Caffeine, dark chocolate, mushrooms, theobromine, ethanol, and xylitol, among other substances, can trigger seizures in dogs, according to the ASPCA.
Chocolate is poisonous to dogs because of theobromine. In addition to being utilized in fuel, solvents, and hand sanitizers, ethanol is also present in foods including apple, grape, and orange juice, sweet milk rolls, and hamburger rolls. A sugar-free sweetener called xylitol is also used in toothpaste, gum, and mouthwash.
Unfortunately, because to its high toxicity, xylitol can also result in vomiting, tremors, weakness, lack of coordination, and disorientation, as well as send your dog into a coma or cause liver failure. It can also cause seizure disorders.
Contact your veterinarian straight away, or call the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 if you think your pet has consumed any of these foods. Additionally, watch out that your dog doesn’t consume human food that has hazardous substances. Before giving your dog food, always make sure it’s fresh.
Which foods are best for dogs who get seizures?
The Top 8 Dog Foods to Prevent Seizures
- Hill’s Prescription Diet Dry Dog Food with Pork Flavor for Liver Care.
- Dry dog food with a hydrolyzed formula from Purina Pro Plan.
- Nutrish Zero Grain Natural Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food by Rachael Ray.
Canine seizures be influenced by diet?
TABLE 1 provides a summary of additional information regarding the research covered below. Randomized controlled trials, which offer the best level of evidence when evaluating a novel treatment, were used in all but one of the investigations. The strength of any inferences that can be drawn on the efficacy of these medicines, however, is constrained because all of the information is based on a small number of studies involving comparatively few dogs.
The ketogenic diet is an effective, non-drug treatment for drug-resistant epilepsy in people. This low-carb, high-fat diet aims to imitate the biochemical modifications brought on by fasting, which have long been known to affect seizure management. The alteration of neuronal excitability via improved mitochondrial energy metabolism, modifications to synaptic function, and suppression of glutaminergic neurotransmission are some of its hypothesized anticonvulsant mechanisms. 17 In one study, a high-fat, low-carb diet was examined as a possible therapy for drug-resistant epilepsy in dogs. Dogs on the ketogenic diet did not reach a degree of ketosis associated with seizure management in humans, but there was no statistically significant difference in seizure frequency between the treatment and control groups. 15
Humans have adopted modifications to the ketogenic diet, primarily to increase compliance and palatability. The traditional ketogenic diet’s long-chain fatty acids are partially replaced with medium-chain fatty acids in the medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) diet. This change is based on the idea that MCTs are more ketogenic than long-chain triglycerides and are more readily absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract, allowing for more carbohydrate in the diet without compromising the ketogenic basis. 18
Dogs fed the test diet experienced a substantial decrease in seizure frequency and seizure day frequency when compared to dogs fed the control diet, according to a study intended to assess a diet supplemented with MCTs as a treatment for drug-resistant idiopathic epilepsy in dogs.
12 In a subsequent study, which compared a 9% MCT dietary supplement to placebo oil as an adjunctive treatment in epileptic dogs with poorly controlled seizures, these findings were confirmed. Seizure frequency and seizure day frequency were significantly lower in the MCT supplement-treated dogs compared to the control group. 13
Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation
Supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids has also been suggested as a treatment for epilepsy since both eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have been found to have anticonvulsant effects in rat models and can reduce neuronal excitability via regulating ionic channels. 19 When compared to a placebo, a trial testing omega-3 fatty acid supplementation as a treatment for canines suffering from drug-resistant idiopathic epilepsy was unable to detect a difference in seizure frequency or intensity. 16
A retrospective study that has only been published in abstract form described the use of hypoallergenic meals as a treatment for canine epilepsy. 20 With the introduction of an exclusion diet, it was found that seven out of eight dogs experienced a decrease in the frequency and intensity of seizures.
What causes dog seizures to worsen?
Numerous factors, such as stress or anxiety, cold, pain, muscle weakness, neurological issues, chronic kidney disease, and generalized tremor syndrome, might cause your dog to shake or tremble (GTS). Although it can affect dogs of any size, breed, or color, GTS was first identified in little, white dogs like Maltese and West Highland white terriers. Although there is no known cause for GTS, it can be managed with corticosteroids like prednisone.
Although it is unlikely that your dog is having a seizure, you should still take them to the vet if you are unclear of the cause.
2. What signs do dogs exhibit during a seizure?
A dog falling on its side while barking, clenching and unclenching its teeth, urinating, defecating, and paddling all four limbs are examples of a dog having a seizure. Other signs of a seizure include a faraway gaze or twitching in one area of the face. Seizures can last anywhere from a few seconds to several hours.
