Can Service Dogs Stop Panic Attacks?

Dogs provide a constant, calming presence for their handlers. They can also alert their owners of oncoming anxiety or panic attacks.

In addition, dogs can smell when their humans are afraid and can produce oxytocin, a feel-good chemical that reduces anxiety over time.

Psychiatric service dogs are specially trained by Service Dog Training California to perform tasks that mitigate their handler’s disability. This includes warning before a panic attack and retrieving medication.

Behavioral Therapy

While there are a variety of medications that can help people with anxiety disorders, behavioral therapy is also effective. It focuses on learning to control anxiety-related symptoms through a combination of cognitive and physical strategies.

Psychiatric service dogs are specially trained to notice when their handler is having an anxiety attack, and they provide a constant presence to help the person feel safe. They can help the owner stay calm and focused, and they can even retrieve medication or get the attention of someone else who can offer support during a panic attack.

The human-animal bond is one of the most powerful calming resources for anyone, but it’s especially helpful during an anxiety attack. Animals have a natural, calming presence and will often exhibit non-verbal behaviors to communicate that everything is okay, like nudging their owner or laying down on their bed. The oxytocin hormone that is released when a dog and person interact will increase feelings of comfort, which can ease anxiety over time.

Many people who suffer from anxiety have difficulty maintaining a regular routine, which can exacerbate the symptoms of their condition. Psychiatric service dogs can help their handler maintain a consistent daily schedule, which will decrease the likelihood of an anxiety attack. They can be a reminder to take their medication, go for a walk or exercise, or simply sit and read a book.

In addition to maintaining a consistent daily routine, psychiatric service dogs can also serve as a calming companion in public. They can help their handler feel more at ease in public spaces and lessen the impact of social anxiety. They can even be trained to open the door for their owner if they are having a panic attack and cannot reach the handler’s key.

If you’re interested in using a service dog to reduce your panic attacks, it’s important to talk to your mental health provider. They can advise you on the requirements for getting an emotional support animal (ESA) or a psychiatric service dog. You will need a letter from your doctor to qualify for either option.


It’s no secret that anxiety is often accompanied by a sense of fear and panic. People with anxiety may have a hard time explaining what they feel, but the symptoms can be very similar to those of a heart attack. This is why so many individuals are prescribed medication to help ease the symptoms of panic attacks.

Some people who need medication for their panic and anxiety may also need psychiatric service dogs to help them stay calm during an episode. These dogs are specifically trained to provide the person with comfort and a sense of security that they can’t necessarily find in other places or from outside sources. They are often used in conjunction with a treatment plan from a mental health professional to ensure the person gets the best possible care.

Psychiatric service dogs can be trained to open the front door of their handler’s home, ensuring they can get help if needed even if the individual is not physically able to do it themselves. They can also be trained to apply deep pressure therapy by lying down against their handler and applying the weight of their body, which can have a calming effect during an anxiety or panic attack. They can also be taught to remind their owner to take their medicine at the appropriate times, and to keep nudging or pawing them until they do so.

As a result of the innate bond between humans and dogs, these animals are uniquely equipped to understand what their human is going through during a panic attack. They can often pick up on a person’s shortness of breath, fast heart rate, and racing thoughts, all signs that the body is in a state of heightened stress and fear. They can also be trained to act on visual and verbal cues to perform specific tasks, like nudge their handler or lie down with them, which will help relieve the person’s panic and anxiety symptoms.

Psychiatric service dogs are trained to do much more than simply provide a sense of comfort and safety, which is why they are different from emotional support animals. While ESAs can provide these benefits, they are not as specialized as service dogs.

Breathing Exercises

During panic attacks, people often have difficulty breathing. This can cause them to feel dizzy and lightheaded, as well as lead to a buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood. To help relieve these symptoms, you can practice breathing exercises to relax your body. This will allow you to get a more regular flow of oxygen and will help you breathe more slowly and deeply. It can also ease anxiety and stress, which are common triggers for panic attacks.

You can perform breathing exercises at any time, but they’re especially helpful during times of extreme stress. The coronavirus pandemic is a perfect example, as it caused many people to experience high levels of stress, anxiety and even panic. The good news is that a service dog can provide relief by helping you relax and focus on your breaths. This can make your panic attacks less severe and prevent them from recurring.

Dogs are able to sense when their handler is having a panic attack, sometimes even before it starts. They can sense the fearful and anxious feelings through their handler’s body language and their own emotional responses. They can then approach their owner and cuddle them, providing much-needed company and calm emphatic contact. This helps to reduce and end a panic attack by making the person feel safe, loved, and in control.

Psychiatric service dogs can also be trained to detect early signs of panic in their handlers, such as increased sweat and accelerated heart rate. This advance warning can give their owners time to take action, such as retreating to a safe place or taking their medication before the panic takes hold. Psychiatric service animals can also be trained to open doors for their handlers, which is helpful if they’re feeling faint or lightheaded during a panic attack and are unable to open the door themselves.

If you are interested in obtaining a psychiatric service animal, it is best to work with a therapist or other mental health professional to determine whether this is the right decision for you. They can help you find a trainer who specializes in service dogs and can teach your dog the skills they will need to be successful. They can also help you determine which breed of dog would be the best fit for your needs, as there are countless dog breeds that have been successfully used as service dogs in various settings.


Many people who suffer from anxiety have often found that simply being around their dog, or even a friend's dog, can make them feel calm. This is because dogs are a source of constant, ready affection, which can be reassuring in times of panic or stress. In addition, much psychological research shows that the act of touching a dog (or having them touch you) produces the feel-good chemical oxytocin, which can further reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

Psychiatric service dogs are specifically trained to notice the signs of an anxiety attack in their handler, and to offer them comfort and support during such episodes. They can help their owners to regain a sense of balance by directing them to a safe place to sit or stand, and they can also alert others to the person's condition so that emergency responders are immediately notified and sent to assist.

In addition, a psychiatric service dog can be trained to provide deep pressure therapy by lying against their owner's body and applying pressure with their weight. This can help to relieve the effects of a panic attack, and it is something that a dog can do with relative ease, as their bodies are designed for this kind of interaction. However, not all psychiatric service dogs are able to perform this task, as some breeds of dog are too large and heavy for this kind of training.

Some psychiatric service dogs are also trained to provide their handler with advance warning of an impending anxiety attack by licking or nudging them in the face, or even by urinating on them. This can give the person time to retreat to a safe place or to retrieve their medication, before their symptoms escalate further.

Finally, a psychiatric service animal can be trained to open the front door of their handler's home, if they are inside but find it difficult to operate the lock during an anxiety attack. This is to allow them to escape from their home if necessary, and to ensure that they can receive help if they cannot manage the door on their own.

Dogs provide a constant, calming presence for their handlers. They can also alert their owners of oncoming anxiety or panic attacks. In addition, dogs can smell when their humans are afraid and can produce oxytocin, a feel-good chemical that reduces anxiety over time. Psychiatric service dogs are specially trained by Service Dog Training California to perform…