While dogs can attack anyone, children are frequent victims of dog bites. In fact, according to some estimates, children are the targets of about half of the nearly 800,000 dog attacks that occur every year.
If a child in your family suffers a serious physical injury in an animal attack, he or she may face a long road to recovery. Unfortunately, for children, body image issues are common after dog bites.
Scars may alter physical appearance forever
Because of their short stature, children are susceptible to face and neck injuries during a dog attack. If these injuries require a surgical repair, a child may develop considerable scarring in visible places.
Even if wounds heal on their own, some scarring is likely after a serious dog bite. These scars may alter a child’s physical appearance forever, making him or her look differently than friends and classmates.
Scars often cause body image issues
In childhood, being different is not always an advantage. Scars may lead to bullying and taunting, causing the child to experience negative feelings about his or her body.
When the child becomes an adult, he or she may continue to feel self-conscious in social situations. While subsequent surgical procedures may improve the look of bite scars, body image issues may never go away.
Body dysmorphia may develop
In extreme cases, young bite victims develop body dysmorphia in addition to experiencing shame or embarrassment after an attack. Body dysmorphia causes an obsession over physical blemishes.
If the child in your family suffers from this condition or other body image issues after a dog bite, he or she may need extensive therapy or other psychological interventions. Fortunately, to pay for treatment, you may be able to pursue compensation from the dog owner who contributed to your child’s body image issues.