How To Handle Seizures In Dogs And Cats

Witnessing a severe seizure in your pet can be extremely frightening. If your pet hasn’t had one before, you may be confused about what is happening, or panic because you don’t know the best way to help them.

Learning how to handle a seizure is an important part of responsible pet ownership. It will help you to feel calm and prepared if your cat or dog does experience a seizure, and will ensure that the action that you take will assist your pet rather than making the situation worse.

Let’s find out more about seizures in dogs and cats and what you can do to handle them safely and effectively to get the best outcome for your pet.

What is a seizure?

A seizure is characterized as being a surge of electrical activity in the brain. This surge is normally caused by complex chemical changes, which create an imbalance between the messages to start and stop activity. During a seizure, the patient may act differently than normal and the behavior can range from mild (such as slurred sounds) to severe (losing control of large motor functions such as jerking the arms and legs). Types and severity of seizures can vary widely from patient to patient, and even for the same patient.

It is important to recognize that seizures are not a disease in themselves. Instead, they are a symptom of an underlying condition or disorder that is affecting the function of the brain. Seizures are one of the most common neurological causes of canine visits to a veterinarian.

What to do when your dog or cat has a seizure

Don’t panic

Seizures can be relatively common and are while they look frightening, they are not always immediately dangerous for your pet.

Timing

Secondly, try and monitor how long the seizure lasts. This is important information that your veterinarian may need to establish the cause or severity of the event.

Safety first

Ensure that you stay clear of your pet. Most animals (and people) who have a seizure lose control of at least some of their body. This can mean that your pet may flail around or lash out, and if you are too close you may find yourself coming into contact with their sharp claws or heavy body. Some animals have even been known to subconsciously bite while they are in the middle of a seizure. Contrary to popular belief, your dog or cat will not swallow their tongue so there is no need to go anywhere near his or her mouth.

Never hold your pet down – this could cause them to injure themselves. Keep them safe by removing any objects in the immediate vicinity that could cause your pet harm, such as tableware or sharp-edged furniture.

Get professional help

A professional veterinary check-up is crucial, particularly if this is your pet’s first seizure. This is because your veterinarian will need to try and establish the cause of the seizure to determine if your dog or cat requires medical treatment.

Dr. White will give your pet a full physical examination, followed by a work-up of their blood. This will give your professional a complete picture of your pet’s health and will be instrumental in identifying the reason for the seizure. Although in most cases the cause of the seizure is identifiable, on rare occasions it may not be possible to determine why your pet suffered a neurological surge.


If your pet has a seizure, there is no need to panic. By following the guidelines above, you can help keep your cat or dog safe and ensure you get them the support and treatment they need to live a happy and fulfilling life.

For further information about pet seizures, please do not hesitate to contact us today.