What Triggers Dogs To Have Seizures

Your dog could experience a seizure for a variety of reasons, from heat exhaustion to epilepsy. Today, our Greensboro veterinarians discuss some of the causes of canine seizures as well as what you should do if your dog experiences one.

Seizures in Dogs

For many pet owners, seeing their dog have a seizure can be upsetting. Having said said, understanding the causes of seizures and what to do in the event that your dog does experience one may assist to lessen the stress of the circumstance.

What Seizures in Dogs Look Like

A seizure can appear in a variety of ways, some of which are more noticeable than others. Your dog may twitch or jerk uncontrollably during a seizure, but other symptoms of a seizure include loss of consciousness, drooling, and odd eye-rolling movements. It’s crucial to notify your veterinarian right away if your dog exhibits symptoms of a seizure.

Causes of Seizures in Dogs

The dog loses control of their body during a seizure owing to improper electrical activity in the brain, regardless of the underlying cause. The following are the primary underlying causes of seizures in dogs:

  • Epilepsy
  • exhaustion of heat
  • abnormalities in nutrition, like thiamine deficiency
  • low amounts of blood sugar
  • liver illness.
  • Tumors
  • consumed toxins like caffeine and chocolate
  • a head injury to the dog (such as a road accident)
  • Diabetes
  • infectious diseases including rabies and the canine distemper virus
  • Heartworms

Dog Breeds With Increased Risk of Seizures

Even though not every dog in these breeds will have a seizure at some point in their lives, certain breeds have a tendency to be more susceptible than others:

  • An genetic form of epilepsy that affects Bull Terriers can result in behaviors including tail-chasing, irrational fear, and unprovoked violence.
  • Large herding and retrieving dogs, such as German Shepherds, Australian Shepherds, Labrador and Golden Retrievers, may be prone to seizures.
  • Dogs carrying the MDR1 gene for herding frequently develop seizures. These breeds include Old English and Shetland Sheepdogs, Longhaired Whippets, Australian Shepherds, Border Collies, German Shepherds, and Border Collies.
  • English Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, and Pugs are a few examples of breeds with small, flat noses that may be more prone to seizures.

When To Call A Vet

If your dog experiences a seizure that may be caused by poisoning, if it lasts longer than three minutes, or if it has many seizures in a succession, call your veterinarian right away.

When it comes to the subject of whether a dog can die from a seizure, the majority endure less than three minutes, and with the right care, the animal can resume its normal life. Seizures, however, can pose a major health risk, and even brief seizures have the potential to harm the brain. Seizures in dogs that last longer than 30 minutes have the potential to cause severe, irreversible brain damage.

Call your veterinarian to let them know if your dog has a brief seizure and then recovers right afterwards. Your veterinarian might advise you to take your dog in for a checkup, or they might just put a note in your dog’s file and ask you to bring your dog in if it happens again. While some dogs experience seizures only sometimes or “one off,” others experience seizures on a regular basis throughout their lives as a result of epilepsy or other conditions.

Treatment for Seizures In Dogs

The course of treatment for your dog’s seizures will depend on what’s causing them. In order to identify the source of your dog’s seizures, your veterinarian will perform a number of tests. If a cause cannot be identified, idiopathic epilepsy will be the diagnosis. Once your dog’s seizures have been identified, your veterinarian will consult with you to decide the best course of action, which may involve medication or the maintaining of a seizure journal.

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How can I keep my dog’s seizures at bay?

Because stress is believed to “trigger” seizures, lowering stress and limiting changes to your dog’s surroundings can assist to prevent seizures.

Giving your dog a balanced food, monitoring their blood sugar, and having frequent checkups with your daily veterinarian will all be beneficial.

Due to the increased muscle activity during seizures, a person’s body temperature may increase. By covering them with ice or placing a fan in front of them, you can lessen the effects of this; just be careful not to cool them down too much and risk hypothermia.

Can a dog suddenly suffer a seizure?

Dogs can experience a variety of seizures, from almost undetectable to severe, according to our Rock Hill veterinarians. In this blog, we go over the many kinds of seizures your dog could experience as well as what you should do in that situation.

Can dogs have seizures?

Our Rock Hill veterinarians frequently identify seizures in dogs, however the kind of seizure that particular dog may experience and how these various types can affect your dog can vary greatly.

