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Seizures & Epilepsy in Dogs: What to Look Out for and How to Help

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Seizures & Epilepsy in Dogs: What to Look Out for and How to Help

Dog seizures are terrifying experiences. It's frightening to watch seizures occur, especially when you're witnessing seizures in dogs. No dog owners want to witness a seizure episode for epileptic dogs, but sometimes, the reality is that a dog's seizures can appear at any time.

They are often categorized in one of three ways. A seizure can either be a focal seizure, a generalized seizure, or an unknown seizure. There is more than one seizure type because the length of time that a seizure lasts and the type of seizure activity that takes place can differ vastly.

Some dogs experience strange behavior leading up to them while others don't express any behavior changes at all. Those canine seizures are sudden and more surprising than pet owners anticipate.

No matter what, when a dog has a seizure, it is important for pet owners to remain calm. Panicking might feel hard to avoid but just remember to breathe. Your dogs need you to be there for them

Definition of a Seizure & What Causes Them in Dogs

The exact cause of canine seizures varies from one dog to the next. Many dogs have similar seizures but the causes of seizures can differ because the brain is a fickle organ that is susceptible to very unique changes. While the most. common cause of seizures in your dog is genetics, the only way to know the exact cause of seizures is by seeking diagnostic tests from your pet's vet.

Healthcare professionals can take a close look at the cerebral cortex of your dog and conduct a physical examination in search of other potential indications of an inherited disorder. Healthy dogs will pass these seizure exams with flying colors, while a dog with frequent seizures will show red flags.

Your vet might use potassium bromide to better understand the brain of your dog. A CT scan for your dog is highly possible as well, in addition to a spinal fluid analysis.

What are the Different Types?

They come in many forms, but the most common form is a complex partial seizure. This type of seizure originates in one part of the brain but it spreads like wildfire to other areas of the brain, causing adverse effects and odd behavior in dogs. It also creates abnormal electrical activity that can last anywhere from a few minutes to a long time.

Other types include:

  • Non-recurrent seizure
  • Idiopathic seizure
  • Reactive seizures
  • Cluster seizures
  • Prolonged seizure
  • Single seizure
  • Grand mal seizure
  • Psychomotor seizure


Here are some subcategories:

  • Grand mal seizures
  • Focal seizures
  • Psychomotor seizures
  • Petit mal seizures
  • Status epilepticus
  • Idiopathic epilepsy
  • Genetic epilepsy

How Do I Know My Dog is Having a Seizure?

Here are some clear signs your furry friend is having a seizure:

  • Jerking or twitching of the muscles
  • Frothing at the mouth
  • Temporarily blind
  • Fly biting
  • Altered behavior
  • Dog's body temperature changes
  • Chewing of the tongue during convulsions can confirm that a seizure is taking place. 
  • Paddling movements in the legs or falling to the side is also a common symptom
  • Also possible for the dog to wet themselves or poop during a seizure. 
  • Disorientation, wobbliness or blindness can occur immediately after the cease of a seizure for a few seconds.

What Can I Do To Help My Dog During and After Their Seizure?

If you are witnesses your dog's seizures and  trying to figure out how to help your dog. The best thing you can do when your dog has a seizure is to make sure they don't get themselves into a dangerous situation. You can't stop the seizure from happening but you can be by their side and maintain their safety as the seizure plays out.

What should should I do when my dog is having a seizure

If you believe your dog is experiencing an emergency situation, you should act fast and take your dog to the nearest location that treats dogs with canine epilepsy. Veterinary attention should be your first priority if your dog seems to need medical help for seizures that last a few minutes or more.

If your pet frequently has multiple seizures, it's possible that your dog has a seizure disorder. Seizures in dogs are not always concerning, but your dog might be part of the 0.75% of dogs that have genetic epilepsy or idiopathic epilepsy. When dogs have two or more seizures in a short period of time or a seizure lasting a long time, it might be time for you to consider taking your dog to the vet immediately.

