What Causes Seizures in Dogs?

Seizures can scare your dog

Dogs, like people, can get sick. Many ailments are human-like, such as seizures. It is an unpleasant experience that leaves you powerless in the face of your dog's suffering, not knowing what to do or how to help it not to happen again. However, in some cases this is unavoidable. Therefore, knowing this problem thoroughly will help you deal with it and support your pet.

Therefore, if you want to know what happens to your dog when he has seizures, what to do, what not, take a look at what we have prepared for you.

What are seizures

If your dog suffers seizures you should take him to the vet

We can understand the seizure as a problem at the level of the brain that occurs because there is a high electrical activity, that is, that the neurons run wild and begin to produce a state of excitement that stops, which causes that state of convulsion. Of course, it can also happen that there is an inhibition of these neurons, that is, that they do not work. And all this causes the brain sends electric shocks to the whole body, hence the attacks suffered by the dog.

As we have said before, it is not a pleasant situation that can scare you, even more so your dog. That is why it is important that, before a first attack, you go to the vet for tests to avoid more serious problems.

Causes of seizures

Seizures in dogs are not really a symptom of something. In reality it is a cause or disease, which may well be by itself, or be part of the symptoms that another disease produces. Now it is necessary know the causes why they can occur, and these are the following:


It is one of the most frequent problems and most related to seizures. In fact, many relate the epilepsy with the seizure, ignoring other causes such as those that we will see below.

Epilepsy in a dog can appear from 6 months to 5 years. One of the symptoms is seizures, but you can also have salivation, loss of consciousness, loss of toilet training (such as defecation or urination), etc.

Metabolic disease

When a dog suffers an organ problem, seizures can also appear. We speak, for example, of suffering hepatitis, hyperthermia, hypocalcemia ... This is why a blood test is so important.

Congenital malformations

There are many malformations, but the best known and most common is called hydrocephalus, which is an increase in cerebrospinal fluid in the brain that removes waste from the nervous system. It is a disease that mainly affects small breed dogs, such as the Yorshire Terrier, pomeranian, poodle, maltese ...


A very strong blow to the head can cause your dog to have seizures due to multiple consequences. Therefore, it is necessary that, if the cause of them is this blow, you go immediately to the vet, even more so that state never seems to end.


As well known as meningitis, We are talking about an inflation of the brain, almost always related to a viral infection. For example, it could be caused by distemper, toxoplasmosis, or erlichiosis, which is why dogs are vaccinated to protect them.


Tumors in the brain are one of the worst diagnoses for a dog, because a lump in that area can cause the animal to lose brain mass and, with it, have seizures, problems walking, controlling their sphincters, etc. .


When an animal eats something that it should not, the ailments mainly go to the stomach. However, there are certain chemicals that can affect the brain. We speak, for example, of pesticides, car antifreeze, cyanide ...

All that would cause problems in the animal, and seizures would appear.

Cardiovascular accidents

Another cause for seizures would be cardiovascular accidents. These take place because, at a given moment, not enough blood supply reaches the brain, which causes a failure in the brain, in addition to the cardiovascular level.

Examples of this problem would be brain bleeds or strokes. And, of course, seizures would make it fit for presence.

The phases that seizures go through in dogs

Seizures have different phases

Seizures, despite happening suddenly, have a series of phases in place, so observing your dog can get you going and helping your pet before it happens.

En general, a seizure is divided into three phases:

First phase, or pre-stroke phase

It can last for hours or days. What you will notice is that your dog begins to be nervous for no specific reason, in addition to acting strangely. You may also see that he has a lot of saliva, that he does not coordinate well, that he is confused, etc.

Second phase, or stroke phase

It is the worst part of seizures because it can last from a few seconds to several minutes. At this stage the dog will lose consciousness and will fall to the ground, to begin to convulse. It is important to control the animal so that it does not hurt itself, and also so that it does not swallow its tongue, but it is common for the animal to urinate, defecate or even vomit. Do not take it into account.

Third phase, or post-stroke phase

Once the seizure is over, it is not over. The normal thing is that the animal wakes up very thirsty, and that it is disoriented for a while, with tremors, even scared. Sometimes it can bring other consequences, such as blindness, confusion, incoordination, etc.

At that time it is convenient that you bring him the water and let him drink, without going overboard, to prevent him from vomiting. Also, try petting him because he will be nervous and scared. Do not force him to do something, he has to go little by little to recover.

How to get a diagnosis

When diagnosing a seizure dog, it is important first know the medical history of the animal. Even, if possible, also his ancestors, since they can influence him. Knowing at all times what has happened before the seizures occur will offer very valuable information for the veterinarian as it will indicate the path to follow.

In general, they are carried out neurological tests to assess the condition of the animal, as well as blood tests, cerebrospinal fluid, etc. Along with this, X-rays, MRIs, EEGs, CT scans ... can be other tests that help the professional to determine what the problem is for seizures in dogs.

Treatment for seizures in dogs

Depending on the cause of the seizures in dogs, the treatment will be one way or another. In general, when seizures are related to disease, it is normal that you are given medication to control that problem and that the seizures do not recur. Approximately 80% of dogs tend to respond very well to this and it has no consequences.

Of course, the prescribed medication must be maintained over time, and never forget to give her what she needs as if treatment is stopped drastically or suddenly, then the consequences can be more serious. In this case, setting alarms on your mobile or on calendars can help you never forget about it.

If after a year of medication there is no attack in a period of one year, the dose can be reduced little by little until the treatment is stopped. However, in some breeds of dog it is recommended to continue with it despite the time.

Now, when seizures are caused by other causes, then it is necessary to apply another type of treatment, which can be medical, surgical ...

In the event that the seizures are specific, as long as what has caused the attack is avoided, it can be controlled without the need for other treatments.

What to do (and what not) to seizures in dogs

Take care of your dog during seizures

When faced with this scenario, knowing exactly what to do can help you cope with that unsettling moment. Therefore, here we are going to leave you what you should do, and what not, if your dog suffers seizures.

What you DO need to do

Above all, keep calm. You won't be of any help to your pet if you get nervous. There will be time for that. What you have to do is take a deep breath and remove any type of object from the dog that is near the dog and with which it can be hurt.

Try to make sure he doesn't swallow his tongue or choke, but don't do much else. You just have to wait for the crisis to pass.

Once it does, try take your dog to a ventilated and cool place. And if it was the first time, take him to the vet.

What you must not do

On the other hand, there are many things that you should not do, and they are:

  • Do not grab the dog. You're not going to stop him from convulsing just by catching it. In fact, it could hurt you if you do. Therefore, it is better to leave space.

  • Avoid placing an object on it, except to give it heat. That also goes for blankets, sheets ...

  • Do not give him medication if he has not been sent by a veterinarian, it could be counterproductive.

  • In cases of seizures, don't leave him alone. As painful as it may be to see him like this, he needs to know that you are by his side.

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  1.   Beatrice Uceda said

    Good morning, adopt a 1 year 6 month old puppy according to reference, I arrived 4 days ago he has a lot of affinity with me, too much, he sleeps and eats with me almost does not take off he is a little possessive, last night he had a convulsion, his seizure It lasted approximately 6 minutes. Today I was nervous, and at night I attacked a child, my nephew who lives here with us, he feeds him, combs him, knows him, I don't know why he attacked him. Is it possible that seizures cause you some kind of confusion to the point of not recognizing the people in your family? They only prescribed 100mg phenobarbital two a week? I don't know what to do, I am very sorry for what happens to my puppy, he is a medium poodle.