Why Is My Great Dane Having Seizures? (Explained) 

It is concerning when you see your Great Dane having seizures. Seizures, also known as convulsions or fits, are sudden and uncontrolled bursts of electrical activity in the brain. They can manifest in various ways, from mild tremors to full-body convulsions. 

Witnessing your Great Dane having a seizure can be distressing.

So, why is your do Great Danes have seizures? 

We outline the potential causes of Great Dane seizures, what to do and when to seek help.

Why is my Great Dane having seizures?

There are several factors that can cause seizures in Great Danes, which include genetic predisposition, poisoning, underlying medical conditions, head trauma and brain tumors. By understanding the root causes of seizures, you can take proactive steps to help your dog and also prevent the frequency and severity of the episodes.

great dane having seizures

Great Dane seizures

A seizure is a sudden and abnormal surge of electrical activity in the brain. During a seizure, your Great Dane may experience uncontrolled muscle spasms, loss of consciousness, and other alarming symptoms. 

These episodes can vary in duration and severity, and they can be quite distressing for both you and your dog.

Seizures are a frightening and distressing experience for both humans and animals alike. If you have ever witnessed a seizure in your Great Dane, it is an unsettling situation. 

Do Great Danes have seizures?

Yes Great Dnaes can have seizures, just as they can occur in any other dog breed. Seizures are not specific to any particular breed but can happen due to various underlying causes.

While Great Danes are not known to be particularly predisposed to seizures compared to some other breeds, they are not immune to seizure disorders. 

Is it common for Great Danes to have seizures?

It is not common for Great Danes to have seizures. Great Danes are not considered one of the dog breeds that are most commonly associated with seizures, but they can still experience seizures like any other breed. 

While it is not considered common for Great Danes to have seizures compared to some other breeds that have a higher predisposition to certain seizure disorders, seizures can happen in any dog regardless of breed.

The occurrence of seizures in Great Danes, as with any breed, can vary from individual dogs. 

Is it normal for Great Danes to have seizures?

It is not normal for Great Danes to have seizures, even though they can experience them. Seizures are generally a sign of an underlying health issue.

Related: Great Dane shaking (Explained)

What causes of Seizures in Great Danes?

There are several factors that can cause seizures in Great Danes, including: 

Genetic Factors

Great Danes, like many other dog breeds, can be predisposed to certain genetic conditions that make them more prone to seizures.

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that can occur in Great Danes which causes recurrent seizures. 


Poisoning can also cause seizures in Great Danes. Exposure to certain toxins, such as pesticides or household chemicals, can be a potential trigger. 

Environmental Triggers 

Extreme heat or cold, loud noises, and stress can all contribute to the occurrence of seizures. 

Underlying medical conditions

Underlying medical conditions can also be the reason behind seizures in Great Danes. These can include brain tumors, infections, and liver or kidney disease. 

Infections that affect the central nervous system, such as encephalitis or meningitis, can result in seizures.

While not common, brain tumors can occur in dogs and may lead to seizures if they put pressure on certain parts of the brain.

It is important to note that seizures are often a symptom of an underlying issue rather than a standalone condition.

Read more: Wobblers disease in Great Danes

Head Trauma

Head injuries or trauma to the brain can lead to seizures in a Great Dane due to the impact on the brain and its delicate structures.

When brain cells are damaged or scarred, their normal communication and electrical signaling can become disrupted, leading to abnormal firing of neurons and potentially triggering seizures.

This can also result in a head injury causing bleeding, swelling, inflammation, and disruption of blood flow.

Seizures might not necessarily occur immediately after a head injury. Some dogs might experience a seizure shortly after the trauma, while others might have a delayed onset of seizures due to progressive damage and changes in brain function over time.

Great Dane seizure symptoms

During a seizure, your Great Dane may show a range of symptoms that can vary in intensity and duration. It is important to pay close attention to your dog’s behavior and look out for the following signs:

Muscle Twitching and Tremors: One of the most common signs of a seizure is muscle twitching or tremors. You may notice your Great Dane’s limbs, face, or body shaking involuntarily.

Loss of Consciousness: Seizures often cause a temporary loss of consciousness. Your Great Dane may appear dazed, unresponsive, or disoriented during a seizure episode. 

Convulsions: Seizures can lead to convulsions, characterized by uncontrollable movements such as jerking, paddling, or thrashing of the limbs.

