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What To Do When A Dog Has Seizures?

Our pups are beloved members of our families, and as dog owners, we care about their health and well-being. Daily walks, cuddles, and healthy food can help keep your pup healthy. You can also try alternative health methods such as aromatherapy for dogs and dog yoga. 

(Motherhood Community provides useful guides on practicing yoga with pets and the safest essential oils for dogs and other pets. These resources may help support your pup’s well-being.)  

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, unexpected medical conditions can arise. Dog seizures can be a scary thing to experience as a dog owner. It can be nerve-wracking and stressful to watch your furry friend suffer, especially if it’s sudden and you don’t know what to do. In this article, we’ll be discussing what to do when a dog has seizures.

What is a seizure? 

A seizure is a medical condition that happens when there’s a sudden and uncontrolled increase in electrical activity in the brain. This increased activity temporarily causes abnormal function within brain cells. 

Why do dogs get seizures? 

There can be several possible causes for seizures in dogs. Some of them are: 

  • Idiopathic seizures are the most common cause of seizures in dogs and are characterized by whole-body seizures. Often there’s no attributable cause.
  • Genetics 
  • Chemical or nutrient imbalances 
  • Infections 
  • Inflammation in the brain
  • Brain tumors 
  • Stroke 
  • Low blood sugar 
  • Toxin exposure
  • Liver or kidney disease 
  • Electrolyte imbalances 

What are the signs of a seizure? 

This is not an exhaustive list, but signs and symptoms of seizures in dogs can include: 

  • Whole body convulsing
  • Sudden rhythmic movement or actions
  • Bouts of long and unusual barking 
  • Uncontrolled twitching 
  • Running in circles 
  • Muscular tightening
  • Losing consciousness
  • Drooling
  • Uncontrolled urinating or bowel movements
  • Biting 
  • Not responding to their name
  • Blank stare while standing 
  • Foaming via the mouth 
  • Changed behavior

What do you do when it happens?

Here’s what to do if you’re ever in this situation: 

Stay calm and grounded – The most important thing is to stay calm for your pup so you can watch out for signs and stay responsive rather than in fear mode and reactive. 

Keep track by measuring as much as you can – note the time the seizure happened, and if you can, also note how long the seizure lasts. 

Keep your dog safe – keep them away from railings and stairs, from the edges of sofas or furniture, and support their head if you can. Also, try to gently stroke or soothe them until the episode subsides.

Keep yourself safe – keep your hands out of your dog’s mouth during a seizure because their jaw can become locked, and you may get injured.  

Call your vet promptly – While you don’t need to do this after every seizure, it’s important to do it the first time it happens. It’s also important to do it if the episodes’ frequency or duration increases.

Soothe your dog vocally – speak in a gentle and low-toned manner. Shushing while stroking can also help. 

Keep your pup cool – sometimes seizures can increase body temperature. 

After the episode, it’s ok to let your dog rest. You can if your dog wants to drink water or eat once the seizure is over. Always double-check with your veterinarian beforehand. 

If you can, take a video of the seizure while it is happening. You can prop your phone nearby, so your hands are free to care for your dog. This can help your vet get a better idea of what’s occurring. 

Try to give your vet a thorough and detailed account of the first episode and your dog’s medical history. Your vet will probably run further tests to develop a game plan. Trust in your vet’s ability to navigate this situation. Breathe deeply and do your best to stay grounded. That’s the best way you can be there for your dog. 

Make sure you take your dog for their annual check-up and don’t miss any visits. Stay diligent about ensuring they’re getting proper hydration, rest, movement, and nutrition. 

Has your dog ever had a seizure?

Although seizure symptoms appear scary and volatile, it’s good to remember that your pup’s not in pain as it is happening. You can provide a loving and nurturing environment for them to recover in by staying calm. You’ve got this! Your dog is lucky to have you. 


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