3 Natural Treatments for Dog Seizures and Epilepsy

Let’s face it … epilepsy and seizures are becoming an unwanted epidemic in dogs.

And here’s a scary thought …

… part of your dog’s routine health care could be causing his seizures.

Seizures are uncontrolled bursts of electrical activity in your dog’s brain. They can last from a few seconds to several minutes.

If your dog suffers from seizures, your conventional veterinarian will probably give him drugs such as phenobarbital and potassium bromide. While these medications may help control the seizures, they can be extremely harmful to your dog’s liver and other organs.

And the drugs aren’t all that effective and don’t work in all cases.

The good news is, there are natural remedies you can try, either with your dog’s meds or in place of them. But before you get to that part, you should understand the causes of seizure disorders.

What Causes Dog Seizures?

There are several different things that can cause dog seizures:

  • Genetics
  • Vaccines
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Low or high blood sugar
  • A head injury
  • Brain cancer

Even though seizures may appear violent, your dog isn’t actually experiencing any pain. However, the periods before, during and after can cause confusion, fear or anxiety.

Also, in some cases, more frequent, severe seizures can lead to brain damage.

It’s important to be prepared in case your dog has a seizure by knowing how to handle the situation.

What To Do If Your Dog Has A Seizure

  1. Try to remain calm. Getting anxious or stressed out won’t help your dog. Make sure you clear the area around him so that he doesn’t hurt himself.
  2. Avoid touching his head and don’t put your hand in his mouth. Unlike humans, dogs can’t choke on their tongues, so there’s no reason to put your hand (or anything else) near his mouth. This is the safest way to avoid a bite!
  3. Track how long the seizure lasts. A seizure can cause your dog to overheat, so if it continues for more than 2 minutes, turn on the ceiling fan or place a portable fan near him to cool him down. Soak a cloth in cold water and hold it to his paws.
  4. Talk softly to him to help reassure him and make him feel safe.

3 Natural Treatments for Dog Seizures and Epilepsy

Managing Dog Seizures Naturally

If your dog suffers from seizures, your vet might recommend some kind of life-long drug that, while working to help control the seizures, can cause a laundry list of other health problems at the same time!

Here are some of the most common drugs prescribed for dog seizures and the negative health effects they can have on your dog:

  • Phenobarbital
    • Short term effects: fatigue, lethargy, nervousness, a lack of coordination
    • Long term effects: anemia and liver damage, including scarring of the liver and eventual liver failure.
  • Primidone
    • Short term effects: weight loss, lethargy, loss of coordination
    • Long term effects: hepatic necrosis, fibrosis, cirrhosis of the liver
  • Potassium bromide
    • Short term effects: irritability, vomiting, ataxia (loss of coordination and weakness in the hind end of the body)
    • Long term effects: bromide toxicity
  • Zonisamide
    • Short term effects: loss of coordination, depressed appetite, diarrhea, vomiting
    • Long term effects: hyperthermia, skin reactions, blood disorders

Not only do these drugs have short and long term health effects, they also contribute to the build-up of toxins in your dog’s body, causing further seizures.

You want to avoid these drugs if you can … and fortunately, there are proven natural remedies that can do a great job of reducing the amount of severity of seizures in dogs … without the unwanted side effects and damage to the rest of his body.

There are a lot of natural remedies available, but here are the top 3 treatment approaches that seem to have the best results …

1. CBD Oil

Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is a compound found in the cannabis plant. Most CBD oils come from hemp, not marijuana, and contain very little, if any, THC. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the compound in marijuana that makes it psychoactive (mind altering). So your dog will get all the health benefits of CBD oil but won’t get “high” from it.

CBD oil has been repeatedly tested for seizures in both humans and dogs and has been shown to work well for drug-resistant epilepsy.

Dog SeizuresIn one study, 7 of 8 patients with epilepsy that was resistant to drugs saw a definite improvement within 4 to 5 months of taking CBD oil. In another epilepsy study, 84% of children being treated with CBD oil had a reduction in the number of seizures they experienced.

