dog with seizures | types of seizures in dogs

A Holistic Understanding of Pet Seizures

Your pet appears wobbly and perplexed; they then collapse on the ground. Even though our pets are unaware of what is happening, they seem to be treading water. Thus, they are experiencing a seizure. What is causing this, and what can you do about it?

If your dog experiences them often, it may have a seizure problem. Epilepsy is another term for it. Seizures are caused by abnormal, uncontrollable bursts of electrical activity in your dog’s brain, affecting how they appear and behave. 

Episodes might seem like cramps or uncontrolled shaking and can last from a few seconds to many minutes. It is one of the most common neurological diseases in dogs. 

A seizure, often known as a convulsion or fit, is a momentary involuntary disruption of normal brain function followed by uncontrolled muscular movement.

Pets, like people, may suffer from epileptic seizures; these seizures cause may be enigmatic, with some cats having episodes while sleeping.


dog with seizures | A Holistic Understanding of Pet Seizures

How do you know if your pet is having a seizure?

There are two critical characteristics of an emergency seizure, and if you see them in your pet, you should call your veterinary neurologist right away:

  1. The episode lasts more than three minutes.
  2. Your dog experiences three or more seizures in less than 24 hours.

Indicators of a seizure may be hardly perceptible in certain circumstances (subtle body twitching, half-closed eyelids, immobility), yet other signs of a pet seizure include loss of consciousness and excessive limb flapping. If you fear your pet is having an attack, please call our emergency animal hospital immediately.

After the episode, if your dog has had a seizure, consult your veterinarian to do physical examinations and discover the reason. As previously stated, several reasons might lead to this neurological activity. Expect that your veterinarian will do a physical check and a blood test.

To be clear and remind everyone, your veterinarian will do a comprehensive physical examination of your dog, including lab tests, to rule out any underlying reasons. Whether a medical concern is discovered, your veterinarian may treat it to determine if it improves your pet’s health. Your veterinarian may prescribe an anti-seizure drug such as phenobarbital, potassium bromide, or levetiracetam in certain circumstances.

Inform your veterinarian about any supplements or drugs your dog is taking so that your veterinarian can make the best treatment option for your pet’s specific condition and help limit the danger of a possible drug interaction.

The doctor may suggest reducing activities in the days and weeks after a seizure, such as keeping the dog inside more and minimizing socialization with other dogs. Keep the dog’s environment safe, especially keeping them away from stairs or sharp objects, in case they suffer another seizure.

What can trigger a seizure in a dog?

Many causes may trigger seizures in pets. Insecticides, some human foods, plants, carpets, pharmaceuticals, and other hazardous chemicals may cause seizures in a pet that does not have a seizure disease. Brain damage may occasionally cause an attack. Seizures are one of the signs of heat stroke, which is another medical emergency.

Whatever the origin of your pet’s condition, it’s critical to grasp the many kinds, symptoms, and hazards associated with pet seizures and know if your dog will have an attack. A seizure often comprises three distinct phases:

In the pre-ictal stage, the pet seems scared, unhappy, or puzzled.

The ictal phase, often known as the seizure proper, might involve paralysis, full-body spasms (grand mal seizure), leg paddling, loss of bladder and bowel control, or hallucinations.

A post-ictal period in which many of the pre-ictal symptoms reoccur.


Along with collapse, numerous additional indications and symptoms may help you establish whether your dog is experiencing a seizure or convulsion, including:

  • jerking physical motions
  • Stiffening
  • twitching of muscles
  • Consciousness loss
  • Drooling
  • tongue biting or chomping
  • The mouth is foaming.
  • Defecating or urinating involuntarily

A dog may seem bewildered or be looking off into space just before having a seizure, and they may also get wobbly. They will frequently seem shaky and confused after the episode has passed. They may also be briefly blind and attempt to hide from you.

The symptoms include collapsing, jerking, stiffening, muscular twitching, loss of consciousness, drooling, chomping, tongue chewing, or foaming at the mouth. Dogs may tumble to the side and use their legs to paddle. During a seizure, they may defecate or pee. They are also oblivious to their environment.

pet seizures | What do you need to do

What do you do if your dog is having a seizure?

First, record the start and finish times of the seizure. Unless your pet is flailing wildly for more than five or ten minutes, the best thing to do is wait until your pet has finished seizing and then take him to your veterinarian immediately. If your pet suffers a seizure, never attempt to hold him or put anything in his mouth. You might be bitten or inadvertently injure your pet.

Now, try to remain calm. If your dog gets too close to anything that might damage them, such as furniture or the stairs, gently move them away.

Then, keep your distance from your dog’s jaws and head; they may bite you. Nothing should go in their mouth. Dogs are unable to choke on their tongues. Time it if you can.

