Why Dogs Have Panic Attacks and How You Can Help? Everything seemed fine, but your dog’s behavior suddenly changed. First, they started shaking and running in circles, and you could feel their nervousness. Then, your puppy started barking uncontrollably and biting the leash or their fur. All this indicates your pet might be having a panic attack. Why does this happen, and how to confirm it? Is there a way to help your dog and prevent this from occurring in the future? Our guide focuses on everything you should know about panic attacks in pups. Keep reading to learn how to help your pet through this rough patch! Why Do Dogs Have Panic Attacks? Reasons, why panic attacks occur in dogs, are similar to those why humans have them. This attack could have an imminent trigger, such as a specific situation. A panic attack can happen without an apparent cause or real danger. A dog could perceive something as a threat or feel endangered, and that’s when the panic attack occurs. These episodes shouldn’t be life-threatening. However, they can affect physical and mental health in the long run. Frequent panic attacks could disrupt your pet’s quality of life. That’s why it’s important to recognize and know how to behave if you diagnose this problem in your dog. What Are the Symptoms of Panic Attacks in Dogs? Here are some signs that could indicate your dog has a panic attack: Hiding in a place they consider a safe spot Trembling, shaking, and even drooling Elevated heart rate and rapid breathing Pacing around with dilated pupils Howling, whining, or barking Biting on their fur and skin, but also on others Scratching, digging, and other extreme behavior Defecating or urinating in the house or in unusual places You might not recognize the trigger because a panic attack comes suddenly. The distinctive thing is that an episode is characterized by combining multiple symptoms above. For example, some dogs could tuck their tails or pull their ears back. Others would try licking you or climbing in your lap. If you notice weird behavior and nervousness, consider if something might have triggered a panic attack. What Are the Causes of Panic Attacks in Dogs? It’s common that panic attacks have a repeated trigger. Your dog’s temperament might be mild, and they are extremely sensitive to a type of stress. Perhaps they had a major stressful event, or it could be genetics. It could be that age or another factor adjusted how your pup’s brain works. We can recognize four different types of panic attacks based on what causes them, and you can find the categories below. Confinement Anxiety It happens when you confine a dog, usually in a small space. It could be a kennel or a dog crate. Although it’s not that common, they could feel anxious in a room or yard. Your dog might get stuck in a small space by accident, and that’s the main reason why they have confinement anxiety. Travel Anxiety Some dogs love traveling by car, while others can’t stand the idea of getting into a vehicle. The same is true for buses, trains, and airplanes. It could be the sounds or just the fact they don’t like the traveling experience and crowds. It’s not often the case, but some pups might become anxious in strange or new spaces. Noise Anxiety These panic attacks are quite common. For example, many dogs are startled by fireworks, firecrackers, and thunderstorms. Some would enter a panic attack even after hearing an unexpected sound, such as a doorbell. Separation Anxiety Separation anxiety is common in pups younger than 12 months. You might remember how your dog followed you around everywhere when they were a puppy. If you leave them alone for a long time, they could develop separation anxiety. Also, these panic attacks occur if a dog figures out its favorite person or playmate has been gone a long time. How to Diagnose Panic Attacks in Dogs The easiest way is to observe the symptoms and see if they match what we listed above. First, however, it’s important to consider the difference between a panic attack and a phobia. For example, your dog might be scared of thunderstorms. But it’s probably a phobia if he doesn’t mind other loud noises, such as firecrackers or doorbells. A couple of panic attacks aren’t a reason to worry. But if you identified multiple episodes occurring in a short timeframe, schedule a visit to your veterinarian. How Can You Comfort a Dog Who Is Having a Panic Attack? What can you do to help your pet push through a panic attack? Is there anything to reduce the risk of an episode happening again? Here are some tips to try! Leave the Site Immediately It’s possible that something at that location triggered a panic attack. That’s why you should consider leaving that site immediately. Then, you can consider establishing a haven for your pup. If they are small, it could be your lap. You can teach the pup to come to you for comfort. It’s important to recognize the need to take the animal in your lap, hug, pet them, or do whatever you notice is working. By establishing a safe spot, you’ll teach your dog to recognize a potential reaction and turn to you for help on time. Regular Physical Activity They say a tired dog is a well-behaved pet. Some experts believe that excess energy could make your pet more anxious and increase the risk of a panic attack. You should walk your dog regularly and play with them, and offer mental stimulation. Interactive toys and food puzzles are an excellent way to wear out your dog if you can’t go outside. Medications If your vet considers medications necessary, they could prescribe different drugs. These could be alprazolam, fluoxetine, or Tranxene. Veterinarians rarely take this step unless panic attacks become frequent. Before medications, you could try natural remedies. Some experts recommend calming scents, but you can also try CBD and other cannabis treats. According to the New York Cannabis informational website, the authorities consider medical and recreational marijuana legal. For medical marijuana, human patients need to be qualified to use this herb for therapeutic purposes. There is no clear legislation regarding medical marijuana for pets. If you’d like to try cannabis as a treatment for your dog’s panic attacks, talk to your vet first. Professional veterinarians will recommend the right dose and frequency of use.