What Emotional Issues Can Result From a Dog Bite?

April 5, 2015 |
What Emotional Issues Can Result From a Dog Bite?
Detroit, MI Dog Bite Attorneys

In Michigan, the law1 gives dog bite victims the legal right to hold dog owners strictly liable for any injuries they suffered. Injuries from dog bites can include severe puncture wounds, lacerations, nerve damage, and more. Many victims require reconstructive surgery to repair the damage from a dog bite and some are left with permanent, highly visible scars.

Though the physical injuries from dog bites can be serious, attention should also be paid to the emotional effects of a dog attack. These emotional effects can cause long-lasting challenges and can require significant treatment for victims to return back to life as they previously knew it prior to the dog attack. For this reason, dog owners should not only be held liable for losses due to physical injuries, but  for the emotional trauma of victims, as well.


Individuals may develop the mental health condition called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)2 following a traumatic event that causes harm or threatens to cause harm. Dog attacks can definitely be traumatic for victims and can incite PTSD. Some symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Avoidance of anything that may remind the victim of the attack
  • Irrational fearful thoughts
  • Flashbacks and nightmares of the incident
  • Anxiety, depression, and feelings of guilt
  • Lack of proper emotions
  • Insomnia
  • Anger or irritability
  • Lack of interest in prior hobbies
  • Being easily startled

These symptoms can significantly affect a victim's life and can often lead to greater issues, such as falling behind in school for children or substance abuse and employment problems for adults.

Emotional problems due to physical scars

Many dog bite sufferers who are left with visible physical injuries may develop emotional distress due to their appearance. Many such victims may suffer from depression, a severe drop in self-esteem and body image, and may even have suicidal thoughts. This type of emotional struggle often requires psychological treatment, medication, and more. 

Intense fear of dogs

Not surprisingly, dog attacks can cause victims to develop an extreme fear of dogs, which is called cynophobia. This can cause many complications because of the sheer number of dogs that are owned in the United States—70 to 80 million, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).3 Dog bite victims may avoid visiting friends or family who own dogs or may even be afraid to leave the house at all for fear of running into a dog. As you can imagine, such an intense phobia can be debilitating and cause personal and professional problems.

Contact an experienced dog bite lawyer in Detroit for a free consultation

If you or your child has suffered physical and/or emotional injuries due to a dog bite, an experienced Michigan dog bite attorney can help you receive the full amount of compensation you deserve from the responsible dog owner. Calculating damages can be complicated, especially when the dog bite victim is suffering from PTSD or other emotional distress as a result of their injuries. Please contact an experienced dog bite attorney at Michigan Injury Lawyers at (888)-454-0801 today.