Seizure has been a growing problem for dogs. Fortunately, your dog does not have to go through such complications — drooling, twitching, jerking, foaming, and the likes — when you can guard her against toxins and their sources.

Precisely, you’ll learn about the subtle sources of toxins that your dog might be exposed to in your home and how you can reduce such toxins and their effects on your dog.

You’ll also find out how to handle the situation if your dog ever has a toxic seizure. And you’ll even discover the symptoms in case your dog displays any. 

What toxins can cause dog seizures?

While some causes remain unknown, we cannot take away the part that toxins play in the seizures. Toxins usually trigger dog seizures.

Knowing that no dog parent would deliberately feed toxins to their canine companion, you would agree that they are most times consumed unknowingly in food items or from the environment.

Therefore, you need to know consumable and environmental items that contain toxins that are harmful to your dog.

1. Alcohol

The following are some common household alcohols that are toxic and cause seizures in dogs:

  • Ethanol 

This type of alcohol is present in raw bread dough and alcoholic beverages. 

  • Isopropanol 

Isopropanol is a kind of alcohol used for wiping surfaces 

  • Methanol 

Tobacco smoke, varnishes, paints, adhesives, antifreeze, and windshield washer fluid contain methanol.

  • Ethylene Glycol 

Ethylene Glycol is also a kind of antifreeze

2. Animal Compounds 

Toxic animal chemicals that trigger seizures in dogs include:

  • Killer Bees 
  •  Bufo Toad

3. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Another toxin that can cause seizures in dogs is carbon monoxide poisoning, which is caused by smoke inhalation.

4. Foods 

Some household foods known to be potential toxins that cause dog seizures include:

The following foods pose possible poisons that trigger seizures in dogs:

  • Raw egg
  • Raw fish 
  • Onions and Garlic
  • Fatty foods 
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt Poisoning 
  • chives
  • raisins and grapes
  • avocados
  • macadamia nuts
  • xylitol (artificial sweetener)
  • bread dough
  • mouldy food
  • Methylxanthines in dark chocolate and caffeine.

5. Heavy Metals 

Some toxic metals have the potential of stimulating seizures in dogs. They include:

  • Zinc present in pennies
  • Lead present in lead-based paint

6. Illicit Drugs

Certain illicit drugs can induce seizures in dogs. Some of them are:

  • Marijuana
  • Methamphetamines
  • Amphetamines
  • Opiates
  • Cocaine

7. Medications

Common human medications that are potential toxins that cause dog seizures include:

  • Analgesics (Aspirin and Ibuprofen)
  • Muscle Relaxants like Baclofen, Tizanidine, Cyclobenzaprine, Carisoprodol and Methocarbamol 
  • Antidepressants like TCAs and SSRIs 
  • Theophylline which is an asthma medication
  • Chlorpheniramine – antihistamine
  • 5-Fluorouracil which is a cancer medication
  • Beta-Blockers which is a cardiac medication
  • Decongestants (Ephedrine and Pseudoephedrine)

8. Pesticides 

Some pesticides we use daily contain toxins that can cause seizures in dogs. They include:

  • Strychnine
  • Pyrethrins and pyrethroids
  • Metaldehyde which serves as a snail bait.
  • Bromethalin which serves as a rodenticide
  • Zinc Phosphate which serves as a mole bait
  • Organophosphates and Carbamates which serve as weed killers

9. Plants

Plants serve different purposes in our homes, ranging from aesthetics to medicine. However, they contain toxins that can bring on seizures in dogs is plants, including:

  • Humulus Lupulus
  • hemlock
  • Sago Palm
  • Brunfelsia
  • Mushrooms (panther cap, fly agaric, gemmed amanita, Smith’s amanita, warted amanita)
  • lilies, including daffodils
  • mistletoe
  • ivy
  • foxglove
  • oak/acorns
  • mushrooms
  • tulip
  • oleander

You have the duty to prevent your dog from coming in contact with these by either keeping them out of your dog’s reach or avoiding them in your home.

