It can be scary to watch your dog go through a seizure. He may go from acting normally to convulsing on the floor at a moment's notice. Seizures can occur in any size or breed of dog and result from many factors that lie outside your control. 

As a dog owner, you want to help your pup in any you can.

You might have heard of people using CBD oil for dog seizures. Is CBD oil for dogs safe compared to other methods? How does CBD oil work to minimize the symptoms of seizures?

Below, you can learn more about dog seizures, their potential causes, and how CBD oil can help alleviate a dog's symptoms. We will also discuss a clinical trial involving CBD oil for dogs with seizures and its potential. 

What Causes Dog Seizures?

Seizures in dogs are most often due to idiopathic epilepsy, according to . This type of epilepsy is inherited but otherwise has no known cause. Dogs born with it begin to have seizures anywhere between 6-months- and 6-years-old. 

Certain breeds like Beagles, Labrador Retrievers, Border Collies, and German Shepherds have a higher risk of being born with idiopathic epilepsy. 

Once your pup is under a seizure management program (that should involve CBD oil), he will live a happy, long life with few interruptions. 

Some other common types of seizures that dogs can experience include:

  • Psychomotor seizures: Psychomotor seizures cause dogs to exhibit abnormal behavior like excessively chasing their tails or biting at objects that aren't there. A psychomotor seizure will not cause your dog to fall to the floor.

  • Focal seizures: A focal seizure only occurs on one side of the body. Focal seizures can develop into the next type.

  • Grand mal seizures: These are generalized, all-over seizures resulting from abnormal electrical activity in the brain.

Some other potential causes of seizures include:

  • Inflammatory brain diseases like encephalitis

  • Brain tumors

  • Infectious diseases

  • Metabolic derangements

  • Strokes

  • Anemia

  • Electrolyte imbalances

  • Kidney or liver disease

  • Poisoning

If your dog is experiencing seizures alongside any of these conditions, he will require specialized attention from a veterinarian. 

Symptoms of Dog Seizures

If the seizure is not a psychomotor one, you can recognize it by looking for the following signs and symptoms:

  • Foaming at the mouth

  • Drooling

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Collapsing to the floor

  • Muscle twitching

  • Jerking

  • Whole-body stiffening

  • Chomping

  • Paddling motion with legs (if your dog has fallen on his side)

  • Incontinence

Other symptoms might be more challenging to spot. They may take the form of a slight facial tremor or a pattern of unusual barking. A seizure may last anywhere from a few seconds up to several minutes. 

Watching your dog experience a seizure can be scary. His jerky movements might look painful. As horrifying as a dog seizure looks, this event is not typically painful.

The only time pain may occur is if your dog hits the floor or an object too hard as he is convulsing. However, the act of the seizure itself doesn't usually inflict pain. 

What is CBD Oil?

CBD, also known as Cannabidiol, is a non-psychotropic product. It comes from hemp rather than marijuana, so it doesn't contain the high-inducing compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC. 

When extracted from hemp, you can administer CBD to your dog in several forms. Some owners opt for edibles or topical creams, while others choose the liquid form.

CBD interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system to correct abnormalities and maintain balance. CBD isn't toxic for dogs, so there is minimal risk of your pup experiencing an overdose. 

How can CBD Oil Help with Dog Seizures?

All mammals, including dogs, have an endocannabinoid system. This system consists of many receptors that regulate bodily functions. Some of these activities include appetite, immune response, metabolism, and communication between cells.

Mammals produce endocannabinoids naturally to maintain homeostasis within their bodies. However, seizures can get in the way of their production.

Consuming CBD oil can help supplement the body with the endocannabinoids it needs to function correctly. This supplementation can diminish the seizure symptoms and make them last for a shorter length of time. 

Your dog's body has two types of endocannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2. CBD primarily targets the CB1 receptors. Once this compound combines with CB1 receptors, it can slow down hyperactive neurons and minimize seizure symptoms. 

During a convulsion, your dog might feel uncomfortable, nervous, or panicked. CBD can help calm these feelings.

Contrary to popular belief, CBD's pain-relieving properties will not do much for your dog during a seizure. Instead, the benefits of CBD oil for dog seizures are the balance that this compound can bring to your pup's endocannabinoid system. 

CBD Oil vs. Other Seizure Medications

CBD oil is a natural way to treat seizures. Many owners opt for CBD oil for dogs instead of traditional medications like diazepam, potassium bromide, phenobarbital, and other anticonvulsant drugs. 

These prescription drugs often produce undesirable side effects like:

  • Increased thirst and appetite

  • Increased urination

  • Mild sedation

  • Mild incoordination

While some symptoms go away after about a week of starting the anti-seizure medication, some dogs struggle with them for several months or even longer. 

Also, even with these anticonvulsant medicines, some dogs experience no changes in the frequency or intensity of their seizures. 

There is a lot of stigma around using CBD oil for dog seizures. However, CBD oil for dogs contains 0.3% THC, which is harmless for pets. 

The Importance of the AKCCHF's Clinical Trial

There is a lot of potential for treating dog seizures with CBD oil. The AKC Canine Health Foundation (AKCCHF) has recently commenced a clinical trial to analyze CBD oil for dogs as a treatment for dog seizures. 