3. What actions should I take if my dog is experiencing a seizure?
Don’t panic, first of all. A dog experiencing a seizure is not “suffering,” only unconscious. Avoid letting your dog damage himself by keeping him as quiet as you can. The seizure may last longer or get worse if loud or abrupt noises are made.
The dog that is having seizures could scare or threaten other animals in the home. If you’re worried about this, take them out of the vicinity. If you talk to your dog when he is having a seizure, it might make him feel better and speed up the healing process. Never put your hands close to the dog’s mouth since he can bite you unintentionally. Keep in mind that when unconscious, your dog may act in ways that are not typical of him.
Keep the phone numbers for your emergency veterinary hospital or veterinarian handy at all times. If your dog experiences a seizure that lasts longer than five minutes, dial 911. If the seizures are not prevented, they could last longer than 30 minutes and result in lasting brain damage.
4. Do all convulsions and seizures in dogs result from epilepsy?
No, a dog could experience a single seizure that is unrelated to epilepsy. However, a thorough physical and neurological evaluation are still required even if your dog just experiences one seizure. You should keep an eye out for new seizures if there are no abnormalities discovered. Unless your dog continues to have seizures, your veterinarian might not suggest a therapy.
5. Do dogs experience different kinds of seizures?
Yes, and it’s crucial to take note of every detail if you think your dog is experiencing a seizure so you can precisely describe it to your vet.
- Grand mal or moderate generalized seizures are both possible. Because it often has two phases—tonic and clonic—the grand mal seizure is also known as a tonic-clonic seizure. During the tonic phase, which normally lasts 10 to 30 seconds, the dog collapses, passes out, and firmly stretches his limbs. Likewise, breathing stops (apnea). The clonic phase comes next, during which the dog could paddle his legs or act as though he’s chewing. The pupils enlarge, salivation, urine, and diarrhea are other symptoms that manifest during the tonic or clonic phase. There is typically no loss of consciousness during the minor seizure, and there is little to no paddling or extending of the limbs. Primary epilepsy is frequently linked to generalized seizures.
- Partial seizures: Movements that are limited to one part of the body, such as jerking muscles, limb movements, head or trunk rotations, or face twitches. However, if the seizure begins with one particular area of the body, it is a partial seizure. Partial seizures can progress to and be mistaken for widespread grand mal seizures. Secondary epilepsy frequently coexists with partial seizures.
- Complex partial seizures (psychomotor or behavioral): These seizures are characterized by unusual or intricate behaviors that occur repeatedly. People who have complex partial seizures sometimes sometimes experience odd sounds, smells, hallucinations, or tastes, as well as distortions of mind, perception, or emotion (typically dread). If dogs have the same experiences, it might explain why apparently normal animals exhibit behaviors such as lip-smacking, chewing, fly-biting, aggression, vocalization, frenzied running, cowering, or hiding. Other symptoms include biting of the flank, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, salivation, blindness, and unusual thirst or hunger. Although usually not an absence of consciousness, there is a clear lack of awareness. A generalized seizure may follow abnormal behavior that lasts for a few minutes or several hours. Secondary epilepsy is frequently accompanied with complex partial seizures.
- Multiple seizures occur quickly, with only brief intervals of consciousness in between, and are known as cluster seizures. As few as two seizures may occur in a 30-minute span. The interval between seizures might range from 5 to 10 seconds to 4 to 6 hours. It’s possible to mistake them for status epilepticus.
- Status epilepticus is characterized by one prolonged seizure lasting 30 minutes or longer, or by a string of several seizures occurring quickly with no breaks in normal awareness. Although status epilepticus and frequent cluster seizures can be difficult to distinguish from one another, both are serious medical emergency. The majority of people with status often experience generalized tonic-clonic seizures. Status epilepticus can occur with primary or secondary epilepsy, but it can also appear unexpectedly in dogs who have never had seizures before, especially in situations involving severe brain injury, toxins, or disease.
- The phrase “petit mal” should not be used to describe a partial or mild generalized seizure in dogs. Petit Mal Seizure (Absence Seizure): This form of seizure is uncommon in dogs. A dog experiencing a petit mal seizure might shiver, arch his back or shake his head, have trouble standing up, and/or drool.
6. What distinguishes primary from secondary epilepsy?
Idiopathic, genetic, inherited, or genuine epilepsy are other names for primary epilepsy. Primary epilepsy cannot be diagnosed with a test; instead, your veterinarian must rule out all other possibilities.
In dogs with primary epilepsy, the first seizure often happens between the ages of 6 months and 5 years. Primary epilepsy may be genetic (inherited), however this is not conclusive evidence of a genetic abnormality; this would require extensive breeding experiments. If there is a family history of seizures, the breed, age, and history may point to a genetic basis for primary epilepsy.