Salivation and Drooling: Excessive salivation and drooling are often observed during seizures. Your Great Dane may have difficulty swallowing or may foam at the mouth.

Urinary or Bowel Incontinence: Seizures can cause temporary loss of bladder or bowel control. Your Great Dane may urinate or defecate involuntarily during a seizure.

Changes in Behavior: Some Great Danes may show unusual behaviors before or after a seizure, such as restlessness, confusion, aggression, or excessive vocalization.

Types of Seizures in Great Danes

Seizures in Great Danes can be classified into different types based on their characteristics and underlying causes. Seizures that can occur in a Great Dane include:

Generalized Seizures: Generalized seizures are the most recognizable type and often involve loss of consciousness and convulsions. They can be further classified into two subtypes:

Tonic-Clonic Seizures: Also known as grand mal seizures, these seizures are characterized by stiffening of the body (tonic phase) followed by rapid jerking movements (clonic phase). 

Your Great Dane may lose consciousness and have convulsions during this type of seizure.

Absence Seizures: Absence seizures, also called petit mal seizures, are characterized by a brief loss of consciousness without convulsions. 

Your Great Dane may appear to be staring into space or exhibit subtle facial twitching during an absence seizure.

Focal Seizures: Focal seizures, also known as partial seizures, occur in specific regions of the brain and can affect only one side of the body or specific body parts. 

These seizures may present with various symptoms, including twitching, repetitive movements, or changes in behavior. Focal seizures can progress to generalized seizures in some cases.

What Should I Do if My Great Dane Has a Seizure?

If your Great Dane experiences a seizure, it can be a distressing and alarming experience.

Here’s what you should do:

It is important to remain as calm as possible during the seizure. While seizures can be frightening to witness, your calm demeanor can help keep the situation under control.

Make sure your Great Dane is in a safe environment. Move away any objects or furniture that could potentially harm them during the seizure.

Note the time when the seizure starts. Seizures can feel longer than they actually are, so having an accurate record of the duration can be helpful for your veterinarian. Note the seizure frequency, duration, and any other observations you make. 

Do not touch your dog’s mouth. During a seizure, a dog might involuntarily bite down. Avoid  putting your hands near their mouth to prevent accidental injury.

Also, do not attempt to restrain your dog during the seizure. This could potentially lead to accidental injury for both you and the dog.

If possible, dim the lights in the room to reduce sensory stimulation, which could help lessen the intensity of the seizure.

While it’s uncertain how much dogs perceive during a seizure, speaking to your dog in a calm and soothing voice might provide some comfort.

After the seizure ends, your Great Dane might go through a recovery phase during which they appear disoriented, confused, or even temporarily blind. Note the time it takes for them to recover fully.

If the seizure lasts for more than 5 minutes or if your dog has multiple seizures in a short period of time seek immediate veterinary attention.

Seizures can be a symptom of an underlying health issue, and early intervention is vital for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Diagnostic Tests for Seizures

When you visit your veterinarian for a seizure-related concern, they will perform various diagnostic tests to determine the cause of the seizures. 

These tests may include A complete blood count and blood chemistry analysis can provide valuable information about your Great Dane’s overall health and detect any abnormalities that may contribute to seizures.

Analysis of your dog’s urine can also help identify any underlying metabolic issues or kidney problems that could be causing the seizures.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans may be recommended to detect any structural abnormalities or tumors in the brain that could be causing the seizures.

Great Dane seizure treatment

Once your veterinarian has diagnosed the underlying cause of your Great Dane’s seizures, they will recommend appropriate treatment options. 

The treatment plan will depend on the specific cause and severity of the seizures. Treatment includes anticonvulsant medications to control and reduce the frequency and intensity of seizures.

If a specific trigger for the seizures is identified, such environmental factors, or stressors, managing or avoiding these triggers can help reduce the frequency of seizures.

Regular monitoring of your dog’s overall health, blood work, and medication levels can help ensure that the treatment plan is effective and not causing any adverse effects.


Seizures can be a distressing experience for both you and your dog, but with the right knowledge and prompt action, you can provide the necessary care and support.

Recognizing the signs of a seizure is vital for prompt intervention. By educating yourself about the causes, signs, and treatment options, you can provide your dog with the support they need. 

Remember, if you have any concerns or questions, consult your veterinarian, who will guide you through the process and help you navigate this challenging situation.

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