Close this search box.

What Toxins Can Cause Seizures in Dogs

Sometimes when we get busy doing something at the moment, we tend to leave our dogs unattended for a little while. In this case, our dog could accidentally chew up and ingest something that might be hazardous for them—which can lead to a life-threatening risk like seizures. Seizure is one of the most common cases of pet dog deaths across the world. As a responsible dog owner, we should do our part to learn everything there is about dog seizures. That way we can prevent it from happening and be able to save more dogs’ lives.

In this post, we will give you a list of toxins that can cause seizures in dogs. We will also discuss the symptoms, stages, as well as how to correctly act if your dog ever has a seizure.

List of Toxins For Dogs

There are plenty of factors that may cause seizures for our dogs which we have no control over. But there are also many factors that we do have control over that can cause seizures in dogs. Commonly, it can be caused by eating something, but even inhalation can also trigger dog seizures. These hazards might be around any part of the house and some regular household duties we perform can end up posing a grave threat for our dogs’ lives. So, it is important to learn what these harmful toxins are:


Alcohol, even in small amounts, can cause poisoning in healthy dogs. Here’s the list of alcohols that may cause reactive seizures for dogs upon consumption. It includes but not limited to:

  • Ethanol (alcoholic beverages, raw bread dough, sugar alcohol)
  • Isopropanol (rubbing alcohol)
  • Methanol (varnishes, shellacs, paints, windshield washer fluids, adhesives)
  • Ethylene Glycol (antifreeze)

Animal Compounds 

Due to the general way the ecosystem is designed, some organisms pose significant risks to others. While your dog may appear to be the predator to smaller mammals such as rabbits and others, they can be also a victim.

Here’s the list of animal compounds that may cause seizures for dogs. It includes but not limited to:

  • Toads
  • Bees

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning 

Another toxin that can cause seizures in dogs is carbon monoxide poisoning from smoke inhalation or gas leaks. Common signs of carbon monoxide poisoning is respiratory problems.


After eating old eggs, moldy cheese, and spoilt gravy, approximately 20% of dogs exhibited symptoms of food poisoning. Certain foods can be toxic to dogs, so make sure to do a bit of research before feeding your dog human food. Chocolate toxicity is also a very real thing for dogs.

Here’s the list of foods that may cause seizures for dogs. It includes but not limited to:

  • Methylxanthines (caffeine, dark chocolate)
  • Salt Poisoning (excessive seawater, table salt or Play-Dough ingestion) 
  • Xylitol (artificial sweetener, a healthy diet should avoid this ingredient at all costs)

Food Ingredients

  • Yeast
  • Rhubarb
  • Nutmeg

Heavy Metals 

Some toxic metals that have the possibility of causing dogs to have seizures are:

  • Lead (lead-based paint)
  • Zinc (pennies)


Never leave prescription or even over-the-counter medications left unattended where your dog can get to them. There are cases in which it only takes a smell for a dog to become intoxicated.

Drugs that can bring on toxic seizures in dogs include:

  • Amphetamines (ADHD Drugs)
  • Opioids

Drugs which can be useful and probably life-saving to human beings commonly have other outcomes when ingested by our dogs. The human and canine bodies process it differently, and pills that could be in any other case useful to human beings can cause outcomes like seizures whilst fed on dogs.

Common human medications that are potential toxins that cause dog seizures include:

  • Analgesics (Aspirin and Ibuprofen)
  • Anticonvulsant medication (for focal seizures)
  • Antidepressants (SSRIs and TCAs)
  • Theophylline (asthma medication)
  • Chlorpheniramine (antihistamine)
  • Fluorouacil  (5-FU) cream (cancer medication)
  • Ivermectin
  • Beta-Blockers (cardiac medication)
  • Decongestants (Ephedrine and Pseudoephedrine)
  • Muscle Relaxants (Baclofen, Carisoprodol, Methocarbamol, Tizanidine and Cyclobenzaprine)
  • Drugs for metabolic diseases


Insecticides and rodenticides that are typically used to control the insect and rodent population in the home can be extremely toxic and fatal when consumed by dogs. Rat poisoning is especially dangerous!

Insecticides and rodenticides which might be normally used to control the insect and rodent populace in our home may be extraordinarily poisonous and deadly whilst fed on dogs.

Some everyday pesticide toxins that can cause seizures in dogs are:

  • Bromethalin (rodenticide)
  • Metaldehyde (snail bait)
  • Organophosphates and Carbamates (weed killers)
  • Pyrethrins and pyrethroids
  • Strychnine
  • Zinc Phosphate (mole bait)


While they will be quiet and undeniably make our environments extra beautiful, a few family plants can bring about toxin poisoning, and can cause seizures to canines.

