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The Best Diet for Canine Epilepsy: A Brief Introduction

Updated: Mar 18

Epileptic dog eating a bone

Learn about evidence-based recommendations for the best diet for canine epilepsy, based on research and studies from veterinary journals. Discover what foods to avoid and what nutrients to include to manage seizures and improve your dog's overall health.


Canine epilepsy is a complex neurological disorder that requires a comprehensive approach to management. Along with medication, diet plays a significant role in managing seizures and improving overall health. In this blog post, we will explore evidence-based recommendations for the best diet for canine epilepsy based on research and studies from veterinary journals.


Foods to Avoid

Certain types of food can trigger seizures in dogs with epilepsy. In this section we will explore the two most important things to avoid when selecting your epileptic dogs food. Remember nutrition is the building block of both human and dog health. So if you wouldn't feel comfortable eating it yourself... then why feed it to your pet?


  1. High Starch/ Carbohydrate content: According to a study published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, high-carbohydrate diets can cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels, leading to seizures. Diets that are high in grains and carbohydrates, such as corn, wheat, and rice, should be avoided. Most store-bought dog food is high in carbohydrates, especially dried kibble. Some of the most commonly bought brands can contain up to 90% corn, rice, or wheat: ingredients that have little nutritional value for a dog and can cause blood sugar imbalances. Another study published in the Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition found that gluten also causes inflammation in the gut, which can increase the risk of seizures. It's important to avoid dog foods that contain gluten, such as wheat and barley.

  2. Highly Processed Ingredients: Store-bought food is also highly processed using high heat, zapping the feed's nutrients and leading manufacturers to add synthetic ingredients to replace what was lost. Artificial preservatives and additives, such as BHA and BHT, can also trigger seizures in dogs with epilepsy, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. It's crucial to avoid dog foods that contain these ingredients. While these are the two aspects that have been directly linked to epilepsy in dogs there are several health benefits to switching to a real meat diet. Read our post about it here.


Nutrients to Include


Including certain nutrients in your dog's diet can help manage seizures and improve their overall health. According to a study published in the Journal of Veterinary Medical Science, omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in fish oil, can reduce inflammation in the brain and improve neurological function. It's essential to include sources of omega-3 fatty acids in your dog's diet, such as fish, flaxseed, and chia seeds.


Antioxidants, such as vitamin E and selenium, can protect the brain cells from damage and reduce the risk of seizures, according to a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science. It's important to include foods that are rich in antioxidants, such as blueberries, spinach, and kale.


A study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) can provide energy to the brain and improve neurological function. Coconut oil is a rich source of MCTs and can be added to your dog's diet. Read our post about MCT oil and epilepsy here.


Conclusion: The Best Diet for Canine Epilepsy


The best diet for canine epilepsy is based on evidence-based recommendations, which include avoiding certain foods and including specific nutrients in your dog's diet. Based on veterinary research and studies, it's crucial to consult with your vet and develop a diet plan that is tailored to your dog's individual needs. With the right diet and medication, seizures can be managed, and dogs with epilepsy can lead happy and healthy lives.


References

  • Berk, Benjamin A., et al. "A multicenter randomized controlled trial of medium‐chain triglyceride dietary supplementation on epilepsy in dogs." Journal of veterinary internal medicine 34.3 (2020): 1248-1259.

  • Law, Tsz Hong, et al. "A randomised trial of a medium-chain TAG diet as treatment for dogs with idiopathic epilepsy." British Journal of Nutrition 114.9 (2015): 1438-1447.

  • Patterson, Edward E. "Canine epilepsy: an underutilized model." ILAR journal 55.1 (2014): 182-186.

  • Potschka, Heidrun, et al. "International veterinary epilepsy task force consensus proposal: outcome of therapeutic interventions in canine and feline epilepsy." BMC Veterinary Research 11 (2015): 1-13.

  • Löscher, Wolfgang. "Dogs as a natural animal model of epilepsy." Frontiers in veterinary science 9 (2022): 928009.

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