Dogs with epilepsy generally respond well to natural remedies, such as dietary supplements, herbal remedies, and flower essences.
To control seizures, anticonvulsant drugs (such as phenobarbital) are often prescribed. However, they are not without side effects. In particular, long-term use of phenobarbital is known to cause liver damage in dogs.
If your dog is being treated for seizures, and you want to use some natural canine seizure remedies to complement the treatment, this page is for you!
Please note, however, that natural remedies cannot be used to replace conventional medications, especially without consultation with a holistic vet. Natural canine seizure remedies, if used appropriately, can complement conventional drugs, so that the dog patient can have a reduced dosage of the drugs.
There are a lot of anecdotal reports from holistic vets and dog parents that feeding epileptic dogs a natural, high-quality, protein-based, grain-free, home-cooked diet can make a difference.
In particular, dogs suffering from idiopathic epilepsy (seizures with no known cause) may benefit from a diet that is gluten-, dairy-, soy-, and corn-free. (See this page for more information.)
If you are unable to feed your dog a homemade diet, pay attention and read the dog food and dog treat labels carefully to make sure that food items that may be problematic to epileptic dogs are not in the foods or treats. For example, many dog foods now use natural preservatives such as rosemary and sage extracts - these are known to be able to trigger seizures in some dogs.
You may also want to feed your dog smaller meals 3-4 times a day to keep his blood sugar stable, since low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) is one cause of canine seizures, especially in small breed dogs.
In addition to a natural diet, daily doses of vitamins and supplements that are beneficial to the nervous system are good canine seizure remedies that should be fed to an epileptic dog.
Dogs prone to seizures are usually emotionally sensitive. Tension, stress, sudden stimulation or over-excitement can trigger an episode of seizure in these dogs. Herbs that have calming effects can be used to help dogs prone to seizures.
Here are some useful herbs to help dogs suffering from seizures:
Other herbs that have a calming effect and are beneficial to the nervous system include St.-John's Wort, Oat, and Chamomile.
This natural herbal formula contains useful ingredients (such as valerian, St.-John's wort, and chamomile) that are effective for treating canine seizures and epilepsy.
Flower essences work very well on dogs and cats at an emotional level as these remedies were developed to deal with emotional disturbances. They help balance the emotional attitudes of your pet, and can in turn heal the body for physical problems such as seizures.
This flower essence blend is specifically indicated for dogs with seizures.
This remedy can dramatically calm an anxious, scared, or excited dog. Immediately before or during an epileptic episode, try rubbing a few drops of Bach's Rescue Remedy on the dog's ears. This will sometimes moderate the seizure and calm the dog.
In addition to the canine seizure remedies mentioned in previous sections, here are some more complementary treatments that you may want to look into if your dog suffers from seizures:
On the other hand, acupressure can be given to dogs by their owners during an epileptic attack, which can help stop the fit. The acupressure point is immediately below the nostrils - where the nose meets the upper lip (if you have an acupressure chart, the point is GV26). Use your thumb to press and hold that point for about one minute during a seizure.
You can also give your dog acupressure treatments on a regular basis in order to lessen the frequency and severity of future fits. See this article for more information.
Melatonin can be purchased from many health food stores or online. Recommended dosage is 3 mg for a 35-100 lb dog.
Simply put, this OC technique is just to apply pressure on one or both eyes, while the dog is having a seizure, or just before the fit comes on. This pressure stimulates one of the cranial nerves (Vagus Nerve). This causes GABA to be released into the brain. GABA is a "chemical messenger" (an inhibitory neurotransmitter) that decreases brain activities that have gone out of control. Some dog parents who have used this OC technique have seen shorter seizure attacks and fewer post-seizure adverse effects (e.g. confusion, disorientation).
A word of warning: Since pressure has to be put on the dog's eyes, this technique should NOT be used on dogs with eye problems (e.g. glaucoma).
To learn more about OC and exactly how to use this technique, see this page.