CBD oil can also protect the nervous system and the brain in other cases as well.

It’s been shown to help patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease by protecting the brain cells from toxicity. For older dogs, CBD oil has been shown to protect the brain from cell death caused by free radicals and toxins.

It’s important to choose the right CBD oil for your dog. For the best results, you want a high quality CBD oil that works, so make sure the product:

  • Is organic, otherwise it could contain pesticides, fungicides or solvents
  • Is free of additives
  • Comes from a manufacturer that provides a certificate of analysis
  • Has little or no THC in it

Also, buy CBD as a tincture so that you can adjust your dog’s dose drop by drop.

To give CBD oil to your dog, buy a product made for pets and follow the dosing instructions. For this brand here are the dosing recommendations.

  • Small dogs up to 20lbs: Add ½ ounce 1-2 times daily to food
  • Large dogs up to 60lbs: Add 1 ounce 1-2 daily to food

Dog Seizures

Dogs don’t build up a tolerance to CBD oil so you can give it long-term without upping the dose or worrying about long term side effects.

[Related: CBD oil is useful for many different health issues. Find out more about them here]

2. Homeopathy

Homeopathy is the most popular and fastest growing alternative form of medicine in the world.

And with good reason …

Not only is homeopathy safe and effective, it has a great track record with many health issues … including seizure disorders.

Here’s just one example: researchers Varshney et al did a study of the homeopathic remedy Belladonna, publishing their findings in Homeopathy. In the study, ten dogs with epilepsy were given 3 to 4 drops of the remedy during a seizure, 15 minutes apart, until the researchers saw a considerable reduction in seizure activity. After that it was given four times a day. Over the next two to three weeks, the researchers found that the continued use of Belladonna greatly reduced the number of seizures the dogs had, and long term no fits were observed during the 2 to 7 months follow-up.

Here are some of the best homeopathic remedies for epilepsy from holistic and homeopathic veterinarian Dr Todd Cooney:

  • Belladonna Try this first. It’s a good remedy for general seizures when the cause is unknown. Give one dose, and wait one month, unless another seizure occurs. Repeat during a seizure if it occurs again.
  • If seizures continue, try Silicea Silicea is the best remedy to try for seizures that began after vaccination. Give one dose.
  • Lachesis 30C and Lyssin These remedies are good if the seizure comes after a rabies vaccination. Try Lachesis first, one dose, then give Lyssin one month later if there’s no change.
  • Ignatia This remedy is also good if the seizures occur after vaccination (usually about a month later), or if it happens after a stressful event. Try one dose of 30C potency and wait at least one week to observe the response.
  • Aconitum This remedy is good for seizures that won’t stop or seem to be longer than normal. Repeat the dose every 5 minutes or so for 3 doses.

When you buy these remedies, they come in tiny pellet form, usually in 30C potency. It’s okay to give just the pellets for the first dose, but after that it is best to give it dissolved in water.

To give a homeopathic remedy:

  • Take 3 or 4 pellets and put them in a glass dropper bottle of filtered water (try not to touch them when you do this or it can alter the remedy).
  • Hit the bottom of the dropper bottle against the palm of your hand 20 times.
  • Use the dropper to place some of the liquid on your dog’s gums.

Note: if your dog’s in the middle of a seizure, it can be hard to use the dropper or get close to his mouth. In this case, use a larger water bottle to dissolve the pellets. Hit the bottle on your hand in the same way (or give it a good shake), then pour it over your dog’s mouth so that enough touches the inside to be absorbed and take effect. You can also use a syringe and squirt the water directly at the mouth.

The size of the dose is not important. As long as some of the remedy makes its way onto the gums, you’re covered.

I mentioned earlier not to get too close to your dog’s mouth when he’s having a seizure, so be very careful when giving a remedy.

