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How can parents help children heal from dog bites?

After your child is bitten by a dog, you know that the physical injuries usually take some time to heal. However, your child may also have emotional injuries which can linger long after the phyical wounds are gone. A previous blog discussed the physical injuries you should look for immediately after the bite. It is equally important for you to recognize emotional injuries so you can help your child recover.

Talking about the dog bite can help you assess how your child is doing emotionally. According to, you should usually start speaking with your child after the bite occurs. Instead of asking him how he feels, telling him how you felt when you saw a barking dog helps your child understand that his fear is normal. Sometimes your child may refuse to talk about the incident. In this situation, it is recommended that you find other ways to understand how he feels. Having him draw a picture of the incident is one way you can discern your child's emotional state.

You should typically speak with your child about the incident every day for about three weeks. This helps your child to process the bite in a healthy way. As the two of you speak, it is usually best to avoid telling your child what he should have done. Instead, remind him that he is not responsible for the dog bite.

You may find that discussing the incident is not enough to help your child heal emotionally. Post-traumatic stress disorder can sometimes accompany a dog bite, and you may notice that your child is having nightmares or developing changes in his behavior. In these situations, counseling can be a good way for both you and your child to move past a dog bite.


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