It may surprise you to learn that not all seizures necessarily entail convulsions, despite the fact that there are various classifications for the types of seizures your dog may suffer. It is not uncommon for a single dog to encounter multiple types of seizures.

Seizures in dogs often occur quickly, without warning, and only last a short while (a few seconds to a couple of minutes).

Remain cool and try to remember that most dogs that are having seizures do not damage themselves and frequently do not need to go to the vet if your dog is having one. However, call your dog’s primary care veterinarian to let them know what happened if the seizure lasts less than two minutes.

It’s critical to seek immediate veterinarian care if your dog has many back-to-back seizures or a severe seizure that lasts more than three minutes. If you need immediate assistance, call your veterinarian or your neighborhood animal emergency clinic.

What is a focal seizure, or partial seizure?

Only one particular area of one half of your dog’s brain is affected by focal or partial seizures. Depending on how aware your dog was at the time of the seizure, these seizures will either be labeled as simple or complicated. A simple focal seizure frequently leaves dogs conscious, whereas a complicated focal seizure frequently impairs consciousness.

What are the signs of a focal seizure in dogs?

One or more of the following signs could be present in your dog during a simple focal seizure:

  • Standing erect, fur
  • dilated eyes
  • Barking, growling, or wailing
  • uncontrollable motions
  • Muscles in particular can contract and relax.
  • changes in vision or hearing symptoms
  • imbalance issues,
  • Hallucinations (Barking, growling or biting at nothing)

What are generalised seizures?

In generalized seizures, both sides of your dog’s brain are affected. A generalized seizure in your dog will probably cause them to lose consciousness, and they may urinate or defecate as a result.

What are the signs and symptoms of generalised seizures in dogs?

Different categories of these seizures, which are distinguished by movement on both sides of the body, include:

  • Tonic: A brief but persistent muscle spasm or stiffening
  • Clonic: Uncontrollable jerking or rhythmic muscle contractions
  • Tonic-Clonic: Immediately after a tonic phase, a clonic phase occurs.
  • Myoclonic jerks or movements are sporadic and usually affect both sides of the body.
  • A abrupt loss of muscle tone that results in a dog collapsing is known as atonic (drop attacks, non-convulsive seizures).

There are various ways in which seizures can happen. Throughout their lives, many dogs will have one unexplained “one-off” seizure, while some dogs may have multiple or protracted seizures.

  • Two or more seizures take place in a 24-hour period, with the dog regaining consciousness in between each one.
  • Status epilepticus refers to either (a) a single seizure lasting more than five minutes or (b) a series of seizures occurring quickly with no regaining of consciousness in between. The moment your dog experiences a Status Epilepticus seizure, call your veterinarian for assistance. Seizures that continue more than five minutes may be fatal.

Can a focal seizure evolve into a generalised seizure?

In dogs, a focal seizure that progresses to a generalized seizure is extremely typical. Even the most vigilant pet parents have been known to overlook the signals of a focal seizure since they are frequently so brief or mild. Try to recall exactly what your dog was doing before it started having a generalized seizure if your dog starts having one, and mention it to your vet when you speak with them. Your veterinarian can evaluate the type of seizure your dog had and determine what the likely cause may be with the help of a thorough understanding of what your dog was doing before to the generalized seizure starting.

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Canine seizures be brought on by stress?

The surroundings of your dog might have a significant impact on seizure episodes. Although your home is part of a dog’s surroundings, this section will concentrate on potential environmental stressors your dog might run into outside.

Dogs enjoy being outside. The outdoors will play a significant role in your dog’s life, whether it is through excursions to the dog park or simply lounging in the backyard. Unfortunately, there are a lot of factors outside that could possibly cause a dog to have a seizure.

Consider your own garden, lawn, and community. To get the lush, green lawn of your dreams, you and your neighbors can apply fertilizers and lawn treatments. These items might be fantastic for your yard, but they might also contain toxins that are bad for your dog and even cause them to have seizures. Other substances that are frequently used in the yard, such as herbicides and insecticides, have the potential to cause seizures in dogs.

Cedar shavings and other potential hazards in the yard could be detrimental to your dog. Dogs are also poisoned by a variety of flowers and plants, which can also result in a seizure. A list of plants that are poisonous to dogs has been supplied by the ASPCA.

