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Seizures in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms, & What to Do

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What Should I Do if My Dog Has a Seizure?

First, try to stay calm. If your dog is near something that could hurt him, like a piece of furniture or the stairs, gently slide him away.

Stay away from your dog’s mouth and head; he could bite you. Don’t put anything in his mouth. Dogs cannot choke on their tongues. If you can, time it.

If the seizure lasts for more than a couple of minutes, your dog is at risk of overheating. Turn a fan on your dog and put cold water on his paws to cool him down.

Talk to your dog softly and gently touch him to assure him. Call your vet when the seizure ends.

If your dog has a seizure that lasts more than 5 minutes or if he has several in a row while he's unconscious, take him to a vet as soon as possible. The longer a seizure goes on, the higher a dog’s body temperature can rise, and he may have problems breathing. This can raise his risk of brain damage. Your vet may give your dog IV Valium to stop the seizure.

What Should I Expect When I Take My Dog to the Vet?

Your vet will want to do a thorough physical exam and get some lab work to look for the causes of your dog’s seizures.

Your vet may prescribe medicines to control seizures, like phenobarbital or potassium bromide. You can give your dog phenobarbital twice a day, but over time it can damage his liver. Dogs that take phenobarbital need blood tests about every 6 months.

Potassium bromide doesn’t work its way through the liver, making it a better choice for young dogs that need medicine for life.

Always follow your vet’s instructions when you give your dog medicine. Don’t let him miss a dose.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on August 29, 2014
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