Certain breeds of dog are more high risk for epilepsy than others, including:

  • Australian Shepherds
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • German Shepherds

Are There Ways To Treat Seizures?

CBD Oil for dog seizures

As far as treatment options, there are a few different ways that seizures may be approached. One obvious way of treating them is with anti seizure medication. Another treatment option is CBD, which is an all-natural treatment method that makes sure you aren't giving anything man-made or artificial to your pets.

Even so, if the issue is ongoing, then most veterinarians will want to prescribe a seizure medication which is a normal, traditional course of treatment. These will be FDA-approved medications that have been used for many years in the ongoing treatment of different types. It's up to you to bring up CBD as an alternative approach to treating your pet's condition because most vets will suggest anti seizure medication first and foremost.

Don't be afraid to speak up and advocate for your pup!

CBD May Help - Seek Your Vet’s Opinion

Guide for Dog Seizures | Innovet Pet


Seizures and Epilepsy
Treating Seizures With Phenobarbital
Cannabidiol and Epilepsy
Approved by:
Dr. Ivana Vukasinovic
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Belgrade

Ivana Vukasinovic grew up in Serbia and attended the University of Belgrade where she received a degree in Veterinary medicine in 2012 and later completed surgical residency working mostly with livestock. Her first year of practice was split between busy small animal practice and emergency clinic, and after two more years of treating many different species of animals, she opened her own veterinary pharmacy where an interest in canine and feline nutrition emerged with an accent on fighting animal obesity. In her free time, she acts as a foster parent for stray animals before their adoption, likes to read SF books and making salted caramel cookies.


Thanks for stopping by!

P.S. We Love You!


The Innovet Team

Please do not ask for emergency or specific medical questions about your pets in the comments. Innovet Pet Products is unable to provide you with specific medical advice or counseling. A detailed physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinarian are required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet requires emergency attention or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic health conditions, please contact or visit your local/preferred veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.

Please share your experiences and stories, your opinions and feedback about this blog, or what you've learned that you'd like to share with others.

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  • michael ricci

    My dog Reggie started started having Epileptic seizures When he was 6 years old. Had him on a lot of different medications. Seizures did not slow down. 2 years ago started using CBD oil And the seizures started to become more random And it keeps getting better. Hasn’t had a seizure in 2 months. He is now 11 years old and almost seizure free . Also stopped all flea medicine. Only use all natural. Your product is awesome. Reggie and I thank you so much For your great product and advice.

  • Donna Fantasia

    My dog started having seizures when he was trying to express a branch off a new tree they plant in cities? Whatever they are, my friend was walking my dog for me since I’d been laid up from one surgery or other and didn’t pay attention, only after this incident did I realize how oblivious he is!! That night he had to go relieve himself rather at an awkward time early morning and when it wasn’t coming out so easy he then started throwing up but obviously got very winded and my theory is he wasn’t getting any oxygen to his brain and he passed out!!!! OmG I think I screamed him back to life?? Thereafter when he’d have a hard time expressing something from earlier on in the day, he’d seize!!!! Well, when you’ve never witnessed the love of your life, the dog of your dreams it took 39 years for you to finally get!!?? Having this episode banging his head on the hardwood floor all this drool coming from his mouth even urinating on himself!!!! You want to trade places w/him!!! Then kill the person you so trusted your baby with!!!!! OmG is all I can say!!! Then I heard of this CBD oil practically preventing these from happening??? I only wish I’d learned before he’d suffered his second!!!! He’s only had about four, the last one he was on my bed and I just hugged him like I did the second only I was on the floor that time! Trying to prevent his head from banging the floor!!! Anyway I don’t want to depress you all any longer! I just thank God I found out about it and that Dave puts up w/me when I get upset over some silly thing that was probably my fault!? Thank you innovet and whoever first realized this was good for a multitude of ailments!!! God bless all our fur kids!

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