Can A Dog Die From A Seizure?


Can A Dog Die From A Seizure? There is a lot of misunderstanding about canine seizures. Here we will look at some of the most often asked questions that dog owners have on the subject. What causes canine seizures, how can they be treated, and are they fatal!

Can A Dog Die From A Seizure?

Can A Seizure Be Fatal to a Dog?

Dogs can be afflicted with seizures, just like humans. Even so, there is a lot of misunderstanding about dog seizures. Here we will look at some of the most often asked questions that dog owners have on the subject. 

What causes canine seizures, and how can they be treated? What are the signs of seizures? Can a dog die from a seizure? Can seizures cause brain damage in dogs? These are some of the most commonly asked questions, and we will answer them here. 

What Causes Seizures In Dogs?

Canine epilepsy can be caused by traumatic brain damage, exposure to toxins or disorders of the blood or organs. Epilepsy that does not seem to have any underlying cause is known as idiopathic epilepsy. 

Idiopathic epilepsy is most common among male dogs and seems to be at least partly hereditary. Certain breeds have a higher occurrence of the disorder, especially: 

  • Labrador retriever
  • Golden retriever
  • Beagle
  • Shetland sheepdog
  • Vizsla
  • Keeshond
  • Belgian Tervuren

Signs a Dog May Have A Seizure

Staring at one focal point sometimes, dogs show signs they are about to seize. These signs may include: 

  • Unusual hyperactivity 
  • Loss of coordination 
  • Twitching

An active seizure typically shows some of these signs: 

  • "Paddling" paws
  • Drooling or foaming at the mouth
  • Twitching or jerking
  • Chomping or chewing the tongue
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Involuntary evacuation of the bowels or bladder

Can Dogs Die From Seizures?

Dogs can seriously harm themselves during a seizure. Injuries are most often caused by physical hazards around them that they would normally avoid, such as street traffic, campfires, stairs and other everyday dangers. Sometimes these types of accidents can cause death, but an injury is usually the main danger posed by them.

Status epilepticus, which is identified as a seizure event that lasts longer than 30 minutes, is a serious condition that can cause death. Essentially, it is a seizure that does not end. There may be occasional brief periods of relief of the symptoms, but the brain is still seized during these lulls.

The only reliable way to stop status epilepticus is the administration of intravenous anticonvulsant drugs. If the seizure event is not stopped, it will cause death by physical injury caused by convulsions, injury to the nervous system caused by the constant seizures or injury of the structure of the brain from repeated electrical discharge.

Can Seizures Cause Brain Damage In Dogs?

Non-fatal cases of status epilepticus often cause brain damage if not treated quickly enough. This brain damage can eventually lead to death. 


Treatment of seizures in dogs is similar to human treatments. Veterinarians often prescribe anticonvulsants, such as phenobarbital, potassium bromide, and benzodiazepines, that are administered daily.

Veterinarians sometimes prescribe suppository anticonvulsants in case of status epilepticus. Administration will either end the seizure or lessen its severity until an emergency vet can give IV drugs.

Emergency: Dog Having Seizure

It is important to know what to do when a dog seizes. Action, in any case, must be immediate. Cries of "Help! Dog Having Seizure!" will almost always be met with looks of confusion. Or worse, someone who doesn't know what they are doing may try to help.

Someone who puts their hand in a dog's mouth to try it from chewing on its tongue, for example, will end up getting bitten. A dog that is having a seizure should be kept from danger. This means making sure it does not injure itself during the convulsions. Other than that, there is nothing much that can be done other than getting medical attention or administering an anticonvulsant suppository if the seizure lasts beyond 10 minutes. You can also read our guide on taking care of a dog after a seizure.