As lovable as they can be, dogs can also cause frightening experiences that are often tough to deal with. Being bitten by a dog can result in a variety of symptoms of anxiety and post-traumatic disorder (PTSD). There are, however, key tips you can consider to help you recover from the mental trauma caused by a dog bite.
Take a look at the following important tips to help you overcome your mental trauma caused by a dog bite.
Ensure Your Safety Around Dogs
Anyone who has been bitten by a dog may be struggling with anxiety caused by the dog bite. There are even some cases where, although the dog bite is mainly to blame for the anxiety, you begin to question your safety when you are near dogs in general.
- To deal with anxiety relating to your safety around dogs, take steps to make yourself feel safe and secure every time there’s a dog near you. For example, you may want to bring a first aid kit with you in case you get bitten by a dog, or get the number of your local animal control department so you can call them immediately after a dog bite.
- When you visit houses where dogs live, ask your hosts politely if they can secure their dogs in another room or somewhere where you don’t have to worry about them compromising your safety.
Avoid Dogs as Much as Possible
If you haven’t gotten over the dog bite yet, it’s best if you avoid dogs for now. It’s normal to be afraid of dogs and avoid them, especially after one of them has bitten you.
It’s normal if you are still afraid of walking around the area or street where a dog has bitten you, or if you don’t want to visit your friend that has a big dog. Avoid being close to dogs in general for now and give yourself ample time to regain a sense of balance in facing your fear of dogs.
Practice Deep Breathing and Relaxation Techniques
Taking deep breaths and relaxing your body can do a lot in helping you overcome your anxieties about dogs. Here are the basics:
- Clench your fist as you visualize your feelings of anxiety about dogs.
- Hold your breath for five seconds before releasing it, and imagine your anxiety being released as you open your fists.
- You can also try pulling your shoulders up into a shrug and put all your anxiety there. Hold your breath for five seconds and then release it along with your anxious thoughts.
You can try this breathing and be relaxing exercises to help you ease up and feel relaxed every time you are near a dog.
Educate Yourself More About Dog Behavior
You can empower yourself and overcome your fear of dog bites by learning more about dog behavior. Learn to interpret a dog’s body language in order to help you prevent getting a bit again in the future. Just make sure not to focus on the mistake you made that caused a dog to bite you in the past.
Aim, instead, to rebuild your confidence so you don’t have to be afraid when there’s a dog around. For example, get to know when a dog is likely to behave badly, especially if it feels uncomfortable.
Teach Yourself What to Do When Confronted by a Dog
As much as you want to avoid dogs, you may eventually stumble upon them, especially if you are walking to your home the normal route or visit your friend who has a dog. Knowing what to do in these situations can give you an additional sense of security to help prevent another dog bite.
- When you see an unfamiliar, unleashed dog, don’t get near to it no matter what happens, but don’t run away either.
- Don’t panic. Instead, stay still and be calm. Be aware of your situation and take deep breaths so you can stay in control of your scared and anxious feelings. Keep your heart rate and breathing stable, so the dog will understand that you are not a threat to them.
- Avoid direct eye contact with the dog, or facing your body directly to it. Try standing to the side so you don’t look aggressive to the dog.
- You can also say to the dog in a firm deep voice, “Go away!” and wait for the dog to pass by or back away before you move.
Mental trauma after a dog bite can be very tough to deal with, especially for children. It’s only normal to feel afraid after being bitten by a dog as it is a frightening experience that may also cause serious injuries, especially if the dog that bit you is rather big. Dog bite victims will need support from everyone around them to help reduce the stress caused by the traumatic experience.
Aside from mental support, a dog bite victim will also need emotional support, especially from friends and family, to help them improve their coping strategies. Use the tips above to help you recover from the mental trauma after a dog bite. Just remember to give yourself enough time to recover and forget about the threatening experience.
However, if someone you love has died as a result of a dog bite, you can click here to help you navigate your legal options on cases involving wrongful death.
About The Author:
Joanne Reed has been writing about law and business for almost a decade and is currently writing her next big law project. She is an avid sports fan and loves watching games if she has free time.