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Learn about your fear of dogs, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your fear of dogs from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

Fear of Dogs Checker

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Your Fear of Dogs May Also be Known as:
Scared of dogs
Terrified of dogs

Fear of Dogs Symptoms

Fear of dogs, also known as cynophobia, is a specific phobia. A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder that is characterized by an extreme and irrational fear towards a situation, place, object or living thing. People with fear of dogs feel more than just discomfort from being around dogs and even hearing barking. People with fear of dogs have such a persistent and severe fear that it prevents them from being anywhere near dogs.

People with fear of dogs may experience both physical and emotional symptoms when encountering dogs and sometimes even when thinking about dogs. However, it is important to note that fear of dogs symptoms are dependent on the individual, and no two people experience their triggers in the same way:

Even though these symptoms are not life-threatening, fear of dogs can be a severely debilitating condition because the symptoms can seem very serious in the moment. Seek medical attention if your fear of dogs prevents you from living and achieving things in your life such as work, school and personal relationships.

Fear of Dogs Causes Overview

The causes of specific phobias are currently not very well understood. However, there are some general hypotheses for why fear of dogs develops.

Genetic Fear of Dogs Causes

Many patients with family members who also have phobias or other mental health conditions such as generalized anxiety may be at risk for developing specific phobias due to complex genetic interactions.

Traumatic Fear of Dogs Causes

Traumatic events associated with dogs such as attacks involving dogs can cause fear of dogs.

At times, even reading about a traumatic experience another person has experienced with a dog can trigger fear of dogs in someone.

Neurologic Fear of Dogs Causes

Dysfunction or changes in brain function may also play a role in the development of fear of dogs. For example, evidence shows a high number of people developing phobias after traumatic brain injuries.

Psychological Fear of Dogs Causes

People with chronic medical conditions or health concerns can develop phobias. Moreover, sometimes if a close relative has fear of dogs, some patients are more likely to develop it as well – similar to a learned behavior.

Top 5 Fear of Dogs Causes

  1. 1.Atrial Flutter

    Atrial fibrillation or flutter is a common type of abnormal heartbeat. The heart rhythm is fast and irregular in this condition.

    You should visit your primary care physician within the next 24 hours. Your doctor will examine your heartbeat with an ECG (electrocardiogram) to confirm the diagnosis. Prescription medication is available to return the heart rhythm back to normal.

    Top Symptoms:
    shortness of breath, racing heart beat, lightheadedness, deep chest pain, behind the breast bone, shortness of breath on exertion
    In-person visit
  2. 2.Diabetic Hypoglycemia

    Hypoglycemia (severely low blood sugar) can occur in Type 1 (more common) and Type 2 Diabetes. It is usually caused by poorly timed use of blood-sugar-controlling medication.

    Severely low blood sugar is extremely dangerous. You need to go to the ER immediately, where blood tests to assess your blood sugar will be done quickly and stabilized immediately if found to be low.

    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, irritability, anxiety, racing heart beat, dizziness
    Symptoms that always occur with diabetic hypoglycemia:
    being severely ill
    Hospital emergency room

    Fear of Dogs Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having fear of dogs.

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  3. 3.Alzheimer's Disease

    Alzheimer's disease is a progressive neurological disorder that slowly destroys memory and the ability to think clearly. As symptoms worsen, patients are often unable to perform basic tasks.

    You should visit your physician to discuss these symptoms. It is likely tests will be ordered to better diagnose you.

    Top Symptoms:
    anxiety, irritability, trouble sleeping, depressed mood, impaired social or occupational functioning
    Symptoms that always occur with alzheimer's disease:
    hidden: alzheimer disease cardinal symptoms
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Wolff - Parkinson - White Syndrome

    Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is a heart condition in which there is an abnormal extra electrical pathway of the heart. The condition can lead to periods of rapid heart rate.

    You should visit your primary care physician soon to confirm the diagnosis and discuss treatment options.

    Top Symptoms:
    racing heart beat, shortness of breath, deep chest pain, behind the breast bone, lightheadedness, irregular heart beat
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Acute Stress Disorder

    Acute stress disorder describes changes in one's mood or memory for less than a month following an emotional or traumatic event.

    You should visit your primary care physician, who can do a thorough assessment and refer you to a psychiatrist if necessary. Treatment is mostly through counseling.

    Top Symptoms:
    trouble sleeping, irritability, anxiety, depressed mood, difficulty concentrating
    Symptoms that always occur with acute stress disorder:
    impaired social or occupational functioning
    Primary care doctor

Fear of Dogs Treatments and Relief

People with fear of dogs often recognize that their fear is excessive; however, they find it very difficult to overcome their fear. Fortunately, there are multiple treatment options that involve medications, therapeutic techniques or a combination of both.

Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy is one of the most common/effective treatments against fear of dogs. The key to this type of therapy is exposing the patient to the source of the fear in a controlled setting and allowing the effect of the fear to diminish over time. This type of strategy is called deconditioning and often works very well for specific phobias such as fear of dogs. Over the years, advances in medicine have developed virtual reality alternatives that allow patients to imagine performing tasks and interacting with dogs. Both in vivo exposure and virtual exposure have been shown to have equally effective improvement rates.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is also a very common treatment for phobias. CBT focuses on identifying negative thoughts, dysfunctional beliefs and harmful reactions and changing them into positive views and feelings. There is no exposure to the source of fear, but patients often come up with mantras or special phrases to think about when encountering their fear. This also helps control symptoms and helps patients manage their anxiety.


Sedative medications such as benzodiazepines and antidepressants can help calm patients down and help them control their emotional and physical reactions to their source of fear. Medications such as beta blockers can block adrenaline from causing symptoms like elevated pulse and shaking. However, these medications should not be used long-term for this indication.


A combination of medication and professional therapy is often the most helpfulsolution.

In addition to professional treatment, you can practice many types of self-care techniques to help you combat your fear of dogs symptoms at home. Activities such as mindfulness mediation, regular physical activity, yoga, and deep, controlled breathing can all help curb symptoms and recurrence of fear of dogs. However, if lifestyle changes do not help, it is important to seek medical attention promptly because therapy is more effective the sooner you begin. Without treatment, phobias can lead to serious complications such as mood disorders and substance abuse.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Fear of Dogs

  • Q.Are you sweating more than usual?
  • Q.A panic attack is a sudden surge of intense fear combined with other symptoms that peaks quickly and then is over within minutes. Have you ever experienced a panic attack?
  • Q.Where is your chest pain located?
  • Q.Have you had numbness over your entire body or numerous different body parts?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, check our fear of dogs symptom checker.

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Fear of Dogs Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced fear of dogs have also experienced:

    • 50% Dizziness
    • 50% Anxiety Due to Certain Triggers
  • People who have experienced fear of dogs had symptoms persist for:

    • 53% Over a Month
    • 22% Less Than a Day
    • 11% Less Than a Week
  • People who have experienced fear of dogs were most often matched with:

    • 33% Atrial Flutter
    • 33% Diabetic Hypoglycemia
    • 33% Alzheimer's Disease
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Fear of Dogs Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having fear of dogs.

Take a quiz