Many people are aware of the physical effects that dog bites can have on children, especially since they are smaller and more vulnerable. However, an animal attack can also cause psychological damage to a child.
Whether the attack stems from a known dog or a strange dog, here are some of the psychological effects that dog bites can have on children.
Anxiety or panic episodes
A violent event can cause anxiety or panic in anyone, but young children can be especially prone to these episodes because they are still developing as a person. One sign of anxiety after experiencing a dog bite may be extreme avoidance of dogs, which includes looking at pictures of one or seeing one on television.
After experiencing a dog bite, children may also encounter sleep disturbances in the form of bed-wetting or nightmares. It is important to note if a child has any of these symptoms since lack of sleep can exacerbate other psychological conditions, such as anxiety and depression.
Due to a lack of understanding of why dog bites occur, as well as other reasons, children sometimes blame themselves for a traumatic event like an animal attack. This can do a number on the self-confidence of someone who is beginning to navigate the world on their own. A therapist or other mental health professional can help rebuild a child’s confidence after such an event.
By being aware of the psychological effects of dog bites, a parent can get their child the help they need if they happen to sustain an injury.