Believe it or not, dogs can have panic attacks just like humans can, although we can’t tell whether it’s the same. We can’t put ourselves inside the body of a dog to tell what it’s feeling or thinking. In terms of fear, anxiety, and panic, though, our four-legged friends can suffer just as much as us. Doesn’t it break your heart to think about it?
Let’s take a deep dive into dog panic attacks to separate truth from myth and educate ourselves on how we can help our canine companions in their time of need.
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- What Causes Dogs to Panic
- What Are the Triggers and Signs to Look Out For
- How Can You Help a Dog Having a Panic Attack
- How Can the Emergency Fund Help with Treatment
What Causes Dogs to Panic
Springer Nature research of more than 14,000 dogs showed that more than seventy percent suffered from at least one symptom attributed to panic or anxiety attacks, or anxiety in general. The most compelling cause was noise-related, and often very loud, sudden noises.
Doorbells, strangers, and fireworks are three of the common things that cause dogs to panic around the home, but they are certainly not the only causes. Loud noises are often the worst culprits, such as high winds, thunder, and hard rain. Power tools, loud music, and other loud, sudden noises can scare even the calmest of dogs. (And me, too.)
Each dog is different, so what triggers one won’t necessarily be the same thing that triggers another.
Some of the other common causes of panic and anxiety attacks in dogs include:
- A new home;
- New people in your home;
- Separation anxiety;
- Significant changes to the environment, such as a move-around of furniture;
- The addition of a new pet;
- Car rides;
- Trips to the vet;
- Random electronics or appliances around the home.
What Are the Triggers and Signs to Look Out For
As previously mentioned, all dogs are different. They all have different behavioral traits and quirks, favorite foods or toys, and even different ways of reacting to the same situations. Our now sadly deceased bulldog, George, had a heavy dislike for the washing machine, but our new bulldog puppy, Frank, has no issues with it whatsoever.
No two dogs are, or ever will be, the same.
Pet tech can help you work out the specific and exact triggers for the pets in your home. Pet Camera, for example, will allow you to rewind and check out the ‘thing’ that made them feel unsafe or scared. If you can see them having a dog anxiety attack, you can then go back to work out what caused it.
Dogs that feel scared, threatened, or otherwise uncomfortable are likely to act slightly differently than usual. Friendly dogs can become snappy, and social dogs can hide away. Some will get very vocal, barking all afternoon, but others will retreat and turn silent, too afraid to make a sound.
Other signs of panic attacks in dogs include:
- Loss of appetite;
- Not wanting treats;
- Not responding to your commands;
- Not coming when you call them;
- Acting in destructive ways, such as chewing, digging, or biting;
- Excessive drooling;
- Breathing changes, such as faster or more labored breathing;
- Louder than usual or more frequent panting;
- Trembling or shaking;
- Hiding away;
- Howling, whining, or crying;
How Can You Help a Dog Having a Panic Attack
Helping a dog during a panic attack involves providing comfort, and a sense of security, and employing calming techniques to reduce anxiety. You can provide your pet with their favorite stuffed bear or toy, give them extra love and snuggles, talk to them in calming tones, or let them sleep on the couch. You are the pet parent, and you will know your pet better than anyone else. This includes how to calm them. Do whatever you would usually do to calm your dog down.
The first step is to calm them, in whatever way works, and to put them in a safe space that you have created for them. This might be their crate, with a blanket over the top to provide darkness or a bedroom that no one else will enter.
Distractions, such as toys and treats, work well with distressed dogs, but only when these things are offered by their owner. This is more the case with pups suffering from separation anxiety.
How Can the Emergency Fund Help with Treatment
A panic attack in dogs can cause labored breathing that often looks like respiratory distress, which is, obviously, something you’ll want to get checked out by a vet as soon as possible. This is where the Emergency Fund comes in.
For just $29 per month (less than $1 per day!), you’ll have access to up to $3,000 of emergency care for your pet, such as treatment for breathing distress and emergencies. That’s not all, though, you will also unlock an array of vets, all qualified and trained, who are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A quick chat with one of them will determine exactly what to do next – make an appointment with a vet immediately or treat your pup at home under the watchful eye of a vet.
As our loyal blog reader, you’ll get an extra special discount of 27% by following this link. You can consider it a thank you from Petcube to you!
Can dogs get panic attacks?
Yes, dogs can get panic attacks, also known as dog anxiety attacks. They can look a little like human panic attacks and are sometimes brought on by the same thing. And, in the same way that you might need to take medication or seek out therapies for your panic or anxiety issues, your dog might, too.
Can a dog die from a panic attack?
Although it might feel like almost dying to your dog, it is highly unlikely that they will pass away simply from having a panic attack. It is important to remember, though, that your pet can and likely will put themselves in undue danger as a direct result of panicking. This can include choking, breathing distress, a racing heart that could lead to cardiac problems and even frantic running-caused injuries.
It’s frightening for both you and your dog when they experience a panic or anxiety attack, but just as with human ones, the moment will pass. Time, patience, love, and occasionally veterinary care will get you both back on track, but it’s definitely time to start monitoring triggers and removing them if necessary and/or possible.
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