Helping a Child Recover After a Dog Bite
Dog bite victims, especially children, may experience more than just physical injury as a result of the incident. They may also be traumatized by the attack and reluctant to interact with dogs in the future. You can help your child recover both physically and emotionally by following these guidelines.
But first, follow these basic steps to ensure your child gets the proper care:
- Get medical attention. Even if your child’s injury does not seem serious, bring them to the doctor for an evaluation.
- Monitor the bite for signs of infection. If you notice any of the signs of an infection, seek medical care.
Slowly Reintroduce Dogs Into Your Child’s Life
If a dog bites your child, it is perfectly natural for them to be fearful of dogs and try to avoid them. But avoiding dogs indefinitely may be impossible. Parents can help their children get over their fear of dogs by slowly reintroducing dogs into their life.
First, animal experts suggest helping your child practice petting and approaching a real dog by using a stuffed animal. You may also want to show your child photos of real dogs to slowly reintroduce them to your child.
Once the child is comfortable with the photos and stuffed animal, you can call someone you know who has a friendly dog and ask them to bring the dog around the child. Do not force your child to approach the dog, but support them whenever they feel ready to get closer.
Teach Your Child How to Interact With Dogs
Help your child build confidence around dogs by explaining that not all dogs bite and even dogs that do may do so for a reason. If they take precautions, they can avoid a dog bite. Here are some safety tips:
- Always ask the dog’s owner before approaching or petting it.
- Make a fist to protect their fingers and allow the dog to sniff their hand.
- Do not approach or touch dogs that are eating.
- Do not approach or touch dogs that are chewing or playing with a toy. Never take a toy away from a dog.
- Do not approach or touch a dog that is sleeping.
- Do not play rough with dogs.
- Do not pull dogs’ ears, tails, lips, paws, or other body parts.
- If a dog exhibits signs of aggression, stay away.
Teach Your Child Signs a Dog Is About to Bite
Explain which signs might indicate a dog is unfriendly and that should indicate that your child needs to stay away from the dog:
- Aggressive barking, snarling, and/or growling
- Tail up, wagging stiffly
- Ears back
- Curled lips
- Rigid body
- Attempts to block your path
- Lunges forward
Teach your child these signs and tell them to slowly back away from any dog that is exhibiting one or more of them. If the child is unable to walk away, advise the child to speak calmly and softly and keep their hands low to avoid threatening the dog.
Seek Help From a Mental Health Professional
It can be hard for some children to recover from a traumatic event like a dog bite without professional help. Some dog bite victims may suffer from depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder, which can affect their lives in many ways. Psychologists and other mental health professionals can work with the child to help them move past their fears and teach them how to cope with their trauma.
Our Attorneys Can Assist You With Your Dog Bite Injury Claim
If a dog bit your child, you can help your child recovery physically and emotionally. However, medical treatments, therapy sessions, and other costs can add up quickly and cause financial stress. The dog bite attorneys at the Law Office of Jason Schultz, P.C. can help you recover compensation to pay for your expenses and allow you to focus on your child’s wellbeing. Contact us at 404-474-0804.
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