Toxins in dogs

Poisonings in dogs are one of the most common situations veterinarians encounter on their job, with data showing that nine out of ten poisonings occur while dogs are at home.

These cases spike during certain holiday seasons, such as Easter and winter, because of chocolate intake or consumption of foods meshed with raisins, currants, or sultanas. 

Another typical emergency is antifreeze toxicity.

However, knowing a little more about dog seizures will help you be better prepared.

Causes of seizures in dogs

Seizures in dogs are abnormally powerful outbreaks of electrical activity in the brain. 

One of the most commonly reported neurological diseases in dogs is seizures. 

Dogs can have seizures for a variety of reasons, which can take many forms, including:

  • Idiopathic seizure 

The most frequent cause of seizures in dogs is idiopathic epilepsy, which is a hereditary condition with no known etiology. It could be caused by liver disease, kidney failure, brain tumors, brain trauma, and poisons.

Idiopathic seizure is very rampant but has no noticeable cause, but may be genetic.

  • Manifested seizure

This form of seizure stems from structural changes within the brain like tumors, inflammation, infection, congenital malformations, or stroke.

  • Adaptive seizure

This occurs because of metabolic disorders or exposure to toxins affecting the brain.

While toxicity may not be the number one dog seizure trigger, the ASPCA reports over 200,000 cases of pet poisoning every year in the United States.

Toxins that cause dog seizures can range from smoke inhalation and salt ingestion to sago palms and killer bees.

What are dog seizure symptoms

A seizure, also known as a convulsion, is an involuntary disruption of normal brain function that is often accompanied by uncontrollable muscle movement.

Partial or focal seizures cause the dog to stay conscious with aberrant movements of a single body part, such as an ear or limb.

The warning indications that your dog is having a seizure may appear before the seizure starts. 

Your dog can get clingy, nervous, befuddled, and perplexed. Your dog may still be wobbly, confused, temporarily blind, or seek to hide thereafter. Depending on if it is swallowed or contact poison.

Swallowed poisons are likely to have the following effects on your dog; gastrointestinal irritation, diarrhea, vomiting, restlessness, disorientation, convulsions, lethargy, lack of appetite, twitching, dilated pupils, ulcers, heart palpitations, and coma.

However, if your dog is affected by contact poisons, irritation can occur because of chemicals or plants that come in contact with your dog’s skin.

You would observe discomfort, agitation, excessive scratching or licking, swellings (hives), and pain. 

If the condition is severe, the skin may seem red and ulcerated, or your dog may bleed beneath the coat.

However, the most typical indicators of a seizure in a dog are:

  • Stiffening
  • Collapsing
  • Paddling motions.
  • Drooling
  • Twitching muscles
  • Jerking movements of the body
  • Foaming mouth 
  • Defecating or urinating involuntarily
  • Tongue chewing 
  • Unconsciousness 

What to do if your dog has a toxic seizures

It is important to note that emesis is not a universal symptom of poisoning, so wait not only to see it.

Emesis could be useful or hazardous for some chemicals and the longest a dog can go to get rid of toxins by emesis is less than two hours.

The moment you notice a toxic seizure, maintain a cool demeanor while acting quickly:

  • Time for the situation to note how long it lasts. 

If possible, record a video of the occurrence.

  • Make an appointment with your veterinarian.

It is considered an emergency if your dog has over two seizures in a 24-hour period or a seizure that lasts over three minutes.

  • Take your dog to the vet as soon as possible. 

Do not wait for a seizure to stop if it lasts over three minutes because the longer the seizure lasts, the more fatal complications are likely.

  • Examine the house or property for any potential sources of exposure.

Gather any remaining poisonous substances.

  • If your dog has vomited, collect the sample.

Get a container of the poison consumed so your veterinarian can identify the best course of action. 

  • To treat poisons like chocolate or bromethalin, use activated charcoal or Endosorb according to your vet’s prescription.

