Can Dogs Have Panic Attacks?
Many people suffer from panic attacks. They occasionally disappear when a stressful circumstance or component is removed. People who suffer from panic attacks may be given anti-anxiety medicine or other treatments in more severe circumstances. Did you realize that panic attacks can also affect dogs?
What is a panic attack?
In addition to physical symptoms such as a racing heart, sweating, nausea, chest discomfort, shortness of breath, chills or hot sensations, and dizziness, people experiencing a panic attack may experience immediate and overwhelming fear or worry.
Panic attacks may be brought on suddenly and for no apparent reason, or they may be connected to certain triggers or stresses. Panic attacks may be more common in those diagnosed with depression, other anxiety, and mental problems or who have gone through significant stressors or life changes.
Can Dogs Experience Panic Attacks?
It seems that dogs, too, undergo panic attacks. Dogs cannot express their emotions to us, but we can infer from their body language and behavior. When having a panic attack, dogs exhibit symptoms of dread, anxiety, and physiologic modifications linked to the flight-or-fight response.
It could be challenging to tell the difference between a scared or anxious dog and one experiencing a panic attack.
An understandable and adaptive reaction to a danger perception may be fear. For instance, a dog may be seen as afraid under the circumstance if it trembles, growls, and won't remain still.
A panic attack is marked by a more extreme, disruptive, and excessive response. If we use the scenario above, a dog who cowers, yells, urinates, and bolts from the room upon seeing the nail clippers may have a panic episode.
Dog Panic Attack Signs and Symptoms
You must first identify the symptoms to treat your dog's panic episodes. The ability to distinguish between a panic episode and a mild case of fright or excitement in your dog is crucial.
So how can you recognize a panic episode in your dog? The following are a few of the most typical signs of anxiety attacks in dogs:
- Strange panting
- Unfocused pacing
- Excessive slobbering
- An attention-seeking attitude
- Snatching the owner
- Digging and other harmful habits
- Despite potty training, peeing, or defecating indoors
- Vocalization (i.e., barking or howling)
Even if you are familiar with the symptoms, it can occasionally be difficult to determine when your dog is experiencing a panic episode. This is particularly true if your dog has never experienced a panic episode and is only recently showing signs of worry.
Do not hesitate to videotape your dog when experiencing a panic episode, even if you are unsure whether they are experiencing one. The symptoms may appear when you're with your pet, such as after you get home from work, or they may happen while you're away.
A home video camera might be a helpful tool to comprehend what happens to your pet when you're away. Your veterinarian will probably be able to determine whether your dog suffered a panic episode after seeing this video. If they were, your veterinarian could assist you in creating an anxiety treatment strategy for your dog.
Remember that numerous medical conditions might exhibit symptoms that resemble panic attacks. To be sure your pet receives the care and treatment they require, have your veterinarian rule out any further medical concerns, such as seizures, dizziness, or hypertension.
Causes of Dog Panic Attacks
Numerous factors can cause panic attacks in dogs. It can often be challenging to pinpoint the exact cause of a dog's panic attack. A panic attack's trigger might be intricate, connected to various feelings, memories, triggers, or other stimuli.
Panic disorders in dogs cause panic to originate within. An anxiety episode may occur if a certain situation brings back painful memories from the dog's history or elicits a sensation that the dog connects with fear. Your dog could connect specific outside happenings to sentiments on the inside that make them desire to leave a setting completely.
Memories, feelings, or certain visual cues, like thunder, dogs, or specific individuals, might cause dogs to have panic episodes.
In some circumstances, visual triggers for panic attacks, such as seeing a specific person or dog, may exist. The cause may be audible in other cases, such as when thunder rumbles outside. The triggers can be certain things, places, or circumstances, which can vary widely. Additionally, whether the fear is real or not, some dogs may have panic attacks when they feel trapped.
The main fact is that your dog may experience panic attacks due to various stimuli, and it may not always be clear what caused them. In any case, when a dog experiences one panic attack, they are likely to persist in the future. Therefore, it's critical to seek treatment and assist your dog in overcoming its fear, regardless of the underlying cause.
How long does a panic attack in a dog last?
Some dogs experience generalized anxiety, which keeps them awake most of the day. However, panic episodes are typically brought on by a recognizable environmental trigger and will stop if it is eliminated.
The duration of a panic episode might range from minutes to hours. One fireworks-induced panic attack might be over in five or ten minutes. However, a panic episode brought on by a visit to your house can linger for several hours, or at least until the visitor leaves.
Treatment for Dog Panic Attacks
If your dog still experiences panic attacks, the vet may recommend anxiety medication and behavioral counseling.
Tranxene, fluoxetine, buspirone, amitriptyline, and alprazolam are a few of the most popular drugs that have proved effective in treating panic attacks.
For pets who experience anxiety and panic attacks, some professionals advise more intense exercise. Your dog should become physically and emotionally exhausted from the exercise, reducing his anxiety. Additionally, the brain produces more serotonin, which has anti-anxiety effects.
When your dog has a panic episode, becoming upset with them won't help. It can worsen your dog's symptoms, harming you and your dog. Recall that when an episode occurs, it is always preferable to provide comfort rather than to attempt to manage your dog.
Additional Mental Stimulation
It is rarely sufficient to exhaust your dog physically. They must mentally challenge themselves with food puzzles, scenting activities, interactive toys, etc.
Your dog's tiny room or crate will help him feel much safer when necessary. When your dog experiences a panic attack, take him there and stay with him there until he is calm to encourage him to go to his safe area. Close neither the crate nor the door, though.
To treat any underlying behavioral difficulties, consult a trained canine behaviorist. Most will evaluate your dog's needs at home and offer a custom plan.
How to Support Your Dog Through Panic Attacks
Similar to us, dogs can have panic attacks. Making a comfort plan and preparing for them beforehand may help your dog cope and enhance his quality of life.