Dog Seizures: Common Factors & Prevention

Some dog owners are unaware that dogs can suffer from seizures just like people do… but it’s true – and it’s a terrible thing to witness.

When a dog has a seizure, they often drop to the floor and convulse as if paddling water. It’s a natural reaction for a dog owner to feel frightened and powerless when this happens. So it helps to understand what causes dog seizures and how best to handle this alarming situation.

what causes dog seizures

Risk Factors and Common Causes:


There are many preventable causes of seizures in dogs, but it is important to know that studies have shown a genetic predisposition in certain breeds. These include:

Golden and Labrador Retrievers, Bernese Mountain Dog, Shetland Sheepdog, Finnish Spitz, Keeshond, Belgian Tervuren, Vizsla, Beagle, English Springer Spaniel and Irish Wolfhound.

If the epilepsy is genetic, it normally occurs in the younger years of life – sometimes up to 5 or 6 years old. The cause of these genetic seizures remains unknown. They are diagnosed as idiopathic epilepsy because all other known causes of seizures have been eliminated.

General Health Issues

Other causes of seizures in dogs are often the result of certain ailments or diseases like liver disease, kidney issues or brain tumors. Just like humans, brain cancer, strokes, and high blood pressure can also be the culprit of these horrible episodes. If your dog suffers from any of these illnesses, be extra vigilant about keeping your baby as healthy as possible. Even something as small as low or high blood sugar can trigger an episode, so pay close attention to the diet that you’re feeding your dog. The more natural, the better.


Toxic Substances

Medications that cause Dog seizures

Another major cause of dog seizures is poison, and I don’t just mean your dog ate your cleaning supplies. There are many harmful chemicals that a dog’s body will register as poison. Many dog owners are unaware of this because they are marketed as safe or helpful products or procedures.

Vaccines, OTC Meds & Food Additives

For instance, did you know that many of the heartworm preventative medications contain toxins that can cause seizures? Flea and tick medications also contain harmful chemicals that have been linked to this issue. Food additives, like some preservatives, colorings and wheat gluten are big factors. Even vaccinations can trigger seizures in dogs because of the toxic nature of the substances or accompanying carriers that are being pushed into the body.

A Combination of Factors

Often times, these dog seizures are not caused simply from one of these toxic materials alone, but a mixture of many. A common scenario may look like this. A dog is given his monthly heartworm + flea/tick preventatives. For being a “good boy”, he is given a commercial dog biscuit. At mealtime, he is give a bowl of Big-Brand commercial dog food. All the while, the pet owner has no idea that they are adding more and more toxic contributors into their fur babies’ system.

Seeking Natural Alternatives

You may be surprised to know there are many natural and alternative treatments available to help with fleas and worms. However, your vet’s office will likely not suggest them. Just like doctor’s offices, vet practices are approached by sales reps offering the ‘best’ new food or treatment. Ever wonder why the lobby in your vet’s office only promotes certain brands or treatments? It’s part of the business – sometimes to the detriment of the patient.

So, do some of your own research on these recommended products and procedures.


Also be aware that this list of causes is by no means conclusive. We’ve encountered many dog owners that have otherwise healthy dogs, have never use anything containing harmful chemicals, refuse to over-vaccinate and still find themselves dealing with this issue. In these situations, we have found that nutrition is a key factor. Many times it only takes a better diet and natural supplements to greatly reduce or even eliminate the seizures altogether.

Handling a witnessed dog seizure event:

what causes dog seizures in labs

Seizures are bursts of uncontrollable electricity in the brain and the onset of these episodes can be very strange. Dogs may stare off into space as if they are “dazed and confused” or may even chase an imaginary object before seizing. These episodes can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes and are very unnerving. Pay attention to any uncharacteristic behavior and be prepared. It is very important that you stay calm and only try to move your dog if they are in a place that they cannot move freely and might injure himself. Do this by gently pulling your dog by his hind legs. Depending on the severity of the episode, it’s also possible for a dog to lose his bodily fluids during a seizure. Putting a cold wash cloth on his paws during this period can also help calm him and cool him off.

What to do Post-Episode

When the seizure is over, take the time to comfort him with some extra love and affection. Don’t scoop him up and rush to the vet’s office immediately. This has been a traumatic experience for him as well and an emergency car ride can wait. When your dog has calmed down, contact your vet and be prepared to describe the episode – warning signs, the length of episode etc. It’s very rare that a vet can witness a dog’s seizure firsthand so these details can be very helpful.


Many traditional medical treatments for dog seizures can cause lethargy and obesity. Depending on the cause of your dog’s seizures, these side effects may be unavoidable.

As advocates of the body’s ability to help and heal itself through a holistic approach to health, we encourage dog owners to research effective alternative treatments in addition to medical counsel. Addressing the overall health of your dog may just be the prevention or answer you’ve been searching for.

Nzymes History With Neurological Issues was launched in 1999 with one simple product and one simple concept. The product was our Antioxidant Treats for Pets. The concept was to provide pets with a tasty treat that could make a major impact on health. This unique product enables to body to produce vast quantities of metabolic enzymes. The job of these enzymes is to flush out toxins that accumulate in the cells. This simple, natural process can have a major impact on pets with neurologic conditions, as well as many other conditions.

Since those early days, thousands of dogs have been given a new lease on life via this simple, natural means. If you stumbled onto this page by searching what causes seizures in dogs, we hope that you have gained some insight by the information presented here. For a more complete look, including our program for natural support, please see our Neurologic Support Program for Dogs

Related Links:
Neurological Support Program for Dogs
Dog Seizures-Natural Answers
Vaccine Reactions in Dogs
Nzymes Dog Seizure Examples


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