Feeding an epileptic dog

Feeding a dog on epilepsy medication

Some pets experience an increased appetite following starting treatment with epilepsy medications, so your pet is at risk of gaining weight. It is important therefore that their weight is monitored closely and their diet is appropriate (e.g., low calorie if they are overweight) and nutritionally balanced.

The best way to ensure your dog gets the most appropriate diet is to use a scientifically formulated diet, which has been nutritionally balanced based on extensive research.

Other than being mindful of the calorie content, it is also important not to suddenly change your pet’s diet without consulting your vet as a change in diet may alter your dog’s salt intake. Potassium bromide, one of the epilepsy medications used to treat dogs, requires dietary salt levels to remain stable – if salt levels fluctuate then the amount of the drug in the blood can fluctuate and thus result in either side effects (if the drug levels are too high) or poor seizure control (if the medication levels are too low).

For the above reasons, it is also important to be careful with what treats are given to your dog and avoid giving them scraps at mealtimes as these can often be high in fat and salt (e.g., meat, cheese).

There is some evidence that diets high in a particular oil called, Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT), may be beneficial to some epileptic patients. These are available as scientifically formulated diets or dietary supplements. Whilst these are unlikely to be a replacement for medication, they may be of some benefit in controlling your pet’s epilepsy.

To find out more about specific diet recommendations consult your veterinary surgeon.

Food and/or dietary supplements should never
replace treatment. Do not stop your pet’s medication
without consulting your vet!