What to Do If Your Dog Has a Seizure

Seizures can be a very scary experience, especially the first time you witness one. Fortunately, most seizures are short in duration, and dogs recover from them quickly. Here are a few key things to remember if your dog siezures.

1. Try to be calm. Make sure your dog is on the floor, away from any thing he could bump in to, or stairways he could fall down.

2. Note the time that the seizure started.

3. Use your phone to video the seizure. It may help your veterinarian get a clear picture of what happened.

4. Do not try to restrain or hold your dog. Keep away from the mouth, as jaw snapping can be part of seizures. Remember your dog is disoriented, and touching as well as bright lights and sound can be distressing.

5. As your dog comes out of the seizure, he will begin to recognize his surroundings and you. Note the time. Gently assist him as needed when he is ready to stand. Many dogs will be thirsty after a seizure, but only allow small amounts of water at a time.

6. When your dog is awake and safe to take your attention away from, write down all you remember about the episode, as well as anything different that happened that day.

Seizures lasting more than 5 minutes are considered an emergency. Multiple seizures in a 24 hour period are also considered urgent. Contact your veterinarian or an emergency center should either of these situations occur. If your dog has experienced his first seizure, but has come out of it and seems fine, you will still want to contact your veterinarian. Diagnostic testing as well as a thorough physical exam and evaluation of neurologic function is indicated in dogs having a seizure.

Recordkeeping of seizure episodes is very important, from the very first event. A simple notebook or calendar works well. The Royal Veterinary College has developed a free phone application for seizure tracking. It contains a wealth of information, as well as medication logs and reminders, a seizure log, and export functions to share the information. It is available for both Apple and Android phones.

Click here for the Apple version of the Pet Epilepsy Tracker. (Opens in new tab)

Click here for the Android version of the Pet Epilepsy Tracker. (Opens in new tab)


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