For the best results with homeopathy, I recommend working with a homeopathic vet. The Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy is a really good place to find one with the experience you need. It’s a good idea to use their search filter (75-100% homeopathy cases) so you find a more experienced homeopath.  Most will do distance consults by phone so they don’t have to be local.

[Related: Studies show homeopathy is a great natural treatment for seizures. Find out more here]

3. No More Vaccines

Vaccine ingredients such as aluminum, mercury and Thimerosal have been shown in several studies to cause inflammation of the brain. This inflammation is why vaccines are often the cause of seizures.

If your dog already suffers from seizures, vaccines are very likely going to make things worse. In fact, every vaccine label and insert tells veterinarians to only give vaccines to healthy dogs … and dogs with epilepsy or seizure disorders are not healthy dogs!

[Related: Is your dog getting too many vaccines? Download our free guide and find out]

There are other reasons to skip vaccinations as well:

  • Vaccines contain other harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde (formaldehyde is one of the most carcinogenic (cancer-causing) chemicals known and this gets injected right into your dog);
  • Vaccines contain foreign animal proteins such as bovine serum or chicken embryos, which can cause allergies and chronic inflammation in your dog;
  • They compromise your dog’s immune system and can suppress it, cause hypersensitivity disorders such as allergies and food sensitivities, or confuse the immune system (in which case it can’t tell the difference between your dog’s cells and foreign invaders and subsequently the immune system attacks your dog’s body – this is called autoimmunity).
NOTE: It’s best to forego the vaccines altogether … especially since most vaccines protect your dog for life and don’t need to be repeated. 

That means that any dog vaccinated at or after 16 weeks is protected for life for all the core vaccines.

[Related: How often are vaccines necessary? Check this out – the answer may surprise you!]

Titer Tests

If you want to know if your dog is protected but you don’t want to vaccinate, you can have titer tests done. A titer test is a simple blood test that shows whether your dog is protected or if he needs another vaccine. These tests look at immunoglobulin antibodies to assess protective immunity for the specific viruses.

Some vets offer these tests in-house and results only take around 15 to 20 minutes.

Here are the two most economical in-clinic tests (you’ll have to call your vet to find out if they have one of these in-house tests):

  • TiterCHEK offers testing for canine distemper and canine parvovirus with results shown as positive or negative.
  • VacciCheck offers testing for canine adenovirus, canine distemper, canine parvovirus, with results shown as negative, low positive, significant positive or high positive.

If your vet doesn’t offer these, you can ask your vet to draw blood for a titer and send it yourself to Hemopet. Hemopet can send the result to you and your vet (if you choose). These results will obviously take a little longer, but if your vet doesn’t offer titers they’re an important alternative.

[Related: There are several other dangers of vaccines. Find out what they are here]

Worth Mentioning: Creating A Neuro-Friendly Environment

The above 3 treatments are very valuable when it comes to reducing dog seizures, but it’s worth mentioning that you can also help by cleaning up your dog’s environment.

Remove all potential neurotoxins from your dog’s environment. Neurotoxins are compounds that are toxic to the central or peripheral nervous system and they’re in many common household products and pet medications.

To get rid of them:

  • Don’t use pesticides or herbicides on your lawn or in the house
  • Avoid chemical cleaning products
  • Don’t use chemical flea, tick or heartworm preventatives
  • Avoid unnecessary vaccinations
[Related: No one wants their dog to get fleas. Find out how to control them naturally]

This should really be done for every dog, but it’s particularly important for reducing dog seizures and epilepsy.

Dog seizures can be stressful, especially for you. While seizures aren’t painful, and most result in few to no side effects, there are certain factors that may lead to your dog suffering permanent effects, including brain damage, such as the type of seizure, length of seizure and frequency. Instead of putting your dog on medications like Phenobarbital or Primidone that cause countless adverse health effects, these 3 natural treatment and prevention methods will help you give your dog the relief he needs to be safe and healthy!