How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Seizures
Dogs may experience seizures for a number of different reasons; some of them recurring and others simply a reaction to an outside circumstance.
Among the most commonly seen conditions which can trigger seizures in dogs are as follows:
- Exposure to toxins
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Blood sugar abnormalities
- Electrolyte imbalances
- Brain cancer or encephalitis
- Head trauma
Though seizures typically aren’t painful for dogs, they do leave them feeling disoriented and sometimes in a state of panic.
When a seizure occurs, dogs can cause harm to themselves by their erratic body motions which can cause them to get tangled up in things in their surroundings or hurt by objects that fall on them.
Treatment for seizures is possible; however, it hinges on a veterinarian’s ability to determine the root cause to establish a correct diagnosis.
Unfortunately, treatment will only help alleviate symptoms and to put in place measures to reduce the frequency of episodes. A cure is not possible.
Among the most commonly seen activities during a seizure are:
- Jerking of limbs
- Stiffening of body posture
- Loss of consciousness
- Grinding of teeth or chomping
- Foaming at the mouth
- Tongue chewing
- Paddling of legs
- Rapid movement of the body
- Spontaneous urination or defecation
Seizures are sometimes prefaced by a blank stare in the dog’s eyes. Once the seizure has ceased, many dogs have difficulty with their balance, and walking can be challenging.
When dogs undergo seizures, it is very important for the owner to remain calm and to stand back from the dog until the convulsions have stopped.
Trying to comfort the dog or intervene in the process can make matters worse.
Though diet alone cannot completely address the symptoms associated with seizures, high-quality nutrition coupled with veterinary treatment can provide valuable help.
A poor diet can also be a contributing factor in a dog developing certain medical conditions that are marked by seizures, making it extremely important to prioritize feeding dogs premium quality food to support optimal health.
As with most dogs, diet can be highly specific to the dog in question. What is key in the best foods for dogs with seizures is that the food is well-balanced, complete, and comprised of exceptional quality ingredients.
Though there are no specific supplements that aid with the prevention of seizures, there are many such as essential fatty acids, prebiotics, probiotics, glucosamine, and chondroitin that are an excellent foundation for overall good health, making them a wise choice for dogs that suffer from seizures.
Choosing the Correct Calorie Count for Dogs with Seizures
Determining the correct amount of the best food for seizures to feed a dog can be a challenging task.
As a basic guideline, it is always an excellent idea to consult the suggested serving sizes printed on the dog’s food. This can be measured against the dog’s weight, age, and activity level to provide a starting point.
The dog’s weight and appetite can help owners determine if the amount of food needs to be increased or decreased until the proper portion size is settled.
Free feeding should be strongly discouraged as it can easily lead to body weight gain.
Adult dogs should be fed a diet that consists of a minimum of 18 percent protein and 5 percent fat. Puppies need slightly higher amounts of both 22 percent protein and 8 percent fat with slightly more in both categories also desirable.
Dietary Requirements for Dogs with Seizures
When selecting the best dog food for seizures, it is important to choose a diet that provides vital support for the dogs’ internal organs.
There are several important criteria that can help owners to make this most important decision.
Since artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives can be common allergens and are of low quality, it is critical that owners of dogs with seizures should look for food that contains as many natural ingredients as possible.
As a general rule of thumb, it is best to focus on food that has an ingredients list comprised of items that are easily recognizable high-quality foods, vitamins, or supplements.
Healthy fats are an important component of any diet but even more so when it comes to the nutrition of dogs with seizures.
Fats derived from animal sources such as chicken fat or oily fish are best as they are high in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
Meat should be the first ingredient in any premium quality food for dogs. Whole meats are the preferred protein option, but meat meals are also an excellent choice.
By-product and plant-based proteins such as soy, corn, and wheat should be avoided as they do not provide the ideal nutritional profile that dogs with seizures truly need to sustain excellent health.
Carbohydrates play an important role in all well-balanced diets. These can be from whole grains, fruits, or vegetables. The main priority of any carbohydrate is its ease of digestibility and its antioxidant value.
Supplements can also provide valuable help in sustaining good canine health. The best ones to consider in food for dogs with seizures are prebiotics, probiotics, glucosamine, and chondroitin.
Though a high-quality diet can play an important role in helping dogs with seizures enjoy good health, it alone is not sufficient to prevent them from occurring.
The best course of action is veterinary treatment and supervision coupled with an excellent quality diet.
In some cases, diets that are very high in protein or diets that are available by prescription only may be necessary. Coconut oil may also be beneficial for some dogs with seizures.
In more severe cases, a ketogenic diet that is high in fat and low in carbohydrates may be recommended. This type of diet mimics the effects of fasting and can help reduce seizures in some dogs.
No matter what course of action is taken, it is important to always consult a veterinarian before making any major dietary changes for your pet.
They can provide the best advice based on your pet’s individual needs. Prescription diets should always be given under the guidance of a veterinarian.
For families thinking their dogs may benefit from these types of foods, it is best to consult with a veterinarian for proper guidance.
Raw diets or fish meal formulas are also becoming popular options for normal brain function in dogs with seizures.
Things to Look for in the Best Dog Food for Seizures
Here is a basic list of the most important things to look for in dog food for seizures:
- Whole meat or meat meal proteins heading up the ingredients list
- Prepared without the addition of chemicals, flavorings, fillers, or mystery ingredients
- Enriched with probiotics and helpful supplements
- Meets AAFCO nutritional requirements for a complete and balanced food
- Contains healthy amounts of omega-3 and 6 fatty acids to support coat and skin health