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Hi there, this is my first post here. I've tried other forums but never got much of a response. My dog, KD, is a 3.5 year old female mixed breed (we think pit/dobie/chocolate lab) She's a rescue and we got her when she was about 8 months old. She has always been a problem free dog, other than very bad vet anxiety. She is calm, self possessed, almost never barks, doesn't get too excited about anything (not even guests - other than a hearty tail wag and a small jump or two, then settles right down) About two months ago, out of the blue, she started having what I can only describe as panic attacks. NO discernible (to us) stimulus: she just starts panting, tucks her tail, paces around, sheds like crazy and heads to the door, indicating she needs to get the hell out of the house. There is something in the house that suddenly, without warning, scares the crap out of her. This sometimes lasts for a few minutes, sometimes up to half an hour. Often, I can distract her with a toy, other times I can't.

The facts: she had a thorough exam including blood and urine tests, all came back normal. There is nothing new in the house, no new pets, new furniture or anything that is different from before her first panic attack. She eats well, gets plenty of exercise and is otherwise a completely normal and pleasant pet, except the attacks which seem to have been increasing in frequency. Since they happen suddenly, I KNOW there must be a trigger - but I can't figure out what it is and it drives me almost as crazy as it drives her. Btw, taking her out during an attack immediately stops it as soon as she's out of the house. Coming back in it sometimes will continue (she will be reluctant to even come back in) but not always. Often she comes back from her run/walk, has a drink and goes to sleep the way she always used to.

Feel free to ask any additional questions. I'm very very eager to find out what this is and put a stop to it...for KD's sake mostly, but mine as well

George
 

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My first thought would be something going on with the house that you can't hear/see, such as something with the electrical, a small mechanical noise, perhaps even a smell. The beeping of a smoke alarm often scares dogs, but I think you would hear that. Perhaps there are vermin in the walls or something, animals seeking warmth for the winter. If you've just turned the heat on for the winter, perhaps she is afraid of the noise of the furnace. Perhaps there is something mechanical that is making a different noise than it did before. Also with the winter comes dryer air, and dogs often create static electricity, so when they're getting up from their beds or walking across carpet they might get a shock, which would be scary. Check the humidity in your house (I believe it should be around 60% or something to be comfortable, not positive though, but google has answers!) and if its very dry, you can remedy it with a humidifier.

I would have a complete inspection of the house, just to rule that out. Pay special attention to those clicks your thermostat makes, when fans from the furnace kick in, what exactly she's doing before she becomes anxious (walking across carpet, getting out of bed), or any other little noises that you are used to. Sometimes it helps to keep a journal so you can begin to see the patterns.
 

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My first thought would be something going on with the house that you can't hear/see, such as something with the electrical, a small mechanical noise, perhaps even a smell. The beeping of a smoke alarm often scares dogs, but I think you would hear that. Perhaps there are vermin in the walls or something, animals seeking warmth for the winter. If you've just turned the heat on for the winter, perhaps she is afraid of the noise of the furnace. Perhaps there is something mechanical that is making a different noise than it did before. Also with the winter comes dryer air, and dogs often create static electricity, so when they're getting up from their beds or walking across carpet they might get a shock, which would be scary. Check the humidity in your house (I believe it should be around 60% or something to be comfortable, not positive though, but google has answers!) and if its very dry, you can remedy it with a humidifier.

I would have a complete inspection of the house, just to rule that out. Pay special attention to those clicks your thermostat makes, when fans from the furnace kick in, what exactly she's doing before she becomes anxious (walking across carpet, getting out of bed), or any other little noises that you are used to. Sometimes it helps to keep a journal so you can begin to see the patterns.
Thank you for those suggestions. We live in Florida, so dry winter air is not an issue. The AC was on when she first started having these "fits", it's off now but we had lived in the house for many months before her first sign of anxiety, so not related to that. Definitely could be mice/vermin - I'm calling a pest control company today to come in and see what they can do and if it helps. We know it's not the dishwasher/washing machine/dryer because she's had attacks with those off. My instinct tells me she hears something we cannot hear because as an "attack" begins, she seems to be looking around. Geez! It's SO frustrating not being able to help her.
 

