First aid for fits/seizures in pets

isolated cat dog and rabbit

Overview

  • Seizures can be distressing to witness, but remember your pet probably isn’t aware of what is happening to them.
  • Stay calm, keep your pet safe then call your vet for advice.

What to do if your pet has a fit

Keep your pet safe

  • Stay calm - this is very important.
  • Take children and other pets away from the area.
  • Clear a space around your pet so they can’t hurt themselves on any furniture or wires.
  • If they are high up on a sofa, gently move them down.
  • Turn off lights.
  • Keep noise to an absolute minimum.
  • Keep your pet cool - don’t wrap them up, they can overheat easily during a seizure.

Monitor the seizure

  • Time the seizure and make a note of how long it lasts
  • If possible, video the seizure to provide valuable clues for your vet.
  • Don’t try to restrain your pet - you might accidentally hurt them or they might accidentally hurt you.

Help your pet recover

  • Your pet will probably be very dazed and confused once they stop fitting.
  • Give them somewhere quiet and comfortable to recover.
  • Speak softly and gently to them.
  • Your vet will give you more advice about how to help your pet recover.

Call your vet

  • Call your vet straight away if your dog has been fitting for more than two minutes or has had more than one seizure in a 24-hour period.
  • Otherwise, phone your vet for advice once your dog has finished fitting.
  • Your vet may not tell you to bring your pet in right away – it depends on how long their seizure lasted, how many seizures they have had, and other symptoms they are showing.

Seizure information

Your pet’s seizure may have been a one off, or could have been caused by an underlying illness or the start of epilepsy. For more information about seizures in pets, read our articles:

Published: March 2020

PetWise Pet Health Hub – brought to you thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery 

Written by vets and vet nurses. This advice is for UK pets only.

Illustrations by Samantha Elmhurst