If the seizure is because of toxic fumes or gas, get your pet outside, but don’t put yourself in danger; 

If the seizure is due to contact, wear protective gloves and remove the chemical from the skin; 

If the seizure is due to liquids, use paper towels or clean rags.

Unless your vet particularly tells you to do so, never use water, solvents, or anything else to remove the toxin.

If your veterinarian advises you to remove the toxin, use soap or dishwashing solutions and rinse with lukewarm water to not make your dog feel cold.

Even if you know the toxin was swallowed, never induce vomiting unless your veterinarian has advised you to do so.

This is because some toxins can cause more damage if vomiting occurs than if the toxin is left in the stomach.

How to reduce toxins in your dog

If your dog has been poisoned;

Enhance Air Quality

Household pollutants can cause indoor air pollution, and it’s important to remember that toxins in cigar smoke and cigarettes affect dogs.

Gaseous compounds emitted by new synthetic household products, such as floor finish, and furniture, also contribute to airborne toxins.

Keep certain areas of the house well-ventilated, keep dogs off and out of these places, and consider using window fans or leaving windows open for some fresh air when the items are emitting high amounts of chemical residues.

To reduce chemical residues from spray-on colognes, use bathroom fans.

Reduce Your Pet’s Exposure to Pollutants and Chemicals in the Environment

Pesticides, weed killers, fertilizers, and other chemicals will definitely come into contact with pets that spend time outside.

If your dog enjoys chewing on grass or other plants, monitor them when wandering near other people’s yards or in public settings like parks where chemicals are commonly used. Adding greens to your dog’s diet may help to reduce this inclination.

Keep your pet’s traditional medications under control

Toxic chemicals can be found in traditional heartworm medications, flea and tick treatments, and a variety of other pharmaceuticals, including immunizations.

While chemical treatments and conventional drugs may be necessary, it is important to be aware of the dose frequency and to consider natural alternatives when they are acceptable for your pet. 

Support the Liver and Kidneys of Your Pet

The liver handles most toxin clearance in your pet.

Antioxidants can help the liver with this, and many detoxification therapies include herbs like milk thistle, which are beneficial to your pet’s liver.

Young and healthy pets do not need daily liver support, but it will be a huge advantage if older pets and those who are on medications may benefit from using liver support items frequently. 

The easiest way you can help a healthy dog’s kidneys is to make sure they drink plenty of filtered water daily.

Toxins discharged by the kidneys become significantly concentrated in extremely dehydrated pets, posing a threat to the filtration system’s delicate tissues.

Mineral particles can also develop when urine is seriously concentrated.

Hence the creation of stones or crystals usually leads to obstructions and/or irritation of urinary tract structures, which can cause repeated infections and kidney damage.

Serve more liquids with your dog’s meals by adding broth or water for extra moisture.

  • Boost Your Pet’s Immune System 

To keep your pet healthy, the immune system collaborates with the elimination organs, and maintaining immune health maintains your pet’s kidneys, liver, lungs, intestines, and skin so they can do their detoxifying duties.

Daily immunological support for healthy pets can be found in a high-quality mineral supplement and multivitamins.

Antioxidant vitamins provide additional immune support, which is especially good for elderly or active pets.

  • Look after your pet’s skin and coat.

Toxins are excreted through the skin in dogs, and a regular brushing routine will assist your pet’s skin “breathe” and enhance this process.

Grooming regularly also removes dust and debris that may carry hazardous residue, which means your pet will swallow less toxins when grooming themselves if you brush their coat regularly.

Assess the quality of the products used to bathe your dog and go for natural grooming products that avoid hazardous components so that your pet absorbs fewer toxins through the skin when bathing. 

The whole point of this article was to let you know about how toxins work to cause seizures in your dog.

Clearly, you have learned about seizures and how to react if they ever occur. We hope by now that you realize the means by which your dog could accidentally get poisoned.

You don’t need to throw out every single item in your home. Rather, it would be helpful if you are more conscious of your environment and help your furry friend get rid of items that may pose a threat to his health.


SouthEast Veterinary Neurology: What toxins can cause seizures in dogs?