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How do dog bites mentally impact their victims?

On Behalf of | May 7, 2020 | Animal Bites

Massachusetts has plenty of dogs and dog owners. This means there are also plenty of bite attacks. Unfortunately, most bite attacks do not come from unfamiliar dogs. They originate from dogs that people know well, such as the dog of a neighbor, friend or family member.

This is often a traumatic event for the victim. Today we will set aside the physical repercussions of a bite attack. Instead, we will focus on the mental and emotional toll this violence has.

Fear of dogs in bite victims

Science Direct discusses the consequences of dog bite attacks. First, it can create a fear within the victim of dogs and dog bites. This makes living with dogs difficult and problematic. If the dog that attacked the victim was the family dog or a friend’s dog, they may not want to interact with the dog again. This can create stress and tension between household members.

The victim may also suffer from other mental health issues. This includes depression and anxiety. Some may suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. It is also common for victims to develop phobias. Agoraphobia and cynophobia are common. The latter is a fear of dogs. The former is a fear of leaving the house due to threats that exist outside of it.

Dog attacks and trust

The stress of a familiar dog attacking someone may also cause trust issues that extend beyond dogs. Victims often feel paranoid and afraid in unfamiliar situations. For some, it is as though the “fight or flight” response does not turn off again. This causes undue, extended stress for the victim.

On a whole, life is hard to get back on track after something this traumatic. The suffering of a dog bite victim should not remain underplayed or ignored.


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