, and even they can become aggressive for little to no reason. It can be hard for a child to understand why a normally friendly pet would attack, and that inability to trust an animal can take time to get over. Don't rush things by trying to reintroduce him or her to animals; take time to allow your child to heal and slowly begin the reintroduction process with calm, monitored situations.

Start talking to your child about his or her feelings immediately after the attack, so you can help him or her get through the emotions. Keep talking about the event until your child can discuss it without fear or anxiety. Only then can your child really focus on moving forward instead of on the stress of what happened.

Remember, the person who owns the dog is liable for your child's injuries. If he or she requires therapy or other medical services, the owner should pay for those services. Our site has more information.

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