How To Respond To An Epileptic Fit In Dogs?

How to act before an epilepsy attack in dogs?

Epilepsy in dogs is a condition that is usually hereditary. It is more common in certain breeds, such as: German Shepherd, St. Bernard, Setter, Beagle, Poodle, some Dachshund and Basset Hound. The first epileptic attack usually occurs in dogs between the ages of six months and five years of age.

There are five fundamental guidelines to follow in the event of an epileptic fit: remain calm, lay the dog down, do not try to pull the animal’s tongue, allow it to recover and follow the treatment recommended by the veterinarian. Epilepsy in dogs does not imply the death of the animal, but it can be assumed something like a type of serious accident for the dog.


How to act in the face of an epileptic fit in our pet

  • The first thing to do is to remain calm and position the animal so that it does not bump or fall from a height. We have to take into account that in these moments the dog is not aware of anything he is doing.
  • It is important to lay the animal down on a soft surface, such as a mat, pillows, etc., so that it is comfortable and does not get hurt from seizures.
  • It is not a good idea to pull the dog’s tongue in order to make it breathe better or to make it easier for air. The risk that he will bite is real.
  • When the epileptic seizure is over, we will have to let the animal recover in a quiet place, because the most normal thing is that, after the physical effort that the seizures produce, it will be exhausted.
  • A visit to the veterinarian is mandatory. It will be he who will indicate the appropriate treatment, if necessary. Treatment usually consists of administration of Valium, a muscle relaxant that is applied rectally.
    • For subsequent epileptic attacks, dog owners must have the medications related to the treatment at hand to apply them immediately via the rectal route.


    An epileptic seizure in a dog can have varying degrees of intensity. There are some signs that will tell us that our friend is having one of these attacks. For example, if the dog is more nervous and restless than usual, it is a sign that something is happening or is going to happen.


    In general, the seizures last less than a minute or two, while for owners the situation can seem like an eternity. Once the process is finished, the dog is exhausted and also disoriented.

    Professionals recommend tranquility and calm for people who accompany their pets in these difficult times. The first thing to consider is that epilepsy does not kill, although visually it is very distressing. There are also no known direct side effects. What can happen, and what you will have to avoid, is that the animal struggles and bites its own tongue.

    So-called idiopathic epilepsy in dogs is incurable and most likely will require lifelong treatment. Nor can it be detected through analysis or radiographs and, in general, it does not require urgent treatment, unless the attacks tend to be repeated in a short time. In the latter case, this is very dangerous for the dog.

    We can be sure that the animal does not suffer during the attack, and that an animal will rarely die. In cases where epilepsy is caused by a brain tumor or ischemia (decreased arterial blood supply), the animal can be operated on. In case the attacks become very frequent, a treatment based on suitable medications is applied.

    Some useful advice for epilepsy in dogs


    • Epilepsy in dogs is a chronic disease. Once diagnosed, the most common is that the treatment for our pet has to be done for life.
    • The first time we notice symptoms in our friend that may be similar to an epileptic fit, we should go to the vet.
    • To minimize these epileptic seizures, it is necessary to follow the treatment prescribed by the veterinarian to the letter.
      • The epileptic dog must live in a calm environment, as stressful situations are often factors that lead to seizures. As far as possible, the animal’s surroundings should be calm and serene.

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