Can Dogs Have Panic Attacks?

If a person has ever experienced a panic attack, they know the effects and symptoms can be very scary at the moment, but it does affect a person for a long time.

Sometimes, severe anxiety and panic attack episodes can scar a living being for a lifetime. The same happens with dogs. Many people don’t know that dogs feel the same when they panic.

There are many causes, but there are also methods to prevent it and help the dogs make themselves comfortable during panic attacks.

Dogs and Panic Attack- All You Need to Know

What Are Panic Attacks?

A dog’s panic attack is very much similar to that of a human. When dogs have panic attacks, their heart rate starts increasing, and they might start shaking and growling.

While humans bite their nails, dogs will start biting on their fur and skin. Dogs can’t express their feelings, but their body exhibits symptoms when they have panic attacks. They start hiding, growling, and barking.

Symptoms Of Panic Attacks

Many symptoms help the owner be aware of panic attacks. Some pet owners might not even realize that their dog has a panic attack. The symptoms are very similar to behavioral problems.

Some of the very noticeable symptoms include drooling, whining, constant barking, and exhibiting extreme aggression. They might even try to escape when their owner tries to put them on a leash. 

Types Of Panic Attacks

Four types of anxiety can cause panic attacks:

  • Confinement Anxiety,
  • Travel Anxiety,
  • Noise Anxiety, and
  • Separation Anxiety.

All these panic attacks can be handled with the right methods and steps if the dog owners know how to handle their dogs.

Although the symptoms of all these panic attacks are the same, their method of prevention and cure are different. 

Various Causes Of Panic Attacks In Dogs

Every type of anxiety attack has its root causes and specific symptoms. There are different kinds of causes for every type of panic attack.

Some dogs might get panic attacks while riding the bus or flying in an airplane. Some dogs get noise anxiety while listening to fireworks or other loud and unexpected noises.

And just like every other living being, they will also experience while going through the loss of a playmate or a loved one.  


Causes that make dogs panic:

  • There are many reasons why a dog would experience a panic attack. 
  • Dogs experience confinement anxiety when they are locked inside a dog pen or kennel, shut inside a room, or trapped inside an enclosed space by accident. 
  • Dogs experience travel anxiety while traveling in an airplane or driving around in a car.
  • Dogs feel separation anxiety when they are left alone or go through a major life change. They also have panic attacks when they suffer a traumatic event or lose a loved one.
  • When dogs are exposed to sudden loud and unexpected noises, like fireworks, or even loud vehicles like ambulances or fireworks. 
  • There might not be any specific reason or trigger why dogs get panic attacks, but when dogs go through high stress, they get anxiety attacks. 
  • In simple words, dogs experience panic attacks when they feel fear due to any reason. 

Panic Attacks Vs. Dog Anxiety

Anxiety happens when your dog is dreading and anticipating a specific event. The threat they fear can be real or imaginary.

The symptoms for both panic attacks and anxiety attacks are similar, but anxiety attacks don’t happen due to sudden causes, but panic attacks do.

For example, a dog shows signs of anxiety when the owner takes the pet to the vet, and they start becoming anxious. 

What Is The Variation Between Panic Attacks And Phobias In Dogs?

The best way to distinguish between a phobia and a panic attack is by the type of trigger. If the type of trigger is very specific, and the dog keeps exhibiting intense reactions to that specific kind of trigger, then the reaction is said to be a phobia.

A phobia is defined as experiencing irrational fear, but panic attacks can happen all of a sudden under certain circumstances. 

Diagnosis Of Panic Attacks In Dogs

When your dog experiences a panic attack once in a while, it can be taken care of. But, if your dog has more than one panic attack, it is better to get it checked by a veterinarian.

Doing some laboratory tests and a complete physical checkup is always recommended to check whether your dog is going through some health issues that should be treated properly.

Treatment For Panic Attacks In Dogs

If the panic attacks are persistent, the veterinarian might prescribe some medications, behavioral therapy, and exercises.

This might help the dog owner to help the dog cope with their anxiety and panic attacks. Other options include providing more mental stimulation to your dog and offering it a haven while the dog is coping with the attacks. 


Symptoms To Look Out For In Dogs:

  • A panic attack can present itself to people in multiple ways. There are many symptoms and signs to look out for in your dogs. Some of the common and most visible symptoms include
  • Jumping
  • Salivating 
  • Urinating
  • Panting
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Their tail pulled down between their legs.
  • Pacing and many others.


Just like every other health condition, panic attacks can also be managed by prescribing the proper medication. Many medicines have been very successful in treating panic and anxiety attacks.

Some of the common medicines prescribed include Alprazolam, Amitriptyline, Fluoxetine, Tranxene, and Buspirone. Other medicines are available, but these are probably the most common ones that are being used so far. 


Exercise helps humans cope with stress and anxiety; the same can be said for dogs. Many veterinarians encourage exercise for dogs with susceptibility to panic attacks.

When you let your dog walk and work out, it will physically tire your dog, and it might also tire the dog mentally.

When the dog works out, its brain also releases serotonin, which works as an antianxiety drug.

Mental Stimulation

Dogs need mental stimulation with some activities like food puzzles, scenting work, interactive toys, etc., very often since it can help them deal with panic attacks more easily. 

Physical wear out of the dog is rarely enough for the dog’s mental stimulation. As much as physical exercise is required, mental simulation can also be very useful for preventing psychological issues. 

Providing The Dog A Safe Haven

Dogs, too, need to be alone or feel safe. They need a small room or kennel where they can go to get away from the place they had panic attacks.

They feel much safer in their own space. Stay with your dog until he is calm. Never shut the door of the room or kennel. 


Methods to Help A Dog While Having A Panic Attack:

  • Panic attacks in dogs 
  • Be very frightening, but there are many ways to comfort and soothe your pet. 
  • Try distracting them with their favorite toy, and give them a gentle stroke when required so that it can help them cope with the panic attack. 
  • You must stay calm in times of crisis so that you can comfort the dog. 
  • The first important thing to do is remove them from their source of fear.
  • If you cannot remove the source of fear, it is better to isolate them in a quieter place.
  • Reassure them, comfort them, and if you can, try to distract them with something they like, like a treat or a game.


Every human who owns a pet wants the best for their dog, but that is not always the case. When a dog constantly has panic attacks, it can affect their life in a very bad way, and it could be the road to many sensitive issues.

It is better to treat them immediately and give them the necessary care at the earliest. 


What does it mean if my dog is exhibiting symptoms of a panic attack, but it is not?

If your canine is exhibiting symptoms that are related to panic attacks, it might be anxiety disorders or symptoms of phobia, and the ways of handling them are different. 

What are the symptoms and signs of panic attacks to look for in your pet dogs?

The symptoms of panic attacks include barking often, dilated pupils, ignoring pain, panting, shaking, trembling, freezing, and sometimes even escaping and running away. 

What can I do to help and comfort my dog while it has a panic attack?

You need to stay calm and collected and remove them from their source of fear or phobia. Taking them to a quieter place and trying to distract them is also vital in the process of helping them. 

What is meant by canine panic disorder?

It is a condition where your pets, especially dogs, exhibit very intense and intense responses to both external and internal stimuli. 

Are certain breeds of dogs predisposed to behavioral and anxiety disorders?

According to studies, some breeds experience more panic attacks, more intense, than the other breeds. While some dogs exhibit a high level of sensitivity to certain noises and behavior, some don’t. 

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