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This isn't going to be easy to figure out. Something is making a sound or smell that is extremely distressing. I'd be looking for somebody that has a device that can hear high and low frequencies then locate where it's coming from.

Bucky was fine when the window fan was going his first summer with us and started barking at night when it was off in the fall. I put white noise on and he stopped barking. I doubt it would cure this but it's worth a shot.

And just checking. Thyroid was checked with the blood panel? If it was the slightest bit low might be worth a full panel that's sent to university or Dr. Jean Dodds.
 

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This isn't going to be easy to figure out. Something is making a sound or smell that is extremely distressing. I'd be looking for somebody that has a device that can hear high and low frequencies then locate where it's coming from.

Bucky was fine when the window fan was going his first summer with us and started barking at night when it was off in the fall. I put white noise on and he stopped barking. I doubt it would cure this but it's worth a shot.

And just checking. Thyroid was checked with the blood panel? If it was the slightest bit low might be worth a full panel that's sent to university or Dr. Jean Dodds.
Thank you for the white noise suggestion! That might actually help. I find that whenever possible, distraction works better than anything. And yes, her thyroid was checked and the levels are a-ok
 

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Strange situation! Off the handle thought... Is one of your neighbors perhaps using one of those ultrasonic anti-bark systems?

I like the white noise suggestion. If she is fine with sufficient white noise it suggests the problem is a sound...
 

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Strange situation! Off the handle thought... Is one of your neighbors perhaps using one of those ultrasonic anti-bark systems?

I like the white noise suggestion. If she is fine with sufficient white noise it suggests the problem is a sound...
I'm running the white noise now. So far no response. KD is pacing around furiously, panting hard. She settles for a minute or two, then continues pacing, tail docked. I managed to give her a 3mg melatonin tab in a piece of hot dog. We are at our wits' end here. No one gets any sleep. Btw, she had two excellent long walks, was playful, ate her dinner well and fell asleep, completely calm. Then, out of the blue (to us) she woke up and started right into her panic attack
 

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There are frequency detector apps for smart phones. Might be worth looking into. Since she's fine out of the house suspect it must be something in the house and since it appears to bother her only on occasion seems unlikely it's a smell. Humming pipes, critter noises, a spy camera........

Have to figure this out and soon!

White noise was a a big help here, sorry it didn't do a thing for her.
 

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Strange situation! Off the handle thought... Is one of your neighbors perhaps using one of those ultrasonic anti-bark systems?
I was wondering the same thing.
 

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There are frequency detector apps for smart phones. Might be worth looking into. Since she's fine out of the house suspect it must be something in the house and since it appears to bother her only on occasion seems unlikely it's a smell. Humming pipes, critter noises, a spy camera........

Have to figure this out and soon!

White noise was a a big help here, sorry it didn't do a thing for her.
Could you point me to an app? I've found some spectrum analyzers on Google Play but none that would detect pitches that only dogs/cats can hear. I believe the phone mic sampling rate is too low for that. I would even be willing to buy a device but again, wasn't able to find anything suitable online. KD is staying in my stepdaughter's house tonight, we'll see how she does there. We also have an appt with a behavior specialist - but not until Dec 12 (!) That's worse than my cardiologist :) We can't wait that long. Don't want to see KD suffer plus need my sleep
 

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They do sell untrasonic devices dog and bark deterrents some are really high and strong, that neighbors can use secretly.. I do believe the radius is 50 feet.. by when the men from the pot facility drive our house and use it on the dogs that are in the front property they are more then 50ft away and my dogs will pause in their tracks not understanding what it is or where it is coming from. So it may not be in your house but along your fence line if your neighbors are connected. either manually hand activated just holding it down continuously which is to be cruel.. or an automatic one that can activate off a bark. go to Youtube and look up ultrasonic dog deterrent video's and see those dogs reactions and behaviors is what you are seeing you your dog...
 

