Watching your dog have a seizure is one of the most terrifying experiences a pet owner can go through. The feelings of confusion, helplessness, and fear can be overwhelming when your best friend is shaking uncontrollably on the ground.
These feelings, while entirely understandable, can often lead dog owners to mistakenly attempt to “help” their dogs. The truth is, there are very few things you can do to help your dog while he is having a seizure. But there are things you can do to prepare for seizures, and help after your dog has a seizure.
What to do Before the Seizure
If your dog has never experienced a seizure, there is really no way to prepare for one. But if your dog has had a seizure, or is from a genetic line known for them, there are a few things you can do to “prepare.”
Be aware: Knowing that your dog is prone to seizures will help you become more keenly aware of how your dog is acting on a daily basis. Spend a little extra time with him and focus on his personality. You’ll get to know your dog better, and you’ll be able to notice the signs of a seizure before it happens!
Recognize the signs: Your dog’s personality will drastically change prior to a seizure. He may seem confused and anxious. His eyes may be bloodshot and staring into seemingly nothing. He may even lose control of his bowels.
Prepare: Keep your eyes on your dog and make sure he is in a comfortable part of the room, with no hard or sharp objects around. Make sure you move children and other animals to another room. They might become spooked and inadvertently hurt your dog.
What to Do During Your Dog’s Seizure
Once your dog’s seizure begins, there’s not much you can do. If you notice that your dog is having a seizure, give him space, and make sure that he has a clear area to let the seizure run its course. Your dog will experience involuntary muscle contractions and may start foaming at the mouth. The seizure should end within a few minutes, so just hold tight and be prepared to care for your dog afterward. And remember – stay calm! Your dog will need you.
What to Do After Your Dog Has a Seizure
Once your dog’s seizure ends, he will be a bit “out of it.” It may take him some time to realize where he is. Dogs are not aware that they have just experienced a seizure. During this time, your main job is to make your dog comfortable. Be gentle with him, and reassure him that things will be okay.
Keep a soft tone and let him know you are there. Nobody knows your pet’s personality better than you, so do what you think will make him feel comforted.
In the minutes and hours after a dog seizure, it is imperative that you monitor your dog to ensure that he does not have a repeat seizure. Numerous seizures in a short time span can lead to brain damage for dogs. If your dog does experience multiple seizures, contact an emergency vet.
More often than not, your dog will recover from the seizure and be back to his normal, happy self. Some dogs recover immediately. Generally, recovery time from a seizure is anywhere from a few minutes to a full day.
Long-Term Treatment of Seizures in Dogs
Some dogs will experience a single seizure and never have one again. But there are many dogs who are genetically prone to Idiopathic Epilepsy, either due to their breed or family line. If your dog experiences more than one seizure, he should be brought to a vet for screening and long-term treatment.
Depending on the severity of your dog’s condition, your vet may recommend pharmaceutical or natural treatments. Work with your vet to develop a long-term plan that works best for you, and your furry friend. Some pharmaceuticals may have side effects – like lethargy and increased thirst – that you will want to consider when choosing the right treatment for your dog.
But both pharmaceutical and natural remedies can help you mitigate the risk of seizure for your dog – and help him live a full, happy life with you.