The cause of secondary epilepsy can be identified, and there are numerous possibilities. Degenerative diseases, developmental problems, toxic (poisoning), infectious diseases (like distemper), metabolic disorders, nutritional problems, or traumatic injuries are the most often identified causes of seizures in dogs younger than a year old.
7. What factors lead to canine epilepsy? And why do puppies get seizures?
In dogs between 3 and 3 years old, a genetic component is frequently suspected. Most seizures in canines older than five years old are either metabolic (associated to conditions like hypoglycemia, cardiovascular arrhythmia, or cirrhosis) or neoplastic (related to brain tumors).
8. Are some dog breeds more susceptible to seizures?
All dog breeds, including mixed breeds, can develop epilepsy. Between 2% and 5% of all dogs suffer from epilepsy.
The Beagle, Belgian Tervuren, Dachshund, German Shepherd Dog, Alsatian, and Keeshond are among the breeds for which a genetic component is either proven or strongly suspected. Boxers, Cocker Spaniels, Collies, Golden Retrievers, Irish Setters, Labrador Retrievers, Miniature Schnauzers, Poodles, Saint Bernards, Siberian Huskies, and Wire-Haired Terriers are other breeds with a high frequency of seizure disorders.
9. How are dog seizures caused by epilepsy treated?
The first step in diagnosing and treating a seizure disease is keeping a seizure journal. Make a note of the seizure’s start time so you can calculate its duration. Make a note in your seizure diary of the date, time, and length of the seizure (exact minutes are essential). If you can, take note of any unusual behavior that occurs before or after the seizure. Put a question mark next to any seizures you think your dog may have had but were unable to observe.
In general, if a dog has one or more seizures within six weeks, treatment is indicated. (Dogs who experience status epilepticus or cluster seizures may still get treatment even if the incidence rate is less than once per six weeks.) The owner’s commitment to administering the medication exactly as prescribed, with absolutely NO modifications in the dose or kind of medication without consulting a veterinarian, is essential for effective pharmacological therapy. Status epilepticus may result from haphazard drug administration or rapid medication changes, which are both worse than no treatment at all.
To manage epilepsy, a variety of prescription medications as well as various complementary therapies like acupuncture, herbs, diet modifications, homeopathy, and vitamins may be employed. The most used anti-convulsant medications are phenobarbital and potassium bromide, however others are also used.
10. Will medication help to keep my dog’s seizures at bay?
Epilepsy is a chronic condition that is typically treatable. Treatment aims to lessen seizure frequency and intensity while avoiding unfavorable side effects. In most cases, it is impossible to completely stop the seizures.
It’s crucial to remember that whether your dog is having minor or severe seizures, there is support available for you both. Work with a veterinarian with whom you have a good rapport and get knowledgeable about seizures and how to treat them. Follow your veterinarian’s advice, never alter medicine or dosages without consulting him or her first, exercise caution, get your pet’s drug serum levels checked as soon as possible, and be patient and open to trying alternative treatments if necessary. Epileptic pets and their owners now have more alternatives and reasons to hope thanks to new treatments.
Does protein help dogs who have seizures?
When it comes to nutrients, a few have been demonstrated to assist in lowering seizure activity. A few chemicals have also been demonstrated to cause seizures in people who are already predisposed to them.
Brain function and health are supported by protein. Protein also helps to support the nervous system. So ideally, increasing support for the brain and nervous system with a high-protein diet should help decrease seizure activity.
There is proof that a B vitamin shortage can make seizures more active. Therefore, adding more B vitamins to your dog’s food or getting their food supplemented with B vitamins may help reduce seizure activity.
Poor-quality meals may contain irritants or trigger foods that cause an increase in seizure activity. Purchasing high-quality food that has undergone more stringent processing will help you avoid the stress of potential cross-contamination or unidentified sourcing.
What Foods Should Dogs with Seizures Avoid?
Several foods and substances that cause attacks in both people and dogs should be avoided by dogs that have seizures. Higher seizure activity has been linked to BHA, BHT, xylitol, ethoxyquin, and artificial flavors, colours, and preservatives in both dogs and humans. Therefore, avoiding certain seizure-causing foods can help lessen dog seizures.
Additionally, there is some evidence to suggest that feeding dogs gluten causes an increase in seizure activity. Therefore, avoiding grains and gluten should also assist to lower seizure activity.
As always, you should keep your dog away from hazardous foods like chocolate, theobromine-containing foods, garlic, onions, and coffee as these can cause fatal seizures or cause poisoning.