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Look at ultrasonic detectors. Or look up what generates ultrasonic in your house and unplug them. Mosquito/rodent repellents for instance. Compact fluorescent bulbs can. Heck, try cutting the power to your house and see what happens! If she feels better then narrow it down by flipping one breaker back on at a time until you find the bad area and figure it out from there.

My daughter tells me she and Ginger walk past a house that uses an ultrasonic generator for something and it's awful. Both she and the dog hurry past.
 

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Look at ultrasonic detectors. Or look up what generates ultrasonic in your house and unplug them. Mosquito/rodent repellents for instance. Compact fluorescent bulbs can. Heck, try cutting the power to your house and see what happens! If she feels better then narrow it down by flipping one breaker back on at a time until you find the bad area and figure it out from there.

My daughter tells me she and Ginger walk past a house that uses an ultrasonic generator for something and it's awful. Both she and the dog hurry past.
I think cutting power is a great idea. Now that the cooler months are here (I'm in Central Florida) it should be no problem. Not possible during the summer or really until the end of October because there's no life without A/C here :) KD is now at my stepdaughter's house and we're told she's acting completely normal, playful, snoozing, resting - like her old self.
 

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KD has been staying with my stepdaughter where she seems to be a lot calmer. We have started her - as per specialist/behaviorist vet instructions - on Trazodone 125mg twice a day. She seems to tolerate it well. Of course the big test will be when we get her back home. We are seeing said specialist this Wednesday for a two hour consult. After that she comes home. Depending on what the specialist says, further meds may be necessary. I will keep everyone posted
 

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Best of luck! I hope you figure it out soon.
 

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Update on KD. She has been seen by a specialist and is now on medication (Trazodone 125mg twice a day and Klonopin 1mg twice a day) She is obviously calmer and can now at least get some rest during the day and at night (though not all night - she wakes us up at least once) The basic question remains unresolved: what the hell is it about this house that upsets her this bad? I had to drive into Orlando early today and when I came back, KD was pacing around the house, shaking and in some distress (due to the medication it passes quicker than before) At this point I have heard it all: hurricane (ruled out), mice/rats (ruled out) fire alarm/microwave/appliances noise (ruled out), not enough exercise (completely ruled out), pain/physical problem (ruled out) There is something in here that freaks her out - that is INDISPUTABLE. It drives me absolutely nuts that I may never find out what it is. We are now thinking of selling but of course there's no guarantee this behavior won't reassert itself in a new dwelling
 

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Update on KD. She has been seen by a specialist and is now on medication (Trazodone 125mg twice a day and Klonopin 1mg twice a day) She is obviously calmer and can now at least get some rest during the day and at night (though not all night - she wakes us up at least once) The basic question remains unresolved: what the hell is it about this house that upsets her this bad? I had to drive into Orlando early today and when I came back, KD was pacing around the house, shaking and in some distress (due to the medication it passes quicker than before) At this point I have heard it all: hurricane (ruled out), mice/rats (ruled out) fire alarm/microwave/appliances noise (ruled out), not enough exercise (completely ruled out), pain/physical problem (ruled out) There is something in here that freaks her out - that is INDISPUTABLE. It drives me absolutely nuts that I may never find out what it is. We are now thinking of selling but of course there's no guarantee this behavior won't reassert itself in a new dwelling
How absolutely frustrating!

Maybe its not a noise, maybe its a smell. Mold? Carbon monoxide?

Have you ever brought another dog into the house? Did they seem distressed at all?

Ugh, I can't imagine how frustrated you must be!
 

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How absolutely frustrating!

Maybe its not a noise, maybe its a smell. Mold? Carbon monoxide?

Have you ever brought another dog into the house? Did they seem distressed at all?

Ugh, I can't imagine how frustrated you must be!
Thank you for your kind words. I just wrote a lengthy reply that got eaten by my computer, so I'll keep this short. We have put the house up for sale. If KD develops the same pattern of fear in our new place wherever that might be, my daughter will adopt her permanently. A huge change in our lives, not *only* because of KD but she's the catalyst. Very sad and very infuriating
 
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