Amy Cook
Last Updated

Dogs are just as susceptible to the same brain disorders that humans are. One of these is seizures, which can have various causes, including toxicity, heat stroke, head trauma and more. There are many ways to tell if your dog has had a seizure, but there’s one way, in particular, you should be aware of.

What Are the Signs of a Seizure in Dogs?

There are a lot of different signs to watch for, so you should know them all. Some may be more obvious than others, but if you’re aware of even one symptom, it can help your veterinarian diagnose what’s going on.

  • Changes in behaviour: this can include a loss of energy, confusion, hiding in a corner or under furniture and more
  • Changes in senses: dogs might go blind temporarily, their senses may be heightened, and they might become sensitive to light and noise
  • Convulsions: this is when your dog’s muscles contract quickly into either an arch position or tonic-clonic
  • Incontinence: your dog may urinate or defecate unexpectedly
  • Temperament changes: a normally calm and relaxed dog may become aggressive, a skittish dog might seem more curious, etc.
  • Trouble walking: this is usually just temporary as your dog tries to regain its footing after the seizure
  • Loss of consciousness: this is known as a tonic-clonic seizure and usually includes involuntary convulsions and sometimes even foaming at the mouth
How Can You Tell if Your Dog's Seizures Are Mild or Serious?

If your dog experiences more than one seizure, it’s essential to tell the difference between the two. A dog with mild seizures usually recovers within a few minutes, while a serious one can go on for longer and include more visible symptoms.

Mild Seizures
  • Your dog might shake or shiver for a minute or two, but there aren’t any other obvious signs of distress.
  • Your dog might try to get away from whoever is touching it by snapping, growling or barking.
  • They are usually over quickly, usually within 30 seconds to a couple of minutes.
  • The usual signs of stress and anxiety, such as panting, pacing, hiding under furniture or even whining, are present.
Serious Seizures
  • This seizure may start off mild but quickly feature apparent signs of distress, such as involuntary body movements or even loss of consciousness.
  • During a severe seizure, it is unlikely that your dog will react well to being touched.
  • Your dog will be out for longer (usually around five minutes or more)
  • The signs of stress are either much more or much less pronounced; for instance, your dog might be very still, or it may even lose consciousness entirely. This is usually when you’ll see biting and foaming at the mouth.
What Can You Do to Help?

There are several things you can do to help your dog if you know it will have a seizure.

  • Keep people and other pets away from your dog as much as possible, especially after the seizure.
  • Avoid touching or stroking your dog unless it is exhibiting signs of anxiety or distress.
  • Try to keep your dog as calm as possible by speaking in a soothing voice and avoiding sudden movements.
  • Stay with your dog until it has recovered completely; this can take some time or even several hours, so don’t leave it unattended.
  • Help your dog get somewhere comfortable to recover, such as a bed or warm blanket.

This might not happen often, but you can be much more prepared when you know your dog is going through it. Retake a look at the article to refresh your memory. If you have any questions or concerns, talk to your veterinarian today.

What is going on inside my pet's brain during a seizure?

The exact cause of seizures is still unclear. Still, some scientists believe it has to do with abnormalities in the brain’s electrochemical activities. The cells use ions, an electrically charged atom or molecule, to transmit electrical signals when all goes well. They move them across biological membranes via specialized structures called “acellular gaps.” However, some animals are more prone to seizures because they don’t produce enough neurotransmitter chemicals that help brain cells communicate with each other.

This usually means that after a seizure, your dog may be hungry for 10 minutes. Suppose it consumes dry products or healthy cooked food right away or has trouble walking until he shakes off the effects of his seizure. Sometimes these symptoms last longer, though, so be careful when handling him afterwards. If he exhibits any of these behaviours, seek veterinary help. If your dog is on medication, be sure to give it to him as directed and carry out any other procedures required, such as bathing or cleaning his ears.

Conclusion

Dogs can experience seizures for many different reasons. The most common cause is when the brain cells don’t communicate correctly (also known as an epileptic seizure). This article details how to recognize a mild or severe dog seizure, what you can do during and after, and some important considerations if your pet has medication they need to take.

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