Dog Panic Attacks: Here’s What You Need to Know

We are so similar to our animals. Perhaps just as anxious too. So it might not be a surprise that panic attacks also occur in man’s best friend. There are various reasons why these attacks happen, but I’m sure you’d agree that it’s a pretty intense situation. Just as we suffer from panic attacks or anxiety attacks, dogs also experience traumatic events that trigger a series of symptoms.

Dog panic attacks usually appear due to the accumulation of stressful situations that dogs experience, which creates anxiety and, unfortunately, beyond their control.

What Are Dog Panic Attacks?

Cute dog having anxiety

Like humans, dogs’ fear and anxiety represent defense mechanisms necessary and indispensable to survive danger nearby. A surge in epinephrine causes your brain to send the primitive fight or flight message, both in humans and in our loved ones.

But dogs, unlike us, do not know why they feel these symptoms. Breed predisposition and negative traumatic experiences can cause panic attacks in our four-legged friends, but this is not always the case.

Panic attacks in dogs occur more frequently for other types of indirect reasons, such as loud noises, thunder, fireworks, explosions, loud music, screaming, etc.

A  dog can be easily frightened by these noises enter a  state of panic and anxiety. Some dogs react by becoming very aggressive, while other dogs just choose to run desperately hide. Does that sound familiar? Everything will depend on the situation and your dog’s character (i.e., submissive, dominant, etc.)

You should know that you can’t avoid these situations, but you can learn how to help your dog feel better during times of panic attacks.

Recognize Your Dogs Panic Attack

Dog hiding under a bed

How do you know if your dog has an anxiety or panic attack? It's easy when your gaze and attention are really on your dog, so recognizing these types of episodes will be quick since dogs are incredibly expressive. It’s essential to identify the main signs that your dog is in distress. They are as follows.

Dog Panic Attack Signs:

  • Howling, moaning, crying, and whining
  • Peeing and pooping indoors (If your dog is potty trained but has relieved herself in the house, she may have a panic attack.)
  • Destructive behaviors
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lack of appetite
  • Hides and does not want to leave
  • Shivering
  • Won’t allow touching
  • Depression

When a dog has a panic attack; you will see that its ears will turn back and hide its tail between its legs. This attitude is characteristic and with it displays fear, most likely complaining, howling, and barking in low tones. You must be cautious, as their reactions can vary.

What to do about panic attacks in dogs at night?

Recognizing that your dog is going through a panic attack, rule out both extremes of treating your dog, that is, do not scold or punish her for feeling this way, nor do you give her too much pampering, caressing, or kind words. Your pup doesn’t take it as a consolation but as a treatment that rewards this state. And we don't want your dog to learn that being scared is okay.

The best you can do is take a moderate stance. Let your dog see that nothing terrible is happening and that it is safe, but do not be over-affectionate either. If your dog is terrified of noise, gradual sound exposure therapies help dogs overcome that fear, such as thunder. 

Another natural treatment (very effective) to consider is CBD oil for dogs. Now, If your dog has a severe crisis and it doesn't go away, or you don't know what to do, then you need to call your veterinarian.

However, always stay relaxed and calm your dog down by speaking softly and making your dog understand that you are by its side.

Dog wrapped in owners sweater

Methods to help your dog in the middle of a panic attack:

  • When you’re at home, your dog will probably run to hide under your bed or somewhere that she considers safe, so leave her there, and she will come out on her own when she’s ready.
  • When your dog suffers a panic attack while taking her for a walk, she can run without paying attention and suffer an accident. Therefore, make sure before leaving that the harness or collar is well adjusted.
  • A handy method to help your pet overcome a panic attack is to wrap it in a towel or a shirt with your scent, which simulates a hug. The idea is that you can express security.

To this day, there is no effective and definitive cure for anxiety disorders in dogs. However, an effective way to avoid them is by offering your dog loads of attention. Try not to deliberately expose her to stressful situations, such as being in the presence of larger animals or keeping her tied up in unfamiliar places.

West terrier sitting in a field

Is breed a reason for dog panic attacks?

In this aspect, various factors come into play, among them, and the most important of which is your canines’ breed and the circumstances already experienced, as mentioned above. For example, if a dog has seen abuse, it will show signs of anxiety and fear in intense moments.

Some breeds are more prone to developing panic and anxiety attacks, so it’s always essential to study your dog's breed’s qualities to be aware of what you are dealing with in any situation. Research evaluating typical dog breeds’ behavior in Finland found that a significant proportion of these pets live with some form of anxiety. 

Studies have also found that a few anxious-related behaviors become more noticeable as dogs mature into their golden years. But younger dogs were reportedly more likely to engage in certain problematic behaviors related to separation anxiety, such as chewing furniture around the house. Also, they are often more prone to being impulsive.

Based on what the studies found, the researchers noted that West Terriers and mixed breed dogs had a higher prevalence of sensitivity to noise, while Mini Schnauzers and Bull Terriers were less sensitive to noise.

Final Thoughts

Follow these tips, and you will see how your dog will begin to feel better in the middle of a anxiety attack. Dog panic attacks are a very unpleasant experience for them. Try to transmit calm, tranquility, and serenity to your dog, and she will soon feel better. Remember that dogs tend to mimic our behaviors! If you are relaxed, your dog will be too.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments