Do you have a dog who has been diagnosed with epilepsy? Or do you have a dog who frequently shows signs of seizures? Would you know what to look for if your dog was having a seizure?
In the article below, we’ll walk you through some of the most common signs of seizures in dogs. With the help of this information, you can better understand when your pet may be dealing with a health crisis, and when he may need to see the vet as well. Read on to learn more.
Mild Dog Seizures
- Lack of awareness: Dogs who have mild seizures, also sometimes known as “absence seizures,” may simply lose focus or awareness for some time. They may seem to be confused about where they are and what they’re doing, and it may be difficult to get their attention for a short time.
- Standing still: Dogs who experience mild seizures may stand still and appear somewhat stiff during the seizure itself. This symptom may or may not be present with others on this list. As long as the dog remains standing, the seizure is almost always a mild one.
- Stopping mid-activity: Dogs who are in the midst of a seizure may stop mid-activity to stand still and stare into the distance. If your dog is doing this for a reason—including spotting something interesting far away—then it is likely not a seizure. However, if you cannot find any reason for this behavior, there is a chance your pet is experiencing a mild seizure instead.
Moderate Dog Seizures
- Stiffness: Stiffness is a common sign associated with moderate seizures. Dogs may become so stiff that they cannot stand up any longer when dealing with this type of seizure. If the dog is already laying down, his legs may stick out straight from his body and appear unable to move.
- Confusion: Dogs who have moderate seizures may become more confused than dogs who have only mild seizures. Before and after the seizure, the dog may not seem to recognize where he is, and he may show signs of aggression toward family members he normally gets along with well.
- Licking or growling: Licking and growling are both signs that a dog is experiencing a moderate seizure, especially if they occur for no other known reason. Dogs may have repetitive motions like these through a moderate seizure, whether they show other signs from this list or not.
- Panting: Panting is another sign that a dog is having a moderate seizure. Panting may occur before, during, or after the seizure, because the dog’s body heats up when a seizure is taking place. The panting may or may not be accompanied with drooling; however, if the drooling seems excessive, it is likely associated with seizure activity.
Severe Dog Seizures
- Paddling feet: When a dog suffers from a severe seizure, he may paddle his feet. He may lay on his side or even on his back while his feet paddle in the air, looking as though he is trying to run. This is one of the most common symptoms of seizures in dogs.
- Running in a circle: If the dog is able to stay on his feet during a seizure, he may run in a confused circle. This behavior occurs when the dog is confused about what is happening to him and unaware of his surroundings. It is also a good reason to keep your dog away from stairs if he is known to have seizures.
- Collapsing: Most of the time, a dog who is having a severe seizure will collapse immediately or very soon after the seizure begins. Dogs may collapse in the middle of an activity, or they may simply collapse while walking or sitting normally.
- Elevated body temperature: A dog who is experiencing a severe seizure may have an elevated body temperature. The dog may become warm to the touch, and you may be able to help him cool down by placing cool (but not ice cold) cloths on his paws and the back of his neck for a short time.
As you can see, there are many potential signs of seizures in dogs. It’s important to consider not only the signs of severe seizures, but also the symptoms of mild ones. By learning how to tell when a dog is having a seizure of any type, you can quickly recognize this problem in your own pet.
If your dog has known epilepsy, you don’t have to rush off to the vet every time he has a seizure. However, if he experiences a seizure for the first time, if he has a seizure after ingesting a foreign substance, or if he has a seizure that lasts longer than two minutes, take him to the emergency vet right away.