There’s a reason we refer to dogs as our four-legged-friends. They’re kind, smart, protective and they give us their unconditional love. All they want in return is love, walks and lots of fun and treats. Sadly, not every dog is as gentle and as friendly as we would like. This is usually down to poor ownership, a lack of training and even the reinforcement of negative behaviour.
Crossing paths with an aggressive dog is frightening enough for us adults, but when your children are involved, the stakes are much higher. Life-threatening and life-changing injuries, such as those that can occur in a motorcycle accident, exposure to diseases, and of course psychological trauma are all likely when your little one is bitten by a dog.
So, in the event of this traumatizing event occurring, you must know what to do in the immediate aftermath. Read on for what you should do when your child is bitten by a dog.
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Make sure the dog is no longer a threat
Ensure that you and your child are no longer in any danger from the dog in question. Speak with the owner, get their details and if possible – if the dog is still on the loose and is an immediate threat to other children and adults – call the police as soon as possible.
Know your first aid
If the bite has broken through to the skin, your child will undoubtedly be in a lot of pain and distress. Try to keep them calm and apply pressure to the wound to stem the bleeding. If the bleeding is heavy, keep the wound elevated. Always keep your first aid skills up to date.
Be wary of bacteria
The number of bacteria in a dogs mouth will astound you. And it’s this bacterium that can transfer into an open wound and cause all kinds of infections and potential health problems. Clean the wound as quickly as possible, with warm water, keep rinsing the wound to help wash the bacteria away. Once the wound is clean, add some antibacterial cream to the area and keep it covered.
Seek medical attention
If the wound is deep, then you should seek medical attention from a doctor. If you don’t know the dog that has bitten your child, or you’re concerned that the dog hasn’t had vaccinations then you should also seek advice as your child may need a tetanus injection.
And finally, the psychological impact
The pain and absolute terror your child experienced whilst being attacked by a dog is something that they could carry with them throughout their life. PTSD in children after a dog bite is more common than you might think. These symptoms can manifest in several ways, from sudden and unexplainable irritability, sadness, behavioral problems, depression, a feeling that they’re always on edge, issues with sleeping and problems at school.
Never assume that your child will simply “get over” what happened, take their mental fragility seriously and seek advice from your doctor.
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