You see your Frenchie pacing, barking, hiding, trembling, climbing onto you, scratching on your door as if he really wants to get out at all cost, panting really hard, and it seems like he is having a hard time breathing. What’s going on???
In the video below, you will see how ‘Brady’ is acting weird. Watching your little buddy do these things may alarm you, especially if it is the first time you see your dog this way.
It could be terrifying and worrisome. Is it something that you really need to worry about, though? What could be happening? What can you do?
Just like humans, dogs experience anxiety attacks as well, also known as panic attacks. In fact, all breeds including French Bulldogs can be affected, but the responses may be different. In this post, we are going to tackle the causes and symptoms of anxiety attacks in dogs and how to handle such a situation.
Anxiety in French Bulldogs
Like what we said, it is not only human beings that may get anxious. Dogs of different breeds including French Bulldogs, may experience anxiety as well. This could be due to a variety of reasons. It could be because their parents live them alone at home (separation anxiety) or the shelter environment in general.
The truth is, one of the not-so-good behaviors of French Bulldogs that you might not be aware of is that they may have a hard time dealing with separation anxiety. They do not do well alone. So if you are working, and nobody will look after your Frenchie at home while you are away, chances are you will come home to a very unhappy dog.
They are a very clingy breed, and so, you should closely monitor their behaviors when left alone and come up with effective ways to address the issue so that it won’t turn into a nuisance.
What Is Anxiety Attack?
Anxiety attacks or panic attacks are episodes of intense panic or fear, and they may occur without warning. Yes, they may come out of the blue. But in some instances, there is also an obvious trigger.
If you leave your Frenchie alone at home for an extended period of time, anxiety attack may occur. That is because your dog is afraid that you might not come back anymore. It could also be because of his surroundings. Did you leave him in an enclosed space? Is it too dark? Are there loud noises? All these factors can trigger anxiety attacks.
When a dog is experiencing a panic attack, his heart rate and breathing may increase. He may start shaking or gasping for air. It could be a really terrifying experience. But the good thing is, anxiety attacks usually do not last very long. When you give attention to your pet and you talk or pet him gently, you should be able to calm him down.
What Are the Causes of Anxiety Attacks in French Bulldogs?
In general, there are four main types of anxiety that can cause panic attacks in French Bulldogs, and any other breeds of dog for that matter. These include confinement, travel, noise, and separation anxiety.
What are the causes for each type? Take a look at the following:
As the term suggests, a Frenchie may suffer from anxiety or panic attack if he is left alone in a confined space. He could be playing in your yard and suddenly starts exhibiting signs of anxiety attack. That could be due to your fenced yard. Maybe he is not too happy about the fact that he is not free to get out.
Another reason is if the dog is left in a dog pen or kennel. The same is true when you leave him in a shut room or trapped in an enclosed space by accident. The surge of overwhelming panic may creep in.
Anxiety can also be experienced by your French Bulldog when traveling. When dogs see unfamiliar places, they may start to panic or get scared. It may also occur when driving in a car, flying on an airplane, or riding on a bus or train, especially for long trips. This may also have something to do with confinement anxiety.
When you hear loud, unexpected noises yourself, you may panic, too, right? The same goes for dogs. When they hear thunderstorms, fireworks, loud music, fire alarms, fire trucks, ambulances, and any other noises that are too loud, that could scare them and cause anxiety attacks.
We mentioned earlier that French Bulldogs are very clingy. When you leave them alone, separation anxiety may creep in and that’s when they experience that feeling of intense panic or fear.
This type of anxiety can also be a result of loss of a loved one or playmate, suffering a traumatic event, or major life change.
How Do I Know if My Frenchie Is Having an Anxiety Attack?
As a parent, it is very important for you to know the signs or symptoms that your Frenchie is, indeed, experiencing anxiety attack. This way, you know exactly what to do.
Again, you have to remember that panic attacks may occur with or without warning. In some instances, you might not even realize that your dog is already having an anxiety attack. This is because some of the signs are quite similar to behavioral problems.
The most common signs of anxiety attack include rapid breathing, gasping for air, increased heart rate, dilated pupils, drooling, pacing, loss of appetite, hiding, shaking, trembling, ears back and tail tucked under, excessive licking, chewing on skin and fur, whining, howling, barking than usual, growling, and biting. In worst scenarios, a dog may also display extreme aggression, overly attentive, trying to escape or run away, as well as urinating or defecating indoors.
If your French Bulldog is doing any or a combination of the above-mentioned signs, try to pinpoint what is triggering the panic attack and eliminate it immediately. You also need to be calm so your pet won’t get scared even more.
What to Do if My Frenchie Is Having Difficulty Breathing Due to Anxiety Attack?
Rapid breathing or seemingly gasping for air is one of the manifestations of the occurrence of anxiety or panic attack in dogs. The fact that a lot of French Bulldogs have a condition called Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome can make the attack even worse. This setup could make it much harder for your Frenchie to breathe when having a panic attack. It could lead to a more serious problem.
If you notice that your pet experiences anxiety attacks quite often and he is having difficulty breathing most of the time, you might want to consider having your dog get a surgery. But if not, try as much as you can to calm him down. Eliminate strain on the throat by opting for a harness around the chest. Make sure that you also keep your Frenchie in a room with regulated temperature.
How Do I Get My French Bulldog to Calm Down?
Sure, watching your French Bulldog experience an anxiety attack is not a good sight. It is, indeed, worrisome. But the best thing that you can do is to calm yourself down and try to comfort your dog. Gently pet him and talk to him using a soft tone. It will also help if you can create a safe haven for him like a room where he can be by himself and feel safer.
Whenever your dog is having a panic attack, teach him to go to his own place. Go with him too and do not leave him until he calms down.
According to experts, exercise can help reduce the occurrence of anxiety attacks in dogs as well. You can even introduce more vigorous forms of exercise to your dog. Why? So that your dog will get tired physically and mentally. This should leave zero to a very small room for anxiety. Furthermore, when a dog exercises, his brain will release serotonin, which acts like an antianxiety drug.
French Bulldogs who experience anxiety attacks a lot may be given medications like alprazolam, buspirone, tranxene, and many more. They can also undergo therapy. This is why it is advisable that you consult a veterinarian about your dog.
Recovery of French Bulldogs from Anxiety Attacks
The response of each dog to an episode of anxiety attack may differ. For some, it may only take a few minutes for them to recover, while others may take longer than that. As a parent, you should be very patient since you play a vital role in easing the anxiety. If none of the remedies work, consider taking your dog to a pet therapist.
Anxiety attack is something that a French Bulldog or any other breed may experience. It is the same anxiety or panic attack that human beings may have, although the trigger may be different. As a dog owner, you should have a better understanding of the causes and symptoms as well as what to do whenever such occurs. Do not hesitate to seek professional help if the experience gets worse over time.