The Best Dog Breeds for Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder

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By: Kathryn Anderson Updated: April 16, 2020

girl with panic attack symptoms and her emotional support dogPanic attacks can be so frightening and isolating, but a dog can help you to get through this scary time surprisingly quickly. In terms of the best dog breeds for panic attacks, you have quite a few varied options. Whichever one you choose, you will definitely be so grateful to have your furry friend by your side whenever you experience an attack.

How Dogs Can Help People Manage Their Panic Attacks!

Dogs are known for their incredible sense of smell. When you have a panic attack, your body produces adrenaline, and this is something that a dog can smell. This means that your dog will be able to immediately recognize when you are having a panic attack.

What do they do then?

They help in a number of different ways, such as:

  • By providing plenty of cuddles – it has been proven that touching a dog slows down the heart rate and reduces feelings of stress, both of which will help to ease a panic attack
  • By distracting – your own thoughts can sometimes make a panic attack so much worse. Having a dog around prevents your mind from going to these places, especially since you have to make sure that their needs are taken care of too
  • By caring – a dog provides so much unconditional love, and it will be easy to see just how much your dog loves you. This love and care will help you to get through a panic attack so much more easily
  • By providing motivation – a dog will give you such a sense of purpose. This makes it so much easier to get through the loneliness and lack of motivation that often accompanies and follows a panic attack
  • By improving your mood – when you spend time bonding with your dog, this triggers your brain to release a chemical called oxytocin. This is often referred to as the feel-good chemical, as it improves the mood while reducing feelings of anxiety

What is a Panic Attack?

So, what actually defines a panic attack?

It’s when you experience an intense, and extremely sudden, burst of anxiety. They are usually completely unpredictable and can lead to a number of physical symptoms, such as:

  •     Shaking
  •     Nausea
  •     Breathlessness
  •     Sweating
  •     Irregular and rapid heartbeat
  •     Dizziness

However, don’t get panic attacks confused with anxiety attacks…

Panic Attack vs. Anxiety Attack: Know the Difference

While the symptoms for the two may be similar, there are actually quite a few differences between panic attacks and anxiety attacks.

Anxiety attacks aren’t unpredictable in the same way as panic attacks. They tend to come on gradually, building up over time, and the physical symptoms aren’t quite as severe. Anxiety attacks are also usually in response to an external stressor.

While this may be the case, anxiety attacks aren’t actually an official recognized diagnosis. Instead, this would be referred to as a case of severe anxiety.

what is a panic attack, esa calming his owner

Any Doggo Can Become an Emotional Support Animal! They Just Need an ESA Letter!

An emotional support animal can really help people who suffer from panic attacks. This gives you the comfort of knowing that your dog will always be able to be by your side.

A dog doesn’t need to undergo any special training in order to become an ESA. All you need for this is an ESA letter, which you can receive in as little as 48 hours.

The Benefits of Having an Emotional Support Dog for People with Panic Disorder!

Wondering what the benefits of having an ESA would be for someone who suffers from a panic disorder?

Well, for starters, you won’t have to worry about finding accommodation at any point in your life. All accommodation providers, even those who don’t usually allow pets, are obliged to allow an emotional support animal to live with their owner.

For those who travel frequently, you will be happy to know that your ESA can travel with you on planes. Of course, you do need to have all of the relevant documentation, including your ESA letter.

How do you get an ESA letter? It’s simple. If you already have a doctor, ask them! If you don’t, CertaPet can connect you to an LMHP in your state by completing a five-minute pre-screening.

How to Stop a Panic Attack with Your ESA: Which Panic Attack Symptoms Are You Having?

The symptoms of a panic attack can often make the attack feel so much worse. This is where an ESA comes in handy because they can help to stop some of your symptoms right in their tracks.

The rapid and irregular heartbeat that usually accompanies a panic attack can be extremely unnerving, but a dog can help with this. Simply having any sort of physical contact with your dog will help to slow your heart rate back down.

The shaking and dizziness can also be stopped, thanks to the sense of comfort that a dog provides.

In addition to this, the sheer feeling of panic that is experienced during an attack can be quickly reduced by your canine companion. This is all down to the way in which a dog is able to trigger the brain to release feel-good chemicals that will calm you down and lift your mood.

Here are Our Top Picks of the Best Dog Breeds for Panic Attacks

While just about any breed of dog has the potential to help with a panic attack, there are certain breeds that have particular traits that make them more suitable for this purpose.