What you can do: To avoid causing your own dog’s seizure with these potentially toxic items, try to only use lawn and yard products that are animal-friendly in your own house. It should be simple to locate on the label of the many yard and garden treatment solutions that are dog-friendly.

Verify that you don’t have any of the hazardous plants on the list in your yard. One probable cause of dog seizures can be removed from the environment by removing these hazardous poisons by ceasing to use risky items and removing risky plants.

You will have less influence over a few more environmental elements that can cause seizures, but you can still make an effort to avoid them. Extreme temperatures and changes in barometric pressure are considered to be potential triggers.

Toad poisoning and the venom of bee and wasps are examples of additional environmental causes. Avoiding bees and toads is simple enough to say, but it’s not feasible. Instead, just stay mindful of your surroundings and attempt to get your dog out of any potentially dangerous situations.

Which dog breeds are more likely to experience seizures?

While some canine seizure causes are hereditary or connected to sickness, others are not preventable. Common causes can be categorized into various groups:


Because they swallow something harmful, dogs frequently experience seizures that are preventable. Naturally, keeping your dog away from dangerous chemicals is the best approach to prevent this from happening.

Dogs who have head injuries may also experience convulsions, which is still another reason to try to prevent mishaps of this kind.

Illness-Related Seizures

Liver illness, kidney disease, anemia, encephalitis, strokes, brain cancer, high or low blood pressure, and electrolyte imbalances are among the medical conditions that can cause seizures in dogs.

Genetic Predisposition to Seizures

Dogs from specific breeds and family lines are more susceptible than others to experience epileptic seizures. If your dog is a Belgian Tervuren, Shetland sheepdog, beagle, Labrador retriever, golden retriever, keeshond, or vizsla, seizures are most likely to occur in that breed.

The Finnish Spitz, Bernese Mountain Dog, Irish Wolfhound, and English Springer Spaniel are further breeds that are more susceptible to seizures. Although it has been reported to occur in dogs as young as six months old and as old as five years old, the onset of genetic epilepsy often occurs between the ages of 10 months and 3 years.


While not strictly a cause, the age at which your dog has their first seizure can have a significant impact on whether or not they continue, how frequently you can anticipate them, and how they turn out.

When your dog has a seizure, what should you do?

When a dog has a seizure, clients frequently want to know what to do and what not to do. Even though they only last a few minutes, seizures can be quite frightening and frequently feel endless. Customers frequently inquire if their dog will pass away from a seizure. Find out more about the danger of dying in Can a Dog Pass Away From a Seizure?

The guidelines on what to do when your pet is suffering a seizure are generally as follows:

  • Stay calm. Despite how terrifying it may seem, remember that your dog is not hurt and is unconscious. He has no idea that he is grabbing. He is unaware that you are there and could lash out in fright, possibly biting.
  • Be careful. A pet’s tongue is not swallowed. Never put anything, including your hand, in your dog’s mouth. Many pet owners experience bites in this way.
  • eject children and pets. Keep young children and other animals (dogs and cats) away from seized animals. They are frequently frightened, and their responses are frequently erratic. During this anxious and perplexing moment, there have been incidents of attacks on both seizing dogs and people.
  • The seizure’s timing. Time the seizure by looking at your watch. While seizures may only last a few seconds, they frequently appear to last for an eternity.
  • Keep your pet safe. Pets being taken into custody may thrash and injure themselves. Keep your dog away from sharp items, water, and stairs. Typically, we advise gently tugging your dog by the back legs in the direction of the room’s center. Dogs frequently urinate or defecate. Put a towel, if you have one, under their back end.
  • Be aware of the seizure. Take note of your pet’s actions and behavior throughout the seizure. Is the front of the legs padded or all of them? Exists chomping? Foaming? Does your dog go potty or urinate?
  • Relieve your pet. While walking your dog, keep your hands out of its mouth. By speaking softly and caressing your dog, you can help it relax.
  • Prepare to leave. Make an instant call to your veterinarian or a veterinary emergency center if the seizure lasts longer than five minutes. Call your veterinarian with any inquiries. They can advise you on whether you ought to visit the doctor or whether any treatments are suggested.