Dog Seizures: A Directory for Causes and Treatments

It’s a hot, sunny day, and your dog is playing out. Suddenly, he started shaking and trembling. If this happens, it can be a horrible situation for any pet parent, as they may be unsure of what is happening and what to do. This condition may mean that your dog is having seizures.

Let’s get a deeper understanding of seizures in dogs and comprehend why it’s so important for pet parents to be aware of them!

Understanding Canine Seizures: What are Dog Seizures?

A seizure is an unexpected increase in unusual electrical activity in the brain. A sudden occurrence of abnormal electrical impulses in the brain can cause strange behaviour patterns in dogs. Symptoms include tremors, twitching, and a brief loss of concentration.

Based on their frequency, seizures in dogs are divided into the following categories:

  • Cluster – When two or more seizures occur within 24 hours.
  •  Acute recurrent seizures – Deviates from the normal seizure pattern, two or more seizures may occur within 5-12 hours.
  •  Status epilepticus – A seizure lasting 5 or more minutes or two or more seizures without recovery between seizures.

Seizure is a serious health problem, and if left untreated, it may result in permanent neurological damage or death.

Causes of Dog Seizures

Environment: Extreme heat or cold, herbicides and pesticides applied to the lawn or garden, and poisonous flowers and plants can trigger seizures in dogs.

Toxins: Household alcohols such as ethanol, isopropanol, methanol, and ethylene are considered toxins, and other toxins such as carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas, can trigger seizures.

Health problems: Conditions like liver or kidney disease, brain tumors, or blood problems can trigger seizures.

Age: Older dogs may experience age-related brain changes that lead to seizures.

Recognizing Seizure Symptoms: Common Signs

Symptoms of this condition include uncoordinated limb movements with jerking, blackouts, falling to the side, and leg paddling. Other strange activities that might be noticeable include spacing out or looking through things, chewing or dripping saliva, and even utterances that may sound like crying or barking.

Some symptoms of seizures may be more difficult to recognise or analyse. These symptoms include:

  • Disorientation due to fear
  • Abnormal breathing pattern
  • Restlessness
  • Hallucinations

Common Treatments for Canine Seizures

Several effective treatments can help control and reduce the frequency of seizures. Below listed are some of the treatment options that veterinarians recommend.

Anticonvulsants: Variousdrugs can help control seizures by stabilizing brain activity. Regular veterinary checks are necessary to monitor its potency and adjust the dosage. A vet may recommend some of these drugs:  

  • Potassium Bromide
  • Phenobarbital
  • Levetiracetam
  • Zonisamide
  • Primidone
  • Per Rectal Diazepam

Dietary changes: Dietary changes are essential for the treatment of seizures in dogs. The following describes the dietary changes we can make to support our dog’s nutritional needs:

  • Ketogenic diets (high protein diets) reduce the frequency of seizure activity.
  • Provide a balanced meal with the right proportions of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and fibre.
  • Avoid foods with artificial colours, flavours, and preservatives, as they are unhealthy.

Lifestyle Adjustments: The importance of stability in daily routines and a healthy lifestyle cannot be understated. So, what changes are we talking about? Let’s find out!

  • Create a supportive and stress-free environment for dogs at your home.
  • Maintain a consistent routine for feeding, walking, medications, etc.
  • To prevent injuries during seizures, remove all sharp tools and furniture from your home and install edge guards.

Preventive Measures and Support

Recall the thought, “Prevention is better than cure”. It’s generally better to prevent problems before they start than to fix them later. Some preventive measures for seizures include: 

  • Early detection and intervention of health problems like liver or kidney diseases can prevent seizures.
  • Avoid long walks in high temperatures, as dogs are sensitive to heat and can suffer heat stroke, which can damage various organs of the body, including the brain, leading to seizures.


Pet parents should recognise the signs and causes of seizures early and take active steps to deal with them. By understanding these symptoms, they can avoid triggers and take care of their pet. Appropriate treatments, lifestyle changes, and creating a conducive environment can help control seizures.