Can dogs experience panic attacks?

Can dogs have panic attacks? The answer is yes, unfortunately our furry friends can also be prone to sudden waves of crippling fear and anxiety that put them in a state of panic. Here are the signs to look out for and how to help your dog.

What triggers panic attacks?

The most common cause of panic attacks is chronic anxiety from stressful situations. For instance, if your dog is scared of car journeys, they will feel anxious every time they hear the car engine or see the garage door open.

Whilst most dogs will only experience a short burst of stress, some others may not be able to handle it and will experience a panic attack.

What are the signs of a panic attack in dogs?

The signs commonly observed are an increased heart rate, panting, pacing or hiding, but it can also make your dog urinate or be sick.

 

How to help your dog during a panic attack?

Although it is very worrying to see your dog in a state of high anxiety, the best thing to do is to stay calm and reassuring. Hand your dog their favourite toy and move them to their favourite part of your home. Try to keep them away from noise and other people until they feel calmer.

if your dog is prone to anxiety, it may be helpful to try an anxiety vest or a calming supplement.

Thankfully, most anxious episodes don't turn into a full on panic attack but if your dog is showing signs of stress and anxiety it is highly recommended to talk to your vet. It's important to rule out any physical issue which may manifest itself with similar symptoms.