Epilepsy is a condition in dogs that vets frequently treat. Epilepsy is caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Research suggests that certain dog foods may cause canine epilepsy or seizures in dogs. Here’s what pet owners need to know about canine epilepsy and diet.
What Causes Canine Epilepsy and Seizures?
Different factors can cause seizures and include:
- Idiopathic: No underlying medical cause but the neurons overfire
- Inside the brain: Damage to the brain, infections, tumors
- Outside the brain: Low blood sugar, poison ingestion, medications, vaccinations
The focus here is on Idiopathic Epilepsy commonly treated with drugs including Valium (Diazepam), Phenobarbitol, or Potassium Bromide. These drugs aren’t effective and may cause emotional and mood changes in dogs. The problem with anti-seizure drugs for dogs is if the dosage is too high they can be toxic. A dosage that’s too low isn’t effective. You should never stop giving an anti-seizure medication to your pup without talking to your vet.
Environmental Factors That Trigger Canine Seizures
Things that may trigger dog seizures may include food, household products, medications, and stress. Natural cleaning products should be used. A pet owner should avoid using pesticides and chemicals around their yard. Avoid smoking or using scented candles and products with artificial scents. Make sure you don’t have flowers or plants that are toxic to pets. Avoid loud music and flashing lights. Pharmaceutical heartworm and flea and tick medications could paralyze a dog’s nervous system.
Choosing A Healthy Diet For Dog Seizures
Healthy foods and good nutrition play a significant role in treating canine seizures . A natural, raw diet or a diet rich in organic, free-range ingredients can help your pup. Your top option is going for the best fresh dog food. Healthy nutrition includes:
- Edible bones
- Healthy, oils, herbs, and seeds
- Raw organ and muscle meat
- Fresh, seasonal green vegetables
- Small amounts of apple (without core or seeds) and berries
One of the most harmful ingredients in a dog’s diet that can cause epileptic seizures is glutamate. The amino acid is necessary for brain development but high levels can cause health problems.
Foods That Can Cause Seizures In Dogs
- Cow milk dairy products
- Foods containing chemicals
- Oily fish, rabbit, turkey
- Organs and meats from grain-fed animals
Best Dog Foods For Canine Seizures
Legumes like black beans, lentils, soy, and pinto beans all contain high amounts of glutamate. Soy is a filler that’s an ingredient in many dog treats and commercial dog food brands.
Cows milk products contain approximately 20 percent glutamate. Many treats and dog chews containing cheese have high glutamate levels. Probiotics for dogs also help and as an alternative source, some pet parents give their dogs kefir or yogurt.
Chemicals in foods including artificial colors, flavor enhancers, and preservatives are in commercial pet foods and treat, especially dry dog food. Some foods that are “natural” have artificial minerals and vitamins. Just like how careful we should be about human foods, it’s a good idea to check the ingredients list of Fido’s meals. To make sure your dog gets the nutrients for his special needs, the best dog food delivery service brands out there can help you customize his diet.
Gelatin is rich in glycine, an amino acid that protects the brain. Small amounts of gelatin may be sprinkled over your pup’s food using the following dosages:
- 1 and 1/2 tsp. for 10 – 20 lbs.
- 3 tbsp. for 25 – 50 lbs.
- 6 tbsps. for 60 – 75 lbs. or larger dogs
Grains including barley, oats, and wheat contain the highest levels of glutamate. Rice and corn have lower levels, but they should only be fed occasionally. Grains are one of the most common ingredients in commercial pet foods and are often listed as cereal.
Turkey, rabbit, and oily fish all contain high levels of amino acid glutamate. The meat with the lowest glutamate content is lamb and is best for epileptic pups.
Organ meats from grain-fed animals aren’t a good option for your dog. It’s better to always choose meats from grass-fed animals.
Peanuts are very high in glutamate. Some pet parents use peanut butter in kongs or as an occasional treat. Peanut butter containing sugar substitutes, especially xylitol, is dangerous and potentially life-threatening to dogs. You should always check the label. Peanuts should never be given to dogs.
Best Foods For Dogs With Seizures
The best foods for dogs that have seizures are fresh and natural foods that contain these ingredients:
CBD Oil can reduce the severity and number of seizures a dog has. CBD aids with brain tissue recovery and can prevent brain damage. You should always choose the best CBD Oil for dogs that are made from organic industrial hemp. The CBD should contain a maximum of 0.3 percent THC, be free from any solvents, and be extracted at low temperatures. The best canine CBD provides a certificate of lab analysis and quality. You should follow the feeding instructions and gradually add CBD to your dog’s food.
DHA or docosahexaenoic acid is essential for brain development and is an anti-inflammatory. Certain types of algae and eggs are excellent sources of DHA.
Herbs like milk thistle are excellent to protect the liver if your pup is taking anti-seizure medications. Valerian, chamomile, and skullcap are beneficial for reducing stress and anxiety that are often associated with seizures. Herbs can be sprinkled over your pup’s food. Start with a small pinch per 20 pounds of your dog’s body weight.
Vitamin B complex is found in nutritional yeast, eggs, and green, leafy vegetables. Studies indicate that folic acid, biotin, B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12 may help to decrease a dog’s seizures.
Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant and helps to boost the immune system. Vitamin C may aid in decreasing brain damage from seizures. Good sources of Vitamin C are rosehips, fresh berries, cauliflower, green peppers, and kale.
Vitamin E is a natural antioxidant that protects neurons from stress and absorbs free radicals in the brain. Sources of Vitamin E that are beneficial for dogs with epilepsy are certain types of seeds and fresh, dark, green leafy vegetables.
1. What foods trigger seizures in dogs?
Foods that contain high amounts of glutamate most commonly cause seizures in dogs.
2. What foods to avoid for dogs with seizures?
Beans, cow’s milk dairy products, grains, organ meats from grain-fed animals, oily fish, turkey, and rabbit, and foods that contain chemicals should be avoided.
3. Can certain foods cause epilepsy in dogs?
Barley, oats, wheat, and any grain containing glutamate can cause seizures in dogs. Commercial dog foods often list grains as cereal.
4. Does Purina dog food cause seizures?
Several varieties of Beneful dog food under the Nestle Purina label have caused serious medical problems including seizures, internal bleeding, liver or kidney failure, diarrhea, vomiting, and bloat.