Remember, if the seizure lasts more than a few minutes, your dog may overheat. Cool your dog with a fan and cold water on its paws.

Talk gently to your dog to comfort them. Avoid touching them since they may unintentionally bite. When the seizure is over, contact your veterinarian. 

Suppose your dog has a seizure that lasts more than 5 minutes or many in a row while unconscious; take them to the vet immediately. The longer an attack lasts, the higher a dog’s body temperature might rise, and they may have breathing difficulties; this increases their chances of brain injury. To halt the seizure, your vet may provide IV Valium to your dog.

Can CBD help Pet Seizures

There are various ways that CBD may be able to reduce your dog’s seizures. If your dog has epilepsy or another illness that causes recurring seizures, the first step is to lessen the amount of seizures your dog encounters.

Second, CBD might lessen the intensity or duration of these seizures. This is because CBD may be able to manage the dangerous electrical activity that causes seizures in a dog’s brain and lessen the stress or harm brought on by unchecked neurochemical exchanges.

Types of Seizures in Dogs

Dogs may suffer from various seizures, including grand mal, focal, psychomotor, and idiopathic epilepsy seizures; these are classified into two types: focal seizures, which affect just one area of the brain, and generalized seizures, which impact the whole brain. The pet may lose consciousness during generalized seizures and look confused and disoriented afterward. These convulsions are often accompanied by aberrant behavior.

Here are some types of seizures that not just dogs but other pets may experience.

Grand mal seizures are often referred to as “generalized” seizures. They are usually produced by aberrant electrical activity in the brain and may range from a few seconds to several minutes.

Focal seizures are similar to grand mal seizures in that they impact just one side or area of the brain, affecting only one side of the dog. A focal seizure may sometimes progress to a grand mal seizure.

Psychomotor seizures seldom cause a dog to collapse to the ground. Instead, this seizure may lead the dog to behave strangely, such as racing about and biting at imagined things or chasing her tail excessively. When a dog has psychomotor seizures, it might be difficult to tell if she is behaving goofy or has a problem. When they have an attack, they may display the same strange behavior every time.

Idiopathic epilepsy refers to seizures for which there is no recognized cause. These varieties are common in dogs aged six months to six years. Idiopathic epilepsy is common in certain breeds, including:

  • Australian sheepdogs
  • Beagles
  • Border Collies from Belgium
  • Collies
  • German Shepherd Puppies
  • Retrievers, Labrador

These are all severe disorders, and if you suspect your dog is suffering from any of them, contact your veterinarian immediately.

dog with seizures | types of seizures in dogs

Do dogs feel pain during a seizure?

Seizures, despite their dramatic and violent look, are not painful. However, the dog may experience disorientation and maybe terror. The pets are unaware of pain during seizing due to the massive quantity of electrical activity in the brain and because they are asleep or semiconscious. During a seizure, your pet may whimper, meow, or bark, but this has nothing to do with discomfort. 

Your pet’s nervous system is just responding to aberrant brain activity Dogs do not swallow their tongues during seizures, contrary to common perception. If you put your fingers or an item into its mouth, you will not aid your pet and risk getting severely bitten or harming your dog.

The main goal is to protect the dog from falling or injuring itself by hitting items into itself. There is minimal risk of injury happening as long as it is on the floor or ground.

A single seizure is rarely hazardous to the dog. If the dog experiences numerous attacks in a short period (cluster seizures), or if a seizure lasts more than a few minutes, the body temperature rises. If hyperthermia (high body temperature) occurs due to a seizure, you must address another set of issues.

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Dr. Ruth Roberts has supported thousands of dogs and cats to overcome health hurdles like kidney disease, GI Illness, allergies, cancer. Her natural approach to healing creates a gentle yet effective path for your pet to take on their journey to wellbeing. 

Dr. Ruth will help you to develop a health plan for your pet via one-on-one consultation, e-learning, & videos on a range of health topics.


-Dr. Ruth Roberts, DVM, CVA, CVH, CVFT, NAN

Dr. Ruth Roberts DVM, CVA

Dr. Ruth Roberts Holistiv Vet

Dr. Ruth Roberts is The Original Pet Health Coach, and has supported thousands of dogs and cats to overcome health hurdles like kidney disease, GI Illness, allergies and cancer. Her natural approach to healing creates a gentle yet effective path for your pet to take on their journey to wellbeing. Dr. Ruth created The Original CrockPet Diet, a balanced home cooked diet for pets, as the foundation of health. Dr. Ruth is now training passionate pet parents, and pet professionals to be Certified Holistic Pet Health Coaches so that more pets can be helped holistically.