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a dog on the floor having a seizure with its owners

Why Do Dogs Get Seizures?

Dogs are most zealous about various other tasks like playing, protecting their homes, and accompanying their owners when they are sad. But despite their cheerfulness and faithfulness, they are not invulnerable to seizures and illness.  Seeing your dog having seizures is disastrous, and you can hardly think of what to do in these situations. Therefore, it is essential to know the origin of the seizures and what they indicate. To understand why dogs get seizures, we must learn more about specific causes, symptoms and treatment. 

What Does a Seizure Look Like?

The first and foremost thing is to know what a seizure looks like so you don’t mistake it for something else. Most experts state that it is hard to pinpoint seizures as they have various symptoms. Whole-body or Grand Mal seizures are relatively easier to spot as the dog’s whole body convulses. 

However, in many cases, the seizures are localized. For instance, it may be a facial tremor, sudden rhythmic movements, and even unusual barking. Dogs often recover from seizures quickly. However, witnessing the entire process is not easy for the owner.

What Causes a Seizure in Dogs?

Seizures are the most common neurological condition reported in dogs. It is a disturbance in the brain’s normal functioning, which results in abnormal muscle activity. Another term that refers to seizures in dogs is called epilepsy. Sometimes seizures are only a one-time occurrence. However, they can repeatedly occur in episodes as well. Therefore, it is important to know what causes them. 

Epileptic Seizures in dogs (2 types)

Idiopathic Seizures:

These are seizures are common and have no identifiable underlying cause. These are speculated to have a genetic or inherited component to them. This may be specific to the breed or breed line.

Common dog breeds with seizures include but are not limited to:

Golden Retrievers, Labrodor Retrievers, Australian Shepherds, German Shepherds, Beagles, Poodles, Vizslas, Dachshunds, Border Terriers, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Irish Wolf Hounds, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Border Collies and English Springer Spaniels.

Symptomatic Epilepsy:

These types of seizures stem from identifiable medical issues like liver disease, kidney diseases, brain tumors, hydrocephalous, meningitis and more.  Sometimes a change in activities also causes seizures.

For instance, you may observe a slight convulsion when your pup is eating, excited, or falling asleep.  Most owners are worried about whether thier dogs feel pain during a seizure. Therefore, it is also important to clarify that seizures are not painful. But your pet may appear confused and panicked. However, you must ensure that you stay near your dog and prevent them from falling or knocking on other objects.

What To Do If Your Dog Has a Seizure?

In most seizure cases, vets are inaccessible. Therefore the owner is required to handle the situation first-hand. Here are some things you can do when your dog gets a seizure. 

Stay Calm

You can’t attend to your dog if you are panicked or frightened. Try to keep calm because if your pup sees you crying or yelling, he may get more frightened by the situation. 

Pet Your Dog Carefully

Seizures trigger the high-alert senses of the dogs. Therefore, you must be careful when sitting near them and petting them. Try to pet them on the back or in areas that are difficult to reach if they decide you are a threat and leap to bite. Do not put your hands near the dogs mouth. Contrary to popular belief, dogs do not swallow their tongues during a seizure. Putting your hands near a dog mouth or inserting anything into it is dangerous for you and your dog. 

Time The Seizure

The next thing to do is time the seizure. This way, you can tell the doctor how long the seizure lasted and if it’s something of concern. Usually, seizures last for about two minutes or less. 

However, if the seizure lasts for two to five minutes, it is something concerning. Therefore, you must take your pup to the vet as soon as possible. 

Move Your Dog to A Safe Spot

Suppose the pup has a seizure near a staircase or the edge of the bed. Try to push him to a safe zone. Place pillows and soft couch seats around them to prevent them from hurting their heads. 

Sometimes dogs begin running around abruptly before or after seizing. The convulsions may return, making them hurt themselves. Therefore, try to sit near them and create a boundary around them with pillows and cushions. 

Comfort Them

You can try petting your dog and speaking in low, comforting tones. Moreover, music also has calming effects on a dog having a seizure. However, try not to overdo things when your pup seizes. Allow them to return to their normal senses without adding too many distractions. 

Don’t Force Anything

Sometimes dogs lie down after a seizure. In that case, you can let them sleep or rest. Sometimes your pup also feels like drinking or eating. Let them eat and drink but force them. 

You can bring the food and water pots closer so they can eat easily. 

The dizziness doesn’t wear off immediately. Therefore, ensure that the pup doesn’t fall trying to reach their food containers. Some owners cover their dogs with blankets and towels to comfort them. However, sometimes your dog doesn’t like it, so the best way is to stay calm and wait for them to be normal. 

Treating Your Dog’s Seizures

It is advised to consult with your veterinarian as soon as possible if discover your pet has had a seizure. Because treating seizures is complex, the more information you can give them the better. They may ask you to just monitor your pet or if they may prescribe specific medications to manage/prevent future episodes.


Common Medications prescribed for pets include:

Natural Remedies:

We don’t always know why dogs get seizures and we don’t fully know what will work best for the individual dog. These are some non-veterinary options for reducing seizures in dogs.

Consider Diet

Studies in humans and pets have found a correlation between metabolism and seizure disorders.  Changing your dogs diet to one that uses fat as the primary source of energy may help reduce seizures in your pet.  One example of this is the popular ketogenic diet. This is a high fat moderate protein diet with few carbs.  Many raw food diets are already formulated like this without calling themselves ketogenic. Learn more about this diet here.


If changing diet completely is too hard, you may want to consider MCT oil as a supplement for your dog.  MCT oil is readily absorbed has been shown to help reduce seizure activity in both humans and dogs.

According to studies, CBD oils for dogs have also shown promising results in treating dog seizures.  When selecting a CBD  oil for your dog you should look for a brand that uses MCT oil as the carrier oil for get the best results. Some CBD dog treats made with MCT oil are also worth considering. However, visiting a vet before purchasing any medication is essential, as there may also be other reasons for seizures.  

CBD oil for dogs bottles

When choosing to supplement your dogs diet with CBD oil, you should expect to use a moderate to high dose as these are the dosages used in most studies. All Paws Essentials CBD for dogs has a dosage calculator to better understand what that dose looks like.  Consistent dosing at least 2 times a day is also recommended.

In addition to CBD, chinese herbs may also be a valuable part of your dogs treatment. These are often incorporated with acupuncture for the most benefit.


This type of therapy is usually well tolerated by dogs and is designed to help move energy through the body where it may be stagnant.  This is commonly facilitated with small needles and metal beads placed carefully on the dog’s body.  This treatment is growing in popularity for many health issues including pain management, skin problems and even cancer.

The Bottom Line

Dog seizures are one of the most painful experiences for owners to manage. Sometimes the convulsions last for several minutes and require immediate medical assistance. The reason for dog seizures is mostly uncertain. Therefore a thorough diagnosis is necessary. 

The information mentioned above will help you understand why dogs get seizure and how to manage them. It is always advised to include your veterinarian on any decisions you make regarding any of the above mentioned suggestions.  


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