Can Dogs Have Panic Attacks?

Can dogs have panic attacks? It’s a question that many dog owners have, especially those who have a dog with anxiety. The answer is yes, dogs can have panic attacks. Just like humans, dogs can experience anxiety and panic. The symptoms of a panic attack in a dog may vary depending on the individual dog, but some common symptoms include panting, shaking, pacing, and hiding. If you think your dog is having a panic attack, it’s important to stay calm and contact your veterinarian for advice.

What Are Panic Attacks?

Panic attacks are sudden, intense episodes of fear or anxiety. They can include physical symptoms such as a racing heart, shortness of breath, chest pain, and dizziness. Panic attacks can also cause mental symptoms such as fear of losing control, feeling detached from reality, and terror.

Can Dogs Have Panic Attacks?

Yes, dogs can have panic attacks. Dr. Debra Horwitz, a veterinary behaviorist, says that panic attacks in dogs are “an extreme manifestation of fear or anxiety.” Since dogs feel a range of emotions just like humans, they can also experience panic attacks.

There are a number of factors that could trigger a panic attack in dogs, such as loud noises, being in a new environment, or seeing something scary. If your dog seems to be having a panic attack, it’s important to stay calm and reassure them. Try to remove them from the situation if possible. If you think your dog is having panic attacks on a regular basis, talk to your veterinarian about treatment options.

can dogs have panic attacks - puppy running fast at the grass

Signs That Your Dog May Be Having a Panic Attack

If you’re concerned that your dog may be having a panic attack, there are some signs to look for. These include panting, shaking, hiding, and trying to escape. If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to stay calm and try to reassure your dog. This way, your dog will know that you’re there to help and not to hurt them.

Panic attacks in dogs usually last for a few minutes, but they can be very frightening for both the dog and the owner. If you think your dog is having a panic attack, it’s important to stay calm and try to remove them from the situation if possible. This way, your dog can relax and feel safe. If you’re not sure what to do, you can always consult with your veterinarian.

How to Help Your Dog During a Panic Attack

If your dog is experiencing a panic attack, there are some things you can do to help. Let us explore them below:

First, stay calm and try to reassure your dog. This way, your dog will know that you’re there to help and not to hurt them.

Second, try to distract your dog with a toy or treat. This can help take their mind off of whatever is causing the panic attack.

Third, slowly and calmly walk away from the situation. This will help your dog feel more comfortable and safe.

Fourth, if the panic attack persists, contact your veterinarian for further assistance. This way, you can ensure that your dog is getting the help they need.

What Can Cause Panic Attacks In Dogs?

Now that we know how to help a dog during a panic attack, let’s explore what can cause them.

Genetics

One of the most common causes of panic attacks in dogs is genetics. If a dog’s parents or grandparents have had panic attacks, the chances are higher than the dog will also experience them.

Stress

Another cause of panic attacks in dogs is stress. Dogs can get stressed from many different things, such as changes in their routine, loud noises, or being left alone.

Anxiety

Anxiety is another common cause of panic attacks in dogs. Anxiety can be caused by many different things, such as fear, separation anxiety, or even just excitement.

Fear

Fear is one of the most common causes of panic attacks in dogs. Fear can be caused by many different things, such as loud noises, unfamiliar people or animals, or even just being in a new place.

Past experiences

Past experiences can also cause panic attacks in dogs. If a dog has had a traumatic experience, such as being in a car accident or being attacked by another animal, it may be more likely to have panic attacks.

Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

Dogs with a separation anxiety disorder may be more likely to have panic attacks. This is because they are anxious when they are away from their owner and may become even more anxious when left alone.

Medical Conditions

Lastly, there are some medical conditions that can cause panic attacks in dogs. These include heart disease, thyroid problems, and epilepsy. If you think your dog may be having a panic attack, it is important to talk to your veterinarian.

Treating Panic Attacks In Dogs

If your dog is having panic attacks, it’s important to seek professional help. A veterinarian or animal behaviorist can help you identify the underlying cause of the panic attacks and develop a treatment plan. Panic attacks can be treated with medication, behavior modification, and environmental changes. With the proper treatment, most dogs with panic attacks can live normal, happy lives.

can dogs have panic attacks - dog looking scared

When Should I Call The Vet?

If your dog is showing any signs of anxiety or stress, it’s important to talk to your vet. They can help you determine if the cause is medical or behavioral and suggest the best course of treatment. If you think your dog may be having a panic attack, call your vet immediately. Panic attacks can be dangerous, and dogs who are having them need professional help.

FAQs About Panic Attacks In Dogs

What does a panic attack look like for a dog?

A panic attack in dogs can look like a lot of things. Some dogs will pace back and forth, others will try to hide or escape, and some will become very still. Many dogs will pant excessively or drool, and some may have a panic attack at night.

What to do if your dog is having a panic attack?

If your dog is having a panic attack, the best thing to do is to call your vet immediately. Panic attacks can be dangerous, and dogs who are having them need professional help.

What causes sudden dog anxiety?

Things like changes in the environment, loud noises, or new people can cause sudden dog anxiety. If your dog is normally anxious, it’s important to be aware of its triggers and try to avoid them.

What does anxiety in dogs look like?

Anxiety in dogs can manifest in a number of ways. Some dogs will shake, pace, or hide when they’re feeling anxious. Others may bark excessively or become aggressive.

How long can a panic attack last in a dog?

Panic attacks in dogs usually last for a few minutes, but they can sometimes last for longer periods of time. If your dog is having a panic attack, it’s important to seek professional help immediately.

Why is my dog shaking and acting scared?

If your dog is shaking and acting scared, it’s likely that it’s experiencing anxiety or a panic attack. If you’re unsure of what to do, it’s best to seek professional help immediately.

What dog breeds have the most anxiety?

Dog breeds that have the most anxiety include toy breeds, herding breeds, and working breeds. If you’re unsure if your dog is prone to anxiety or panic attacks, it’s best to seek professional help.

What are the first signs of stress in a dog?

The first signs of stress in a dog include panting, drooling, pacing, yawning, and lip licking. If you see any of these signs in your dog, it’s important to take action immediately.

Why is my dog acting weird all of a sudden?

If your dog is acting weird all of a sudden, it could be due to a number of things. It’s important to rule out any medical conditions first, and then look at other possible causes, such as a change in routine or environment.

Final Thoughts

Can dogs have panic attacks? Yes, dogs can have panic attacks. If you’re concerned about your dog’s anxiety or panic attacks, the best thing to do is to seek professional help.

If you think your dog may be experiencing an anxious event or panic attack, look for signs of stress, such as panting, drooling, pacing, yawning, and lip licking. If you see any of these signs, take action immediately and consult with a professional. While we don’t know for sure if dogs can have panic attacks, it’s important to be mindful of your dog’s anxiety levels and take steps to keep them happy and healthy.

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by Nicole Barnett

Nicole has been a freelance writer for over 10 years. She has three dogs, two of which she rescued from the streets. When not furiously typing away at her computer, you’d either find her chasing after her adorable dogs and kids, or volunteering at a local shelter.

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