In the event that your dog has a seizure, make sure to keep him away from walls or areas where he may hurt himself. You may need to hold him or help to move things out of the way. You can use pillows as a buffer. Unlike with humans, you do not need to help clear your dog’s airway by moving his tongue out of the way. He can breathe well on his side and putting your hand in his mouth may result in you getting bitten accidentally.
Most seizures only last from one to five minutes, but any seizure lasting longer than five minutes requires medical attention. Also, if your dog has seizures that are close together aka cluster seizures, you should bring him to your vet right away.
Dogs who have more than one seizure a month or experience cluster seizures will require anti-seizure medications. Phenobarbital is one of the most common anti-seizure medications that requires semi-annual lab work to make sure your dog’s liver is functioning well. Phenobarbital is affordable and works quickly. It is typically administered twice a day.
Other anti-seizure medications include potassium bromide, zonisamide, and levetiracetam. There are certain cases where your dog may not respond to one medication and may need to switch to another, or he may need a combination of anti-seizure medications in order to get his seizures under control. It can be very frustrating if you have a dog who needs two or even three of these medications!
Anxious dogs are more likely to have seizures, and certain medications may lower seizure thresholds, i.e. make it easier for seizures to occur. Your vet can help you with this, and she can also make recommendations for products that can keep your dog calm. There are prescription diets and supplements that are proven to help lower your dog’s risk for seizures.
Cannabidiol or CBD is currently being studied for its anti-seizure effects. Current scientific literature suggests that it may be effective but the differences between the experimental and control groups was too similar. More studies are necessary to help determine if higher doses would be more effective and to ensure that there are no negative interactions with concurrent use of anti-seizure medications,2.
There are numerous causes for seizures in dogs, and when an exact cause cannot be determined, the dog is considered to have idiopathic epilepsy. Dogs with more than one seizure a month or dogs who experience cluster seizures typically require anti-seizure medications.