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Dogs and Seizures in Their Sleep

| Updated September 26, 2017

Dogs who experience seizures frequently suffer them in their sleep. This is because seizures often accompany a change in brain activity, which occurs in the transition between waking and sleeping.

Symptoms of a seizure may include:

  • Uncontrolled twitching or jerking
  • Drooling or foaming at the mouth
  • Chomping or tongue chewing
  • Paddling motions with the legs
  • Stiffening of muscles
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control


  • Some dogs will twitch or paddle their legs or whimper while they are sleeping. These may be normal signs that your dog is simply having a dream. However, if you see any other abnormal behavior, this could indicate the actions are actually a seizure.

After a seizure your dog may:

  • Be disoriented
  • Be unable to see
  • Walk in circles
  • Try to hide
  • Be bleeding if he bit himself


  • If you suspect your dog is having a seizure, contact your veterinarian immediately. If the seizure lasts for several minutes or your dog has several seizures in a row, his temperature may rise to deadly levels.

Seizure Cause and Treatment

Your vet will try to determine the cause of the seizure to determine the best treatment. Some common causes of seizures include trauma, poison, liver or kidney disorders or electrolyte imbalances.

If your dog has multiple seizures at a time, seizures that last several minutes or seizures more than once a month, your vet may prescribe an anti-seizure medication such as potassium bromide or phenobarbital. Once your pet begins taking these medications, he must stay on them for the rest of his life.