Triggers of epilepsy in dogs

Written by kimberly kilmer
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Triggers of epilepsy in dogs
Sleeping dogs have been known to seize. (my sleeping king image by Windowseat from

The exact causes of canine epileptic seizures are not known. Veterinary information and documentation have noted cases where stress, excitement and reactions to vaccines, chemicals and other compounds have been thought to trigger seizures. Sleeping dogs can also seize. Triggers for sleep seizures are also unknown. However, dreams or changes in breathing patterns have been considered. It should be noted that while a dog that is sleeping can be awakened, a dog seizing during sleep cannot.


It is well known that stress can trigger illness, so it should be no surprise that stress is thought to be a trigger of seizures in some dogs. While you may not always be able to avoid stress, documenting stressful situations that make your dog seize will be helpful to potentially avoid future seizures. Some common causes of stress in dogs are visits to the vet or groomer, new environments, or any event that interrupts their typical routines.

Triggers of epilepsy in dogs
Any stressful situation may cause an epileptic dog to seize. (chien en laisse image by bacalao from


Excitement can be a trigger for seizures in some dogs. Causes of excitement can include someone at the door, rough play with children or another dog, new treats, or a ride in the car. For dogs who seize due to excitement, a quiet and consistent routine with few highs or lows may be helpful.

Triggers of epilepsy in dogs
Excitement and rough play may trigger a seizure. (sport dogs playing in snow winter image by Paul Retherford from


All animals have some level of sensitivity to odours, fumes, toxins, food ingredients, light sources, sounds and the list goes on. Since seizure triggers are not an exact science, it is best to keep your environment free of toxins, chemicals and anything that may negatively affect your dog. Noting any possible sensitivities individual to your dog will help your veterinarian better understand what may trigger your dog's seizures.

Triggers of epilepsy in dogs
Reactions to vaccines, chemicals and other compounds can trigger seizures. (syringe image by NatUlrich from

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