Health + Wellness

What Toxins Can Cause Seizures in Dogs? Some Are in Your Own Home.

As a pet owner, you’re always trying to keep your dog safe and sound. This means feeding him a healthy diet, making sure he gets lots of exercise, and taking him to the vet on a regular basis.

Another thing you do is try to steer clear of toxins as much as possible since you know they are a common cause of seizures, gastrointestinal problems, and other health issues in dogs. If you can keep toxins out of your home, then you can avoid any health issues and ensure your pup is as comfortable and happy as possible.

Here’s some more information on the causes of seizures and the toxins that may be responsible for harming your dog.

What toxins cause seizures in dogs? Food that causes seizures

what toxins can cause seizures in dogs: caffine

According to the ASPCA, caffeine, dark chocolate, mushrooms, theobromine, ethanol, and xylitol can cause your dog’s seizures.

Theobromine is what makes chocolate toxic to dogs. Ethanol is used in hand sanitizers, solvents, and fuel, but it’s also used in foods such as apple, grape, and orange juice as well as sweet milk rolls and burger rolls. Xylitol is a sugar-free sweetener that is added to some foods along with gum, mouthwash, and toothpaste.

Unfortunately, xylitol has high toxicity and can not only cause seizure disorders, but also vomiting, tremors, weakness, and lack of coordination/disorientation, and may put your dog into a coma or cause liver failure.

If you believe your pet has ingested any of these foods, get in touch with your DVM or the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 right away. Also, make sure your dog does not come into contact with people foods that contain toxic ingredients. Always check up on food before feeding it to your pup.

Home Products That Cause Seizures

what toxins can cause seizures in dogs

What toxins cause seizures in dogs that are found in household items? Different rat poisonings and insecticides can also lead to your dog having seizures and other health issues. They include Bromethalin rodenticide (rat poisoning), 4-Aminopyridine, Strychnine, Bifenthrin, Metaldehyde, and Zinc phosphide.

If you think ingestion has occurred of any of these chemicals, signs of poisoning include:

  • seizures
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle tremors
  • impaired movement
  • paralysis in their hind limbs

Treatment options vary, but for rat poisoning, they could include inducing vomiting, administering activated charcoal, and giving the dog medication to prevent seizures and muscle tremors.

It’s best to keep all insecticides and rodent poisoning locked away where your dog can’t find it. If you’re using these products in the yard, make sure you read the warning label. Sometimes, you’ll need to keep your dog out of a certain part of the yard for at least several minutes so that these products can dry and ingestion won’t occur.

Medications That Cause Seizures

dog next to pills. is human medicine safe for dogs

The following medications are common causes of seizures in dogs:

  • Ibuprofen
  • Fluorouracil (5-FU) cream
  • Ivermectin
  • Metronidazole
  • Amphetamines
  • Procaine Penicillin G
  • Diphenhydramine
  • Phenylbutazone

If your dog ingests Ibuprofen, for instance, he could develop a serious stomach ulcer that causes vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, black tarry stool, pale gums (which is a symptom of anemia), a loss of appetite, and lethargy. If your dog eats a large amount of Ibuprofen, he could develop kidney failure, liver failure, and tremors and seizures.

Antidepressant use

There are other medications pet owners should be aware of that cause seizures in dogs. For instance, if you put your dog on antidepressants and his serotonin levels are too high, the antidepressants could cause the following side effects:

  • seizures and tremors
  • excessive salivation
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • confusion
  • rapid heart rate/arrhythmia
  • rapid breathing
  • increased body temperature
  • increased blood pressure

It is critical that your dog is given the right dosage of antidepressants and that his medications aren’t interacting negatively with one another.

Before giving your dog any prescription or over-the-counter medication, you should speak to your veterinarian. Also, keep the medications safely stored in a place where your dog cannot reach them in order to prevent poisoning.

Other Products That Cause Seizures

what to keep in your car for your dog

Another product to be concerned about is antifreeze. Ethylene glycol, which is the main ingredient in antifreeze, can cause acute kidney failure as well as secondary development of calcium oxalate crystals forming in your dog’s kidneys, along with seizures.

Antifreeze is found in automotive radiator coolant, brake fluid, deicing products, paints, solvents, and wood stains. Clinical signs of antifreeze poisoning in dogs include vomiting, drooling, excessive urination and thirst, and walking drunk.

Within eight to 12 hours of ingestion, you need to take your dog to the veterinarian; otherwise, he could develop kidney failure, which may lead to death. When using antifreeze, put your dog somewhere safe so that he doesn’t come into contact with it.

Different Causes and Signs of Seizure Disorders

dog with planet dog diamond plate toy

Toxins are not always to blame for seizures in healthy dogs. Your pup may also experience seizures if he had a traumatic injury to his head or he has kidney disease, high or low blood sugar, anemia, electrolyte imbalance, liver disease, or embolism.

There are a few types of seizures that could occur, like a grand mal, idiopathic epilepsy, psychomotor, or focal seizure. A grand mal seizure is generalized and is caused by abnormal electrical activity in your dog’s brain. It may last a few seconds up to a few minutes.

Focal seizures only occur on one side of the brain, and psychomotor seizures can cause your dog to run around, excessively chase his tail, or bite at imaginary objects. Idiopathic epilepsies happen when a seizure has no known cause. If you have a Collie, German Shepherd, Australian Shepherd, Labrador Retriever, Belgian Tervuren, or Beagle, then your dog might be more susceptible to idiopathic epilepsies.

Signs of a seizure in dogs include:

  • jerking body movements
  • drooling
  • tongue chewing
  • foaming at the mouth
  • involuntary urinating or defecating
  • stiffening
  • loss of consciousness
  • muscle twitching

If your dog is having a seizure, then speak softly to your pup to calm him down, don’t touch her mouth, move him away from objects that could hurt him, and gently rub him so he feels better. Get in touch with your veterinarian once the seizure is over. You may have to put your dog on anti-seizure medications like phenobarbital, levetiracetam, or potassium bromide.

Making Sure Your Dog Is Safe

It’s critical to keep toxins away from your pup since they can cause seizures and other health issues. But if an accident does happen and your dog begins to have a seizure and exhibit other symptoms, calm him down and seek veterinary care right away for treatment options. With the right intervention, you’ll have a better chance of ensuring your dog stays healthy and lives a long, healthy, and happy life.

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