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My goal is to share my experience and resources with other pup parents that are on the canine epilepsy journey. I'm not a doctor and my content should not be mistaken for medical advice. 

  • Jess

Canine Idiopathic Epilepsy Seizure Triggers For My Dog

Let's talk about the canine idiopathic epilepsy seizure triggers that held true for my pup. When Bear (my Maltese) started having seizures, I went on a journey to find the cause. Part of my journey included looking into internal health reasons that caused his seizures. The other part of my journey included making a log of any environmental/non-health related event that happened prior to a seizure.

Canine with Idiopathic Epilepsy

It was a simple log. I kept it in the “notes” app in my phone. Every time Bear would have a seizure, I reflected and wrote down what happened right before (as well as other things). Here’s what I learned about Bear’s seizure triggers…


There were a few times that I noticed, Bear would get really anxious, and then seize a few minutes after. They say animals can sense emotions, and I think this was indicative of that. I’ll never forget one morning, my Husband (then Fiancé) and I were running around the house, trying to get out the door for our engagement photos. 

Bear was following me around and I noticed he was acting a little strange. At one point, he started shaking a little. I stopped what I was doing, and held him a little while. I put him back down and started moving a little slower, since I could tell he was anxious. Soon enough, Bear started having a seizure.


Bear was a naturally energetic and easily excited pup. Too much excitement didn’t trigger his seizures ALL the time. But it definitely was the trigger a few times. The day that Bear had a seizure before my husband and I left to take our engagement photos, I had my mom come and stay with Bear while we were gone. When my husband and I got back to the house, Bear ran up to us. He was so excited that we were home. About 30 seconds later, he started having a seizure. I was so bummed. 

Another time, my friend (who used to be my roommate) came over. Bear was so incredibly excited to see her. She walked in the house, Bear was jumping all over her. Maybe 15-20 seconds went by of us trying to calm him down, and then a seizure started.

These are just a few examples, but excitement was definitely a trigger for Bear on a few different occasions.

Sleep/Night Time

When I started diving into research, I learned that our brains do A LOT while we sleep. If I had to guess, I’d say about 80% (maybe higher) of Bear’s seizures occurred during night time, or when he woke up from sleep. Apparently while we sleep, electrical activity in our brain changes. For animals with epilepsy, these changes in electrical activity can cause more opportunities for seizures to break through. If your fur-baby has seizures, I highly suggest research around this, and talking to your doctor about it more. With Bear, we saw this pretty frequently.

Other Things to Consider

There are a few other things that I learned could trigger seizures, but didn’t seem to hold true for Bear. If you’re trying to look into triggers for your dog, I suggest doing some research about how the below items can impact seizure activity:

  • Candles/oils/any smell-good items

  • Cleaning supplies

  • Flea and tick medicine

  • Vaccines

When Bear started having seizures, I cut out all of these things. I don’t know that they initially triggered his first seizure, but I stopped flea/tick medicine, as well as vaccines just to be on the safe side. I slowly started introducing candles and cleaning supplies back. They seemed not to bother him. I also think it’s important to talk to your vet about the flea/tick medicine and vaccines; I know plenty of dogs who are epileptic and aren’t bothered by either one of these two things.

**Please note that my goal is to provide support and resources to other epi pup parents. I'm not a vet or doctor and my content should not be mistaken for medical advice.


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