According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dogs attack an estimated five million Americans every single year. Alarmingly, more than half of dog bite victims are children.
During an attack, you may expect your son or daughter to sustain a variety of physical injuries. Regrettably, dog bites often leave kids with long-term psychological damage.
Cynophobia is simply the fear of dogs. While it is possible for someone to develop the condition without going through an animal attack, dog bites often cause cynophobia. If you live in a place where dogs are popular, cynophobia may be psychologically crippling for your child. After all, your son or daughter probably cannot avoid dogs forever.
Often more serious than cynophobia, agoraphobia is fear of leaving one’s house. If your child becomes agoraphobic, he or she may not be able to participate in normal child-related activities. Even worse, agoraphobia may continue into adulthood, significantly limiting your son’s or daughter’s ability to participate in everyday society.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
PTSD is ongoing anxiety that stems from a traumatic event. Unfortunately, because children have developing brains, diagnosing and treating PTSD can be difficult. Your son or daughter may have nightmares, anxiety or depression for years after the dog attack.
Even if your son or daughter has not suffered physical injuries in a dog attack, he or she may have significant psychological ones. Therefore, after a bite, you may want to ask a psychologist to investigate whether your child has cynophobia, agoraphobia, PTSD or another psychological injury.