Can Dogs have Panic Attacks

Can Dogs have Panic Attacks? Most Common reasons and How to deal with them.

Can Dogs have panic Attacks? The simple answer for this would be “Yes”. Yes, dogs can have panic attacks. Dogs are similar to humans in many ways. That’s why dogs are considers human’s best friends. In those similarities, just like humans, dogs can have panic attacks too. There are things you can do to reduce your doggo’s panic attacks. But for that, first you must realize that your dog is having panic attacks. So, let’s talk about symptoms of panic attacks on dogs.

There is no warning before a panic attack. You doggo can have a panic attack all of a sudden. This can happens by a trigger. Sometimes, you might not realize that your doggo is having a panic attack, because these symptoms can be very similar to other behavioral issues. Researches have shown that in America, 72.5% of dogs express these kinds of behaviors. So look for these symptoms on your dog because your dog might be having a panic attack if your dog behaves like this all of a sudden.

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Can Dogs have Panic Attacks

Signs that your Dog is having a Panic Attacks

  • Hiding while tail tucked under and ears back
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Fast heart rate
  • Sudden extreme aggression like biting or growling
  • Sudden vigilant (climbing on to you rapidly)
  • Barking a lot more than usual
  • Digging or scratching all of a sudden
  • Peeing or pooping inside
  • Dilated pupils
  • Pacing around fast
  • Not eating anything
  • Drooling
  • Howling or whining
  • Uncontrollably licking or chewing on own skin and fur

If your doggo is having above symptoms, then it’s most likely that your doggo is having a panic attack. Usually, a panic attack can last up to 5 to 20 minutes. When your doggo is having a panic attack, you can try to calm them down by playing with their favorite toy or massaging their head or brushing them till they calm down. You can also wrap your doggo in a blanket so they would feel warm and safe. Also, remember that dogs can get panic attacks at any time (day or night) by any kind of triggers. The main reason for having a panic attack is having anxiety. There are 4 types of anxieties that can cause your doggo panic attacks.

Can Dogs have Panic Attacks

Reasons for your Dog to have Anxiety

  • Separation Anxiety

This happens when you leave your doggo by itself for a long time. When they don’t have their usual playmate or the person they love for a long time, your doggo can get separation anxiety. This anxiety can also cause by suffering from a traumatic event or a major life change like changing the living situation or a loss of a family member.

  • Noise Anxiety

Studies have shown that 32% of dogs in America would get noise anxiety at least at one point in their life. It’s a well-known fact that dogs have a very sensitive and high level of hearing. Due to this reason, loud and sudden noises such as fireworks, thunderstorms can make them afraid and cause anxiety. This is called noise anxiety. This can also be caused by ambulance or fire truck noises. Even though these noises can be tolerable for humans, most of these noises are not tolerable for most dogs.

  • Confinement Anxiety

This is caused when your doggo is confined to a single space for a long time like indoor or outdoor. Confinement anxiety can occur when your dog can’t get outside from that single space for a long time. This can be caused by fences in a yard or by dog kennel. Confinement anxiety can also be caused when your doggo gets trapped in a small space by accident or accidently shut in a room.

  • Travel Anxiety

Travel Anxiety can be caused due to motion sickness and confinement issues since the vehicle is a small place for your doggo. This can also happens when your doggo is traveling for the first time since it’s a new experience. Not just by car, this anxiety can also occur when your doggo is traveling on a train, bus or airplane. Travel anxiety can also cause when your doggo visits strange places.

Can Dogs have Panic Attacks

Identifying Panic Attacks on Dogs

By above triggers, your doggo can get anxiety and that can lead to panic attacks. Sometimes, your doggo will get only one panic attack then they will get back to normal. But if you notice that your doggo gets more than one panic attacks, then you should get your dog to a vet. Then you can check if your doggo has any fundamental conditions that need immediate treatments. Your vet will find that out by doing a complete physical examination. They can also do future laboratory tests like blood or urine test or fecal smear.

It would be very helpful to your vet if you can video your doggo when it is having a panic attack. If you can document about these events and keep records of the circumstances of attacks, then it would help you and the vet to pinpoint triggers and help treat your doggo’s condition faster. Keep in mind that if your dog is having panic attacks, check for all causes like anxiety factors and behaviors and document them for your vet.

Treatments for Panic Attacks for Dogs

There are multiple treatments for panic attacks on dogs. But keep in mind that sometimes (rarely) panic attacks can cause seizures. So it’s really important to get the right treatment for your dog. These are the main treatments for panic attacks for dogs.

  • Medications

There are common medications that are used for panic attacks on dogs such as alprazolam, buspirone, amitriptyline, tranxene and fluoxetine. But never use any kind of medication without consulting your vet.

You can get more information about panic attack medication for dogs from this link.

Can Dogs have Panic Attacks

  • Provide sense of safe for your doggo

Build a room or a specific space just for your dog that would make it feel safer. You can put more toys and color it as your dog likes so it would feel more warm for your doggo. Encourage your doggo to go to this safe place when they have a panic attack. This would help your dog to deal with panic attacks very quickly. You can also stay with your dog until it calms down. But keep in mind that, don’t ever close that safe place. Your doggo must be able to get in and get out as they pleased from that safe place.

  • Mental Stimulation

Interact your doggo with mental stimulations using interactive toys and food puzzles. You can also do scenting work with your doggo because it would be a great mental stimulation for your doggo.

You can get an idea on providing mental stimulation for your doggo at home through the two videos below.

  • Exercise

Some vets recommend excessive and vigorous physical exercises for your doggo. The idea behind this treatment is that when your doggo would be too exhausted and tired to get anxious after these exercises. Since the brain releases increased serotonin when your dog gets more exercises, it would be a good thing since increased serotonin works well as an antianxiety medication.

The video below shows some exercise you can do at home for your doggo.

  • Programs for behaviors

You can get help from a qualified canine behaviorist for your doggo’s anxiety issues. They will address any kind of fundamental behavioral issues and would give tailored plans for those issues. This would help your doggo in the long run.

Recovery of Panic Attacks

It will take some time but your doggo can get recovered from panic attacks. But you have to be there with your dog all the way and treat the issue with the best you can. Try to take advice from an expert so you would get the best treatment for your doggo. There are also pet therapists that can help your doggo get over panic attacks.


  • Can you punish your dog if they get panic attacks?

A lot of people have asked me and my brother that if aggressive responses would help with panic attacks. It is not. Don’t ever punish your dog when they have panic attacks. Punishing your doggo will only have negative effects on any circumstances. So, don’t yell at your dog or spray water at your dog at this situation. Don’t force your dog to do anything. Calmly try to get your dog to get calm.

  • Can you treat your dog with panic attacks without medication?

Another question dog owners have asked me was how to treat their dogs without medication. If you don’t like to use medication for your dog, then you can try CBD treats. CBD treats would help stressed out doggos. You can look for CBD treats online that would help dogs with panic attacks. But remember that you get advice from a veterinarian about any CBD products before getting any. You should also consider about your dog’s diet if you add CBD treats to their diet.

There are all natural CBD treats for dogs. CBD or cannabidiol is an active ingredient that has being directly derived from hemp plants. CBD is already proven to be helpful for patients with issues such as anxiety and sleep disorders. These treats are safe for your dog and they don’t have any harmful solvents, pesticides, microbial contaminants, GMOs or THC that could provoke your doggo’s health and lifestyle. 

Can Dogs have Panic Attacks

If you are concerned about buying yourself a doggo who is less aggressive so that there is a lesser chance of you having to face these panic attack issues, you can check this article on Least Aggressive Dog Breeds.

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