Seizures Management Tips

By Dr. Jean Dodds

  1. Avoid rosemary and oregano. Both are considered as neurotoxins and commonly found in dog foods and treats as a natural preservative. Fennel and sage should also be avoided.
  2. Seizing raises the body temperature and high body temperatures can lead to brain damage, so please be sure to keep your companion dog cool during a seizure. You can sponge the dog with a washcloth dipped in lukewarm water, soaking the fur, especially on the tummy, throat and head. If the air temperature is particularly hot, you might want to lightly fan the dog to aid cooling. This will cause the body to cool. You can also place a cold pack on the center of their back. But, never, ever throw cold water on a dog or submerge a dog in water – doing so can cause a dog or person to go
    into shock and make a bad situation worse.
  3. Please note that as soon as your pup can safely swallow, a SMALL amount of preservative-free, all natural vanilla ice cream helps to raise the blood sugar level, and the cold can possibly stop or slow the pacing of the seizure. The reason for using ice cream is that the fat holds the sugar in suspension so that the sugar doesn't hit the system all at once and cause a rebound reaction. The recommendation for ice cream is "Less is More," so for little pups, 1 teaspoon of ice cream is recommended, medium pups can have 2 teaspoons, big pups get 1 tablespoon, and for very large pups, 2 tablespoons is adequate.
  4. If you do not have ice cream on hand, there is a good substitute. Please mix well: 1 tablespoon of honey with 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter (1/2 and 1/2) and put it into a small container that you can also carry wherever you go. For small dogs under 15 or 20 pounds, make sure you don't give them more than 1 teaspoon of the mixture after a seizure, and for large dogs, not more than 2 tablespoons. You can always give another 1 teaspoon in 20 minutes if you think it is helping, but use caution in giving more.
  5. Seizures are exhausting and your dog needs to replace lost energy. After your pup can safely swallow, feed him/her a meal being careful to only give a few pieces of kibble or small amounts of home cooking at a time. Please give your pup foods that are higher in carbohydrates. The reason for giving only very small amounts in one bite is that after a seizure, pups are starving and can inhale their food. This can cause aspiration pneumonia, which needs immediate emergency room attention. If your pup is coughing constantly and you suspect aspiration pneumonia, you need to get him/her medical attention immediately as aspiration pneumonia can be life-threatening.
  6. Some people add Rescue Remedy (RR) to the ice cream, or give it alone. Many people have discovered that this flower essence has helped to calm their dogs in situations of panic and hyperactivity, or just before or after a seizure. On a seizing dog, a few drops of Rescue Remedy can be rubbed onto the ear flap and top of the head and also a few drops onto the gums, not into the mouth. When the seizure is over and the dog has recovered enough to stand up a little, ice cream can be offered with RR on it. When the pup is recuperated enough to eat something solid, many people follow up with some food, as noted above, to keep the blood sugar stable.