Whether you are looking for a small dog or a large one, these are some of the best dog breeds to help with panic attacks:

Best Small Dogs and Companion Dogs: The Beautiful and Bouncy Bichon Frise

bichon frise, can help fight symptoms of panic attacks

The happiness and exuberance that a bichon frise will bring to your life is truly unparalleled. This is a breed that thrives on human companionship, and is one that will always remain by your side.

Bred to be a lap dog, the bichon frise is small in size and loves to cuddle, making them a great companion to have when experiencing a panic attack.

They are highly intelligent, making them quite easy to train, but they are also quite stubborn and determined, so you do need to be firm and consistent in your training methods.

The one downside to a bichon frise is their fabulously fluffy white coat…

This can be difficult to keep clean and does require a fair bit of grooming to maintain.


Best Apartment Dogs: The Snuggle Pug

how to stop a panic attack, girl comforted by emotional support pug

With their glossy coat, wrinkly face and curled tails, pugs are a dog that so many people can’t seem to resist.

Pugs love to snuggle and will give you so much comfort during a panic attack.

Although pugs shed quite a bit, they are relatively low-maintenance when it comes to grooming, making them quite easy to keep.

One thing to keep in mind when purchasing a pug…

This is a breed that has been over-bred to quite a serious extent, and the majority of pugs out there end up with breathing problems. Make sure that you purchase your pug from a reputable breeder who has health-tested the parents and who is personally passionate about improving the breed, rather than just making money.

Best Big Dog Breeds: The Huggable Dogue de Bordeaux

emotional support animal Dogue de Bordeaux hugging esa owner with panic disorder

The Dogue de Bordeaux may look quite tough and bulky, but this breed is actually extremely calm and gentle, earning them the nickname of the gentle giants. They love human interaction and thrive when they are included as part of the family.

Although the Dogue is quite a stubborn breed, consistent training will enable you to teach your pooch all that he needs to know.

Of course, the size of this breed does mean that you need quite a large home in which to keep your dog, and regular exercise is also a must.

Calm Dog Breeds: The Fluffy and Kind Newfoundland

newfoundland puppy

The fluffy Newfoundland is quite a versatile dog.

While they were originally bred as a working dog, one of the most important traits that this breed boasts is their sweet-natured temperament. This makes them a great companion dog for people who suffer from panic attacks, as they are gentle, intuitive and so trustworthy.

Although they are among the world’s largest dog breeds, which means that you do need to have some strength when dealing with them, they are extremely gentle and kind, as well as being fantastic with children.

Of course, their fluffiness comes at a price…

Daily grooming is vital in order to prevent mats from forming in their double coats, and regular bathing is also required to keep their thick coats clean.

Rescue Dogs Have as Much to Offer as Any Other Dogs! If Not More!

When looking for a companion dog or an emotional support dog, many people neglect rescue dogs, believing that a pure-bred dog is what they need.

However, not only do you get plenty of pure bred rescue dogs, but all rescue dogs in general really do have so much to offer. From their intense appreciation at being given a second chance at life, to the fact that they will already understand the basics in obedience training, a rescue dog is definitely worth considering.

Not Exactly Rare Dog Breeds! Whether Mutt or Designer Breed, a Rescue Will Love and Support You Unconditionally!

There are now so many dog shelters out there, and each one will have quite a large selection of different breeds.

It doesn’t matter if you decide to opt for a designer breed or a mutt, as any rescue dog will shower you with so much love and support, especially during times of need.

Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia Definition: How to These Doggos Can Help

If panic attacks weren’t bad enough, many people who suffer from them also develop agoraphobia.

What is agoraphobia?

It is when you feel anxious or panicked about being in a particular place, believing that these places will only escalate your anxiety or trigger an attack.

A dog makes it so much easier to overcome this. By having your trusted canine companion by your side, you will feel so much better equipped and motivated to take on the world. Any places that would usually cause you anxiety are likely to not seem quite as bad when you have your pooch with you.

rescue dog providing comfort as one of the best dog breeds for panic attacks

CertaPet’s Role in Making Sure People Who Need the Company of Their Dogs Are Never Alone!

CertaPet understands how difficult panic attacks and disorders can be, which is just one of the reasons as to why they provide a simple way for people to obtain an ESA letter.

The pre-screening process takes just five minutes, and once you have your letter, you will also be able to enjoy the comfort of knowing that you will never have to be alone.

Panic attacks can be difficult to overcome, but a dog can really help to see you through this. Whichever breed you decide to opt for, a dog will not only make it easier for you to come out of a panic attack, but can also help to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Common Questions

What are the symptoms of a panic attack?

How can a dog help with a panic attack?

I already have a dog who helps with my panic attacks. How do I acquire ESA status for him?

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