Diet Related Seizures and How to Prevent Them

May 23, 2015 at 10:42 pm

bigstock-chocolate-Labrador-Puppy-30225188By Dave Richardson, Owner of Denver Tail Waggin’ Pet Supplies

One night when our oldest dog was no more than nine months old, he started twitching around like Seinfeld’s Elaine on the dance floor and his eye was drooping. Immediately, we knew he wasn’t trying to dance, but was, in fact, having a seizure. Being new dog parents, we promptly panicked, decided this was clearly a sign we had somehow broken our dog, and rushed him to the vet. By the time we got there, a mere ten minute drive, all evidence of the seizure had stopped and Oliver seemed just fine.

Our vet told us in all likelihood we had witnessed a seizure since it was not uncommon for his breed and hypothesized that it was probably caused by food or diet. “No.” we explained “We feed him only the best brands of food, plus seizures are a genetic problems right?” Wrong, wrong, wrong we were. As it turns out, a dog’s diet can really help prevent or even cause seizures. This moment not only eventually led us to open our own pet business, Denver Tail Waggin’ Pet Supplies, but also gave us so many questions. What other breeds are subject to seizures? Are all seizures the same?  And, most importantly, what do we feed our seizure prone dog?

There are many breeds that are in danger of seizures. Most commonly, but not limited to: Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Beagles, Belgian Tervurens, Collies, and German Shepherds. Furthermore, there are several different types of seizures; grand mal, focal, psychomotor, and idiopathic. Since dog is a language yet to be translated to English, it is helpful to be aware of the signs that your animal may in fact be having a seizure. Some things to look for are unusual movements in one limb or one side of the body, strange behavior that only lasts a couple of minutes like attacking an imaginary object or even chasing his or her tail, a loss of conciseness, or convulsions.

If you notice these behaviors, move your dog away from any furniture he might accidently hit; stay away from his mouth and head; and turn on a fan if it lasts more than a couple minutes to prevent overheating. Lastly, think about switching food, because liver disease, low or high blood pressure, anemia, and electrolyte problems are all diet related issues that can lead to seizures.

Start with the obvious, evaluate the quality of protein you are feeding your dog. Protein and Amino acids are the foundation of a dog’s diet and should ensure that your dog is getting what is needed for a longer healthier life. Many commercial dog foods create their crude protein by combining the byproducts of several animal sources with grain sources such as corn, wheat, a soy. This lack of quality protein can lead to amino acid deficiencies causing health problems including nerve problems and seizures. Additionally, the proteins are heated during food production; which partially destroys the already poor quality of protein put into the food. When these over processed proteins are ingested, the stomach does not recognize it as having enough enzymes, and starts to “borrow” those enzymes from other organs to compensate. It is essential to find a food with high quality protein and to incorporate raw unprocessed foods into your dog’s diet to help prevent a seizure disorder from developing.

Next, evaluate the amount and type of grains in the food you are feeding your dog. Grains high in phytate like, corn, soy, wheat, or rice can prevent mineral absorption. Particularly, they can prevent magnesium, zinc, and calcium from being absorbed causing deficiencies that are linked to seizures. Allergies can also cause seizures, and dogs, being carnivores, are most commonly allergic to either wheat, corn, or soy. If your pet is frequently having seizures it may be good to try a raw diet to see if it helps reduce the number and frequency of the seizures.

As we found out through so much research for our own dog, there are many steps that can be taken to help prevent seizures from reoccurring, but just paying attention to these two things, protein and grains, can make a drastic difference and help your dog live a longer and healthier life.

Denver Tail Waggin’ Pet Supplies
Phone: 720-469-3600