Seizures are scary things to witness, whether it’s in a human or a beloved pet.
If your pet suddenly starts to have seizures, and that’s the reason you’re reading this post, then know that while there’s no need to panic, you should bring your pet in to see the vet.
However, if your pet’s seizure lasts longer than a minute, it’s time to take them into the emergency clinic as quickly as possible.
For all other seizure types, here’s a guide on what to look for and how to handle it.
What Causes Canine Seizures?
Pets can have epilepsy, just like humans, but in many cases we never learn the underlying cause of the seizures.
Sometimes seizures can be related to brain tumors, liver disease, low blood sugar levels or mineral deficiencies, and occasionally toxins.
No matter what the cause, dogs generally react well to seizure medication, which can cause the seizures to lessen or stop entirely.
Warning Signs Of A Seizure
Sometimes pet parents learn to recognize when their pup is about to have a seizure, because their behaviour changes somewhat, but very predictably.
Other signs to look for include restlessness and pacing in your dog, dizziness or vomiting, bathroom accidents, or loss of body control – such as twitching.
Be aware that after the seizure has passed, your pet may be disoriented for a while as they recover.
What To Do When Your Dog Has A Seizure
There are some simple guidelines to help you through this episode and ensure that your pet also gets the help they need.
We’ve broken it down into 3 steps, below.
1. Don’t Panic
First off, know that your pet will very likely be perfectly fine. While it’s possible for your dog to choke on their tongue, this is very rare, so you don’t need to worry about getting your hands too close to their mouth (and in fact, you shouldn’t).
Try to take note of the time it started, the length, and recall what the dog was doing immediately preceding the seizure, in order to determine the trigger.
2. Protect Your Dog
Mainly, you want to make sure that your dog doesn’t harm itself as they go through their seizure – protect them from furniture and sharp corners, and try to buffer them with blankets, pillows or towels.
Seizures can cause your dog’s body to overheat, however, so make sure not to cover them up too much with warm blankets, as you don’t want to exacerbate that side effect.
Try to remove any other animals or children from the room, and ensure that your dog is given space and is not crowded.
3. Make A Peaceful Environment
As your pet comes to, it may take them a while to recognize you and reorient themselves – so try to again keep your hands away from your dog’s mouth and head, and be gentle in handling them.
Try to dim the lights or close the curtains so the environment isn’t so bright, and turn off music or reduce noise where possible.
Instead, gently and soothingly talk to your pet, giving them a chance to hear and recognize your voice and learn that they’re safe.
Contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital
It’s a good idea to bring in your pet for a checkup if they’ve had a seizure – hopefully the cause can be determined, but if not, anticonvulsants can be prescribed to keep them safe.
However, there are a few specific times you should take immediate action:
• If your dog’s seizure has lasted longer than a minute
• If your dog has experienced cluster-seizures, which can be several within a short period of time, or even more than one a month
• If your dog’s seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes, this is called a status epilepticus, and they require immediate intravenous anticonvulsants in order to prevent brain damage or death.
If you’ve noticed some of the symptoms above, or if you’re aware of your pet’s seizures and have noticed they’re increasing in frequency, you should reach out and get veterinary support.
Call Bickford Park Animal Hospital now to be connected with one of our veterinarians on staff, and we’ll make sure your pet friend receives the very best care.
Bickford Park Animal Hospital is a veterinary clinic in Toronto, located across from Christie Pits park, committed to the highest level of caring and treatment for cats and dogs.