You are holding your dog in your arms and playing. Suddenly, your dog's body goes stiff and he starts convulsing. He drops down from your arms on his side and his body twists and turns. The tongue rolls out from the side and the dog begins to drool. These are the typical signs of a canine seizure. The causes of dog seizures are similar to those in humans. Any change in the brain impulses and chemical balance can trigger them.
It is a very traumatizing experience for the owner to watch a pet suffer from seizures. Given below are some steps that you have to take when your dog is in the midst of a seizure episode.
Stay Calm and Collected
When your dog is having a seizure, you need to remain calm and collected. Do not panic. You need to use a very gentle voice and comfort your convulsing dog. If you get stressed and start panicking, you are adding to the anxiety of the convulsing dog. Remember, the dog is after all an animal. He does not understand what is happening and his animal instincts may aggravate his delicate situation.
Avoid Restraining the Dog
Many pet owners believe holding or restraining a dog will help overcome the spasms. However, this is not right and you may be doing more harm than good. The muscle contraction in the dog is due to spastic contraction and you cannot do much to stop it. Restraining will only hurt your dog or you may even get injured yourself.
Make Sure the Dog is in a Safe Area
When your dog undergoes a seizure, you need to be sure the area around him has nothing injurious. You should try to move away pointed objects or keep a blockage around your dog to prevent any injury to him. Also, you should see to it that when your dog shows seizure symptoms, he does not fall down if he is at a height, like if he is near the stairs.
Do Not Reach for his Mouth
Owners fear that the dog might swallow his tongue or bite his tongue off while undergoing convulsions. This is a very big mistake that owners make as the dog is under stress and does not realize what is happening. In the midst of a seizure episode, the dog may get scared and bite you as an involuntary reaction.
Keep Away Children and Other Pets
When your dog is undergoing seizures, move children and other pets away from the room or area. This is because the dog may get aggressive during a convulsion and bite other animals or children. Also, it is a very stressful situation for children as well as animals to see a dog having seizures. So, for the safety of both, the dog and the other pets and children, keep them away from each other during an episode.
Keep a Record
When your dog undergoes seizures, you should observe him carefully. Make sure you take notes after the seizure is complete. You need to note down the length of the episode, the time, what your dog was doing before it occurred, how violent the episode was, and any particular characteristic worth mentioning. This will be very helpful when you take your dog to the veterinarian for further treatment. The veterinarian will be able to identify the cause of the seizure and take appropriate action to reduce further occurrences.
You need to remain calm and administer the medication prescribed by the doctor for seizures. You should speak to your dog gently and keep telling him how much you love him and care about him. You should gently rub his back and head and give him a warm hug. The dog may get clumsy after a seizure and look disoriented. Therefore, make sure you keep him in a room with minimum options that may cause injury. Some dogs may get hungry after a seizure, so make sure a bowl full of dog food and a water dish is ready nearby. Encourage your dog to go to sleep and provide him with a peaceful and quiet environment to do so. You can call the veterinarian after a seizure and inform him about the episode. Listen to his instructions and do as advised. If the seizure lasts for more than 10 minutes, you should immediately take your dog to the veterinarian's clinic without any further delay.
Medications and Diet
You can help control these episodes by giving and seeking appropriate treatment. The veterinarian may prescribe different medications that are very successful in controlling seizures. Some of the medications include dikantin, potassium bromide, primione, valium, phenobarbital, etc. Apart from these medications, you need to follow the correct diet. The dog should be fed preservative-free dog food that contains human-grade ingredients. The diet contains dog food that is free from BHA, BHT, and Ethoxyquin preservatives as they can trigger seizures. The best diet is that which contains raw food that is free from preservatives of all kinds.
Dogs are loving animals who become a part of our lives the minute they step into our homes. It is always a heart wrenching experience to watch a beloved pet undergo convulsions. Make sure you take your dog to a qualified veterinarian and follow the treatment advice religiously. Do not take treatment lightly, this is a question of life and death for your dog. With proper care and treatment, the frequency of the seizures may reduce considerably. Seizures are more common in older dogs than in younger, healthy dogs. Do not take any health problems lightly and love your dog as much as possible.