Another common group of toxins that can bring on seizures in dogs is plants, including:

  • Brunfelsia (“yesterday, today, tomorrow”)
  • Mushrooms (panther cap, fly agaric, gemmed amanita, Smith’s amanita, warted amanita)
  • Humulus Lupulus (Hops)
  • Sago Palm

Symptoms of Dog Seizures

Signs your canine is having a seizure might also additionally in reality begin earlier than the seizure occurs. Some puppies may appear anxious, clingy, unsteady, or dazed and confused. Even afterward, your canine can be wobbly, disoriented, briefly blind, or looking to hide.

But these are the most frequent symptoms of a dog having a seizure:

  • Jerking Body Movements
  • Drooling
  • Chomping or tongue chewing
  • Foaming At the Mouth
  • Involuntary Urinating or Defecating
  • Stiffening
  • Loss of Consciousness
  • Muscle Twitching
  • Collapsing
  • Stiffening
  • Paddling motions with their legs

Three Stages of Dog Seizures


Minutes earlier than the real seizure, a duration of altered behavior might also additionally arise known as the aura. This isn’t constantly recognizable; however, many owners report their puppies may hide, seem anxious, anxious, or simply whine prior to a seizure.


The real seizure is referred to as the ictus. It typically lasts seconds to 1 to 2 mins and is self-limiting, however longer seizures can occur. Seizures could have a variable appearance.

Postictal Phase

After the seizure, many dogs show a postictal phase characterized through disorientation. This can also last minutes to hours. The commonly reported symptoms are behavior changes, lengthy sleepiness, confusion, temporary blindness, and ingesting voraciously.

Remember, if your see your dog suffering from a seizure, get help first thing.

What To Do if your Dog has a Toxic Seizure

If your dog has a seizure, then speak softly to your pup to calm them down, don’t touch their mouth, move them off from objects that might hurt them, and gently rub them so they feel comforted. Call your veterinarian once the seizure is over, and a pet poison helpline. Try to keep track of your dog’s body temperature to make sure that they aren’t overheating. Do your best do make your dog comfortable, as muscle tremors associated with seizures in dogs are quite painful. If your dog has a history of seizures, you can give your dog anti-seizure medications like phenobarbital, levetiracetam, or metal bromide if you have it on hand and you vet has given the OK. Watch for excessive panting and wait a few minutes after the seizure to check for other symptoms. That’s one of the scary things about seizures in dogs, the trigger could be a simple electrolyte imbalance, or it could be a sign that your need to get to the veterinary hospitals. Bottom line- do not take canine seizures lightly! Stay calm, for your dog’s sake, and investigate every possible cause of your dog’s health.

An alternative way is to give them a tablespoon of honey. This raises glucose levels and reduces the severity of the episode. Thereafter, create a calm environment for the animal and most importantly, remain calm yourself. Do not get upset; this will only disturb the dog further and extend the seizure attack.

This increases glucose levels and decreases the severity of the episode. Don’t forget to create relaxed surroundings for your dog and most importantly, to calm yourself. Do not panic or get upset as this will disturb your dog and increase the seizure attack.

If your canine has more than two seizures in a 24-hour period or a seizure that lasts extra than 3 minutes, it’s an emergency. Take your canine to a veterinarian immediately. If a seizure continues for more than 3 minutes, do not watch for it to end. The longer the seizure is going on, the better the threat of significant and probably deadly complications.

Some Final Advice

The guaranteed way to save your canine from struggling seizures due to exposure to risky pollutants is through placing measures in location to cast off your dog buddy’s exposure to those substances. Keep the human medicine in drug shelves which can be located far from your canine’s reach, and ensure to always look for and retrieve any tablet that mistakenly drops. Same applies to rodenticides, in addition to flea and tick products–make sure to keep those in places which can be inaccessible by your dogs.

Before you run into health issues with your dog, make sure to have them regularly checked up for kidney disease, liver disease, blood pressure issues, and more. Little issues can add up to be big issues, leading to kidney failure and liver failure. You vet will notice the clinical signs. And if you notice any muscle twitching, get it checked out in your dog immediately.

Resist the urge to feed your dog with food scraps, as most of these are made for human intake and are commonly risky for puppies to eat. Always remember to keep away from cultivating household plants which are poisonous to puppies; however, if you want to domesticate those plants, you have to make fences to limit your dog’s entry or consume the plants.

Also, bear in mind that child-proof is not in any way similarly pet-proof. Pets can use their strong, sharp teeth to bite childproof containers. Take every precaution to secure risky materials in an area that your pets can’t access or reach. Keep trash secured and away from your dogs and educate kids that they can’t feed any left-over foods or share their foods to your dogs.

Most importantly, always keep your veterinarian number close by. In case you suspect that your pet has ingested something toxic, you can immediately call for help. The sooner you take action, the better your pet’s chance for recovery.

Picture of Kevin F.

Kevin F.

Hey guys! I'm Kevin and I'm the Founder of My Dog Reviews. I made this site to share my very own dog's reviews of food, treats, toys, and more. I also have become fascinated with dog breeds and I'm sharing my knowledge with the world. Have a breed, treat, or something you want me to write about? Just let me know!

Leave a Comment