This trial studies CBD oil as a treatment in dogs who are resistant to drugs meant to diminish the symptoms of epilepsy. 

The trial runs with two important figures in the veterinary field: Dr. Stephanie McGrath, a veterinary neurologist at Colorado University, and Dr. Diane Brown, the CEO of the AKCCHF. 

Before this trial began, there was little research on CBD oil for dog seizures. All prior evidence has been mostly anecdotal. The AKCCHF's study is the first one that is well-executed and based on scientific findings. 

The study began by administering CBD oil for dogs to nine canines and a placebo to seven others in a controlled research setting. Both the owners and researchers were unaware of which drug the dogs received. 

For the next 12 weeks, the researchers observed the dogs' seizures. After the initial 12 weeks were up, the dogs went through a 4-week washout period. Then, the dogs received whichever drug they didn't receive the first time around for an additional twelve weeks. 

All CBD used during this trial was from hemp-derived sources and contained less than 0.3% THC. Because it met these requirements, it was completely legal and ethical to use in research, according to the 2014 U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Bill. 

The Results

According to a report released by , nearly 90% of dogs in this study who received the CBD experienced fewer seizures. This result was a significant finding, as no other strong evidence like it exists. 

While this experiment was successful, there is still a lot to learn about how CBD can help dogs with epilepsy and seizures caused by other factors. 

If you want to further the research that the AKCCHF can conduct, you can support the foundation by donating or signing up your pup to be a research participant in future studies. 

How to Treat Your Dog's Seizures with CBD Oil

If you want to help your dog reduce the frequency and intensity of his seizures, you should administer CBD oil for dog seizures regularly. 

You will not find out the right dosage for your pup right away. It will take some trial and error and experimentation on your part. Always start with a small dosage. See how your pup reacts. He shouldn't experience any adverse effects but monitor his reactions just in case. 

Consider your pup's size and breed as you give him CBD oil. A 75-pound dog will need much more CBD oil than a 5-pound dog to experience its benefits. A general guideline is to fall within the range of 1-5 mg of CBD per 10lbs of body weight.

If you're giving your pup CBD oil for seizure control rather than general well-being, you will need to experiment with higher dosages to produce the intended effects. 

As you start to get into a routine with your pup, you can follow the dosage instructions on your product's packaging more closely. 

Best CBD Oil for Dogs

When buying CBD oil for dogs, we recommend shopping around for a liquid product. This way, you won't have to force him to eat an edible or wait around for the effects of a topical cream to kick into effect. 

An oil product is easy to apply right under your pup's tongue. Plus, when you use a dropper, you will be able to monitor his dosage easily. This precise measurement will ensure you don't give him too much to start. 

Once CBD oil becomes a regular part of his seizure management program, you'll also be able to ensure that you aren't depriving him of what he needs to experience diminished symptoms. 

What to Do If Your Dog Has a Seizure

Even though CBD oil can minimize the severity of dog seizures, it may not eradicate them. 

If your dog begins to have a seizure, follow these tips to help him through it:

Remain Calm

At the sight of your dog acting strangely, it may be your first instinct to panic. However, your dog's well-being will largely depend on your ability to stay calm and remain attentive. Remember, your dog is not conscious and cannot feel pain during his convulsions.

Look at the Time

Take note of the time when your dog's seizure starts and stops. When done multiple times, this step will let you know if the length of his episodes is improving or not.

Do not Grab Their Tongue

It's a common misconception that dogs swallow their tongues while they're seizing. This idea is false, so do not try to grab his tongue to prevent this from happening. Doing so may result in a gnarly bite.

Know that Frothing is Normal

Frothing and excessive drooling during a seizure are normal. These signs do not indicate your dog has rabies, so you should not be fearful of him.

Protect Them From Injury

A seizing dog may throw himself on the floor, which can lead to a head injury. To protect your pup, keep him away from sharp corners and stairs. Lay pillows down to help cushion his fall. If possible, hold him gently until his seizure passes.

Help Them Cool Down

Any seizure that lasts for more than three minutes increases your pup's risk of overheating. Once he regains consciousness after a long episode, place cool, wet towels around his head, paws, and neck.

Record the Seizures

Once your dog has gone through an episode, record the date and time it happened, the length, and prevailing symptoms. If someone is with you while your dog is convulsing, have them take a video of it. You can look back on these records to determine if your dog's seizures are improving in terms of duration and intensity.

If you notice your dog is still having seizures, you should consider increasing his CBD oil dosage. Start with small increases and work your way toward a larger dosage to avoid overwhelming his endocannabinoid system. 

CBD Oil for Dog Seizures: Our Final Thoughts

Just as with humans, you can use CBD oil for dog seizures. If your pooch suffers from this condition, look into the various types of CBD oil for dogs to find a natural solution.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much CBD oil should I give my dog for seizures?

You will not find out the right dosage for your pup right away. It will take some trial and error and experimentation on your part.  A general guideline is to fall within the range of 1-5 mg of CBD per 10lbs of body weight.

How often do I give my dog CBD oil for seizures?

If you want to help your dog reduce the frequency and intensity of his seizures, you should administer CBD oil for dog seizures regularly. This can be done once or twice a day at mealtime.