Diet for Epileptic Dogs

Epileptic dogs may require a different diet, which could help the pet and reduce the number of seizures. Epilepsy is an idiopathic condition and there is no known cure for it, but may be managed with medication treatment and possibly a change in diet. The condition manifests through seizures, which may be triggered by various factors, including food ingredients. Avoiding certain foods may also help your epileptic pet.

Diet for Epileptic Dogs

Epilepsy is considered an idiopathic condition. However, seizures have been associated with a nutritional deficiency, so improving the dog’s diet can make a difference in his condition. You can improve the dog’s diet by making a few changes such as:

  • Upgrading to a diet that contains premium ingredients obtained from superior sources of proteins.
  • Finding dog food that is not manufactured using artificial preservatives such as BHA (Butylated hydroxyanisole or E 320) and BHT (Butylated hydroxytoluene or E321) or other colorants and artificial flavors
  • Include essential fatty acids, which are important for neurological function

You may cook the dog’s diet adhering to recipes that are previously approved by your vet and including all the needed vitamins, minerals and nutritional supplements.

You may also choose a raw diet for your pet, including meats from trustworthy sources, vegetables, vitamins and mineral supplements. Raw meat is a quality, unaltered protein source. A lack of sufficient proteins and amino acids can cause a nutritional imbalance. Make sure that the diet you choose for your pet adheres to the principles of BARF (biologically approved raw food).

When you change your dog’s diet, you will have to take 1 to 2 weeks to make the transition. If the change is sudden, this may trigger seizures and digestive problems. Start by feeding the dog 25% of the ingredients from the new diet and 75% of the old one. Steadily increase the amount of ingredients from the new diet.

Ingredients to Avoid

In addition to the artificial colorings and preservatives such as BHA and BHT, you may also avoid a number of ingredients that are believed to facilitate the occurrence of seizures:

  • Gluten, which may be found in grains, rye, barley and oats, which are known to arouse the opiate receptors in the brain, so seizures are more likely to occur
  • Complex carbohydrates, which could cause hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia may trigger a seizure
  • Soy products
  • Casein
  • Corn
  • Dairy products

Additional Treatment Options for Dog Epilepsy

Anti epilepsy drugs will only be recommended in dogs that have frequent seizures (i.e. more than once per month). Your dog may get Phenobarbital and Dilantin and these will control the pet’s condition and reduce the frequency of seizures. If your dog experiences a longer period of time (i.e. 3 months or more) without any seizures, the vet may discontinue the treatment and monitor the dog closely. If your dog has only occasional seizures, the vet will not recommend medication treatment, as the side effects may be more severe than the actual seizures. You will have to remove any potential seizure triggers and make the dog’s life as stress free as possible.