Seizure Dogs: Breeds And Qualification

Are you one of those living with a seizure attacks from time to time? One help can come in a furry friend. A dog trained is able to let you alert when you are about to have an attack due to a chemical change in the body that occurs right before. This seems to be better than others at alerting you so that you can take proper precautions.

Dogs can be trained to be in a seizure response. They can help before and after a seizure, such as bringing a phone or your medications, turning on lights, and some other small tasks that are a big help.

How Does A Dog Sense A Seizure?

training seizure dog
Photo credits: Epilepsy Foundation

Dogs have a remarkable ability to search scents that no human can detect, such as epileptic seizures. We have long known that dogs can detect attacks in humans and, in some cases, 45 minutes before they occur. That is one reason why organizations provide service dogs as for people with such conditions.

Brief History

In 2018, an organization set up an experiment. They collected lots of samples of sweat and breath from people with different types of epilepsy. Different samples were collected during and right after an episode, while some were sampled after an exercise or while at rest. After that, they distributed and labeled them on different steel containers. Finally, they let the dogs one by one sniff the right specimens by giving treats if they got it right.

Process of Seizure

It is likely that seizures trigger a change in the body’s electrical activity. Those electrical changes can affect the composition of odor molecules that a person emits through sweat, breath, and likely urine. With the incredible noses of the dogs with as many as 300 million olfactory receptors, a dog’s nose is a hundred thousand times more powerful than our own. That means they can glimpse a few scent molecules among trillions of them.

Dog Breeds For Seizure

Here are the top dog breeds that are the best choices for people with seizure disorders.

Golden Retriever

This dog is intelligent enough to be great at just about any form of task. And they are usually the first option in any kind of surface work due to their unique ability to sense your feelings and needs.

Labrador Retriever

Following the golden retriever, Labrador is a breed that excels like the golden one at any kind of service work. It will stick by your side and can be trained as a seizure alert and respond stuff with excellent sense skills. Labrador Retriever can let you know when to expect a seizure and what to do after the situation.

Golden Labrador

This breed is often used as a rescue pup for service work, and it is a hybrid of the golden and Labrador that makes it popular. Commanding both best of qualities, the golden Labrador can’t only help you before and after a seizure, but it is also less susceptible to genotype diseases.


The poodle is one of the most intelligent pups. There are cases that poodles are excellent at being a seizure response team even if you can’t tell you are going to have one beforehand. Poodle can calm you and get you a telephone. It will also stay with you for comfort until help arrives.

Golden Doodle

Another excellent mix breed is the golden doodle that is a mix of a poodle and golden retriever. The Golden Doodle has the ability to sense your seizure beforehand because they have a sensitive golden nose. Golden doodle is also intelligent because it can get your phone and medications as fast as it knows where they are located.

German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is generally used as a police and military dog because of how well it can sense and smell different things. This breed is able to smell that chemical imbalances before a seizure and can alert you as well as comfort you afterward.


This is another clever dog breed. The collie can learn just about a thing quickly, and it is a gentle and loyal pup as well. Collie is an excellent dog and can make a superb seizure response while getting you a blanket, phone, or medications.


This gentle giant is fantastic as a seizure response dog. Their large frame makes them great for those who need mobility support, though their size can make them a bit more challenging in public.

How To Train Seizure Dogs

seizure dog
Photo credits: The Lancet

The appropriate disposition, like with any assistance dog, makes a lot of difference. These dogs must be gentle, quiet, and quite well in fundamental politeness. Seizure dogs should be oblivious to their environment but then never violent or frightened because many people will require the support of others during or after a seizure. The size of the dog is also significant because their jobs may involve fetching goods, dragging wheelchairs, and switching on and off the lights.

Step 1

Because dogs can detect millions of various compounds in their surroundings, the first task is to make the seizure scent unique and important. We know that the brain of the dog will fixate on what is significant and dismiss what isn’t. It would be great if you start by combining the smell with food. With practice, this will cause the dog to have an emotional reaction every time they discover the scent. The fragrance takes on the importance of the dog. The collected scent is then placed in a container, and the dog is taught to execute a particular activity whenever it detects it.

Step 2

This activity, known as the identification behavior, will enable you to gradually expand the criteria and introduce more similar containers until your dog is able to locate the correct fragrance amongst others. The discriminating stage is when your dog already knows how to separate the scent. Pair the scent-finding behavior also with alert behavior when the dog has been well taught to detect the smell. Such strategies include teaching your dog to scratch his nose anytime a trigger is present or any other little indicators that will not aggravate the seizure.

Step 3

To train the dogs, make sure they are rewarded with a treat. Do this whenever they exhibit appropriate behavior and are never punished whenever they screw up. This is vital if you want a dog that reacts quickly and must actively engage while its owner is unavailable. Many seizure dogs are taught to start barking if a seizure occurs. This is to alert someone or a caretaker so that they may provide aid if necessary.

Some dogs are also trained to keep lying close to their humans to save them from harming themselves. While others will posture beside their owners to block their fall and keep them from hurting. As their people lose control and fall down, these dogs grab them, making themselves a support cushion. Seizure dogs can be taught to activate alarms or other devices that signal some help or switch the lights on and off.

How To Qualify To Have A Seizure Dog?

Aside from your medical history and social status, there are lots of things you need to consider before getting a seizure dog. To help you with that, here is the general list to qualify for a seizure dog.

You must be 14 years old or older.
A person must experience at least one epileptic episode every month.
Absent Seizure, a qualifying seizure in which there is no visible manifestation to alert the dogs that they need to respond, may be rejected.
If the dog is additionally trained for hearing duties, the owner must have moderate to severe bilateral hearing problems.
You must be able to address the seizure dog’s mental, physiological, and financial demands.
Create a better environment by actively pursuing autonomy with their seizure dog.
You should live in a stable home setting.
There is no other dog in the house.
You must be physically and mentally capable of engaging in the training procedure for up to one hour every day.
You should live near the organization where you applied for a seizure dog.
Be able to order and control their seizure dog on their own.

Bottom Line

Seizure response and alert dogs are extremely useful assets. They give their owners love, affection, companionship, and support through terrifying and hazardous circumstances. They also act as constant buddies who fight loneliness because of some medical conditions. Many individuals with epilepsy and other seizure disorders are unable to have regular lives, and these dogs allow them to do so. Seizure dogs are true lifesavers in every respect.

If you are residing in California, here are the best breeds for you. Just click here.