Rescue Me! Dog Dog Health: Seizures in Dogs
Rescue Me! Animal Rescue Network

Donate to Dog Rescue as a gift or memorial, and we will mail a free acknowledgement card within 24 hours.

Canine Health Treating Dog Seizures & Canine Epilepsy Naturally

by Jeff Gold Share on Facebook:
Help us help more animals:

Other Articles in Rescue Me's Canine Health Series:   Treat Cancer Naturally   Dog Incontinence
    The first time you see an animal having a seizure it can be quite frightening. The legs of a dog may flail back and forth, the whole body shakes. On hardwood floors, it may sound like a crowd of feet stomping at a wild dance party. Luckily, most seizures end within a few minutes, and have no long term implications.

    There are conventional medications that help control seizures, and at Rescue Me's Animal Rehabilitation Center we've also had great luck with natural methods as well. Read on, or simply watch the video below to learn about some of these methods.

My dog is having a seizure now, is there anything that can stop it?

    At Rescue Me's Animal Rehabilitation Center we've had great success stopping seizures using an ice pack. If a dog starts having a seizure, or you sense he is about to have one, run to your freezer and grab an ice pack (or in a pinch, a bag of frozen vegetables will work just as well). Hold the ice pack in the middle of his back, and move it back and forth slightly up and down the spinal cord. I've found if you get ice on there within the first 30 seconds of a seizure, it will usually stop almost immediately. Without the ice, the seizure may go on for several minutes. In addition, I've noticed the ice seems to prevent the dog from being in a "fog" after a seizure. A full-length seizure is hard on an animal, and they can be in a daze for hours or even a day or two after. Using an ice pack seems to prevent this. If your dog sleeps far from the freezer at night, consider keeping an ice pack in a small cooler next to your bed, to have ready in an emergency.

Why don't you start all dogs with seizures on medication?

    Some dogs have seizures only once or twice per year, or less often, without their overall health being adversely affected. If seizures are infrequent, most veterinarians will not treat them since medications used for seizures can have strong side effects.

My dog has seizures regularly, should I start on a high dose of medication?

    If the animal's life is having very frequent, dangerous seizures, starting at a high dose of phenobarbital may be advised. In most cases, however, I start my dogs on a very low dose of phenobarbital, sometimes just 25% of the starting dose some vets recommend. Consult with your veterinarian to decide on the best option for your dog. Phenobarbital can have a lot of negative side effects such as making a dog unusually sleepy, dizzy, uncoordinated, or even agitated and slightly aggressive. The higher the dose the worse these side effects are. At the full recommended dose of phenobarbital, I've seen some dogs turn into "zombies" with little awareness of their surroundings. While this may stop all seizures, this is not a good life for a dog. That's why I recommend starting with a low dose, and working up if necessary. In addition, phenobarbital can damage the liver, and the lower the dose, the less likely it is to be toxic. In time, a dog can develop a tolerance to phenobarbital and the dose may need to be gradually increased. Starting low leaves more room for increasing the dose later.

What is Milk Thistle and why is it so important?

    I give any dog taking phenobarbital a natural supplement called Milk Thistle. Many studies have shown this helps protect the liver. Even with dogs that are not on phenobarbital, if a blood test shows possible liver trouble, I immediately start them on this important natural medicine. I give a 60 lb. dog 100 mg. Milk Thistle twice per day, adjust accordingly based upon the weight of your dog. (Order from using link at the bottom of this page.)

What other natural supplements are helpful for a dog with seizures? How about Melatonin?

    Some dogs have most of their seizures during the night. I've found giving a dog Melatonin just before bedtime reduces, and in some cases eliminates, seizures. Before starting phenobarbital, you might even try just giving a dog Melatonin first. I've had cases where this was all a dog needed. For a 60 lb. dog I typically start them on 1 to 3 mg. per night, and I've given doses as high as 10 mg. of Melatonin in time release form. Lower or increase the dose based upon your dog's weight, and any recommendations from your veterinarian. (Order from using link at the bottom of this page.)

Does anything help with cluster seizures? And, what is status epilepticus?

    Some dogs will have five, six or more seizures within a 24 to 48-hour period. These are considered cluster seizures. Some veterinarians have found that Valium (diazepam) given as a suppository during or immediately after the first seizure in a possible cluster may stop the cluster from happening. If your dog has a history of frequent, dangerous seizures, ask your veterinarian for a prescription for diazepam suppositories. They are not commercially available and must be custom-made at a compounding pharmacy in your area. It is also good to have a few of these on hand in case a seizure-prone dog ever goes into status epilepticus, a state where the seizure does not stop after a few minutes, and just continues. This is a life-threatening condition, and a diazepam suppository given during this state may stop the extended seizure.

DISCLAIMER: We cannot guarantee any of the diets or veterinary practices suggested on this page will help your dog. We recommend you show this information to a holistic veterinarian in your area. You and your veterinarian must then determine what you think will best help your animal. Just because many of Rescue Me's own dogs have done well on these diets does not mean the diets were responsible for their good health. Many years of additional research, and trial and error, will be necessary to determine the best diets to prevent and treat cancer.
Order products seen on this page from by clicking items below:

A percentage of sales made using these links goes to the Rescue Me! Animal Rehabilitation fund.

Copyright © 1999-2014 World Organization. All rights reserved. Rescue Me!, RescueMe.Org & are service marks of WO. View Photo Credits