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Do dogs have panic attacks?

Species: Dog
Breed: poodle
Age: 2-5 years
In the past two weeks, Bambi has a kind of panic attack to me. She was panting and shivering and sticking to me very closely, as if she was scared about something. But I have no idea what that was. This would normally last for 20-30 minutes. Then she would be absolutely fine again, eating, playing as if nothing has bothered her. Then perhaps a couple of days have passed, and the same happened again. I was wondering if this a mental or physical problem? What can I do about this?

Thank you for your advice.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Sorry to hear that Bambi is having these incidents. These can sometimes be difficult to figure out, but I'll give you my thoughts.

We don't tend to see panic attacks in dogs. I'm sure they can happen, but usually the type of thing that you are describing can be connected to some sort of a physical problem.

One possible physical problem could be some back pain. Do you ever notice Bambi having trouble jumping up onto things or doing stairs? It's possible she has some mild back pain and then occasionally has some spasms.

The next possibility is if Bambi has a problem with her anal glands. These glands sit on either side of the anus and can fill up with debris. Sometimes they can make a dog feel very uncomfortable.

Some type of stomach cramping is possible as well. Can you connect the incidents to happening after she has had a particular type of treat or new food?

It's a difficult problem to pinpoint if it only happens once every few days. I think it if continues it's probably a good idea to have your vet take a look at her. They can check her thoroughly for anything that could be causing sporadic pain such as a back or anal gland problem.

Dr. Marie


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.