Can Dog Seizures be tied to Food?

by Kerry

I have two brothers - Goldendoodles that just turned 3. The one started having canine seizures at 2-1/2.

We had just changed their food 6 months prior to Blue dog food. We have always fed them good food since they were pups. I am totally freaked out. He has had so much blood work done. He is on Pheno. (lowest dosage) and now thyroid medicine (border hypo-thyroid).

I now question every dog treat or biscuit given to him. His brother is fine. He has been experiencing Grand Mal Seizures since Jan. 2010 - and has them every 2-weeks or so.

I recently took him off of Blue and put him back on Nutro (he does not seem to like as much....) and we went almost 6 weeks without a seizure. He just had one last week (and they are bad).

Please anything that I can research or any information that you can share. These are my babies.....

Editor's Reply

Hi Kerry -

Having personally been through the same agonizing situation, we do empathize with you! See our About Us page   :(

In the future, we will be publishing an article on canine seizures and dog food ingredients. In the meantime, however, here are a few tips to help with your research and ongoing discussions with your veterinarian.

  • Regarding your dog’s hypothyroidism and treatment: According to research on Canine Thyroid Disease by W. Jean Dodds, DVM (Holistic Veterinarian), almost 80% of dogs with seizures have thyroid disease.

    "..Our ongoing study now includes over 1500 cases of dogs presented to veterinary clinics for aberrant behavior. ... Results showed a significant relationship between thyroid dysfunction and seizure disorder, and thyroid dysfunction and dog-to-human aggression."

    However!  She also points out that phenobarbital therapy is known to cause FALSELY low values on some thyroid tests.

    “Drug effects on thyroid binding proteins and thyroid levels do not produce true hypothyroidism, and so treatment with thyroid supplement is unadvisable ....... It is well known that phenobarbital and some other drugs, such as potentiated sulfonamides can affect blood levels of thyroid hormones. With the sulfonamides, after long-term use, a clinically hypothyroid state can be produced.” (

  • Regarding a tie to food. Yes, canine seizures can definitely be caused by a reaction to food ingredients. However, as epilepsy in dogs can be triggered by so many different factors (or even a combination of factors), it can be very difficult to determine the root cause.

    For starters, your doggie will be much better off with something other than Nutro dog food. Have you closely compared the dog food ingredients of the Blue dog food recipe with his present Nutro dog food? Are there any ingredients noticeably absent from the Nutro formula? Keep experimenting with premium dog foods with limited ingredients. Your pooch probably won’t turn his nose down to a good canned dog food. Not only is it more flavorful and palatable to dogs, there are other advantages to feeding wet dog food.

    For full control, your best option could be to make your own homemade dog food so you'll know exactly what ingredients you’re feeding him. Experiment with the different meat proteins to see if there's either an improvement or a deterioration in his seizures. If you decide to go this route, you absolutely need to know what you're doing to ensure your baby is getting all his required nutrients. This book by expert author Patricia Schenck, DVM Phd., Veterinary Nutritionist on Home-Prepared Dog and Cat Diets is, to date, the only book on homemade dog recipes that we feel comfortable recommending.

  • Avoid feeding rawhide bones, particularly the white, chemically bleached chews!

  • Eliminate foods containing any herbs. There is evidence to suggest herbal extracts such as rosemary may cause canine seizures.

  • Avoid exposure to chemicals and toxins such as household detergents, sprays, chemical flea treatments, etc.

  • Can you draw a link between your dog's seizures and his vaccinations? Dogs can have numerous adverse reactions from vaccinations - including seizures. You might wish to research "annual titer tests" and choose this option as opposed to automatically vaccinating him whether he needs it or not.

  • If you have any niggling questions or concerns that you feel might warrant a second veterinarian opinion, or you need an immediate answer from a qualified vet, the Ask a Veterinarian Online service is a very useful and inexpensive resource.

Be persistent in your research and keep experimenting and trying to find the root cause.

Hard as it may be for you, try to always remain very calm, reassuring and comforting during and after his grand mal seizures.

We hope we've been of some help, and are sending healing cyber vibes your way.

Please come back and update us on his progress, or any other findings you may have.

A call-out to all our other furry visitors: If you have anything at all to add to the topic of canine seizures and dog food ingredients, PLEASE share!

Comments for Can Dog Seizures be tied to Food?

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Feb 13, 2011
seizures and dog food
by: Anonymous

I didn't know rosemary might cause seizures. The dog food my dog has been on for 8 yrs has rosemary in it and my dog started with seizures soon after switching dog foods. Also, recent liver problems(she is 10 y/o) and it has vitamin K3 in it.

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