My Dog Is Suffering from Seizures. What Should I Do?
Epileptic seizures can be scary for both pet owners and their pets. If your dog is experiencing seizures, the first and important step is to take the animal to your primary care vet or emergency service to be evaluated. Once diagnosed, there may be any number of treatment options available, including prescription medication and even changes in diet. The latter method is less well researched or understood, but still represents a worthwhile tool owners should be aware of to help make sure their pets are receiving the most well-rounded treatment possible. The ketogenic diet is one regimen vets recommend for reducing seizure potential in dogs.
What Is the Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic (or keto) diet is similar to Atkins and other low-carb diets in that it necessitates a dramatic reduction in a person or animal’s carbohydrate intake. The reduction in carbohydrates shifts energy metabolism from the breakdown of fat to the production of ketones, which can be readily used as an energy source by the brain. For dogs, particularly those who suffer from epilepsy, the keto diet can be a useful tool in improving overall health, and can even help prevent seizures and the injuries that result from them.
Is the Keto Diet Right for My Dog?
The keto diet is not guaranteed to prevent your dog from having an epileptic episode. Rather, it is a supplemental strategy to be explored in conjunction with prescribed medications to help combat the seizures. Adapting to the ketogenic diet can be difficult for some families however, as it demands a lifestyle change both for the animal and for the owner. Store-bought ketogenic dog foods can be difficult to find in some parts of the country, and making your own ketogenic dog food can take significantly longer to prepare than normal meals.
Where Can I Find Ketogenic Dog Food?
A few brands now sell ready-made ketogenic dog food. We recommend Valiant Pet Nutrition, which offers a variety of ketogenic foods including keto sliders and patties. If you plan to personalize your pet’s keto diet, the ketopet calculator on the Ketopet Sanctuary website is a great place to start. For more information and to access the calculator, visit the website.
As a category of diets we do not recommend raw food. For a subset of patients who suffer from seizures, the risk posed by raw foods may outweigh the benefit to control their seizure disorder. If you are considering a ketogenic diet for your pet, we would recommend you discuss it with your veterinarian first.
Ready to take action? Schedule an appointment with the neurology department today.