My dog twitches and moves in his sleep, is he dreaming or having a seizure? Should I wake him?

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Although dogs can have seizures while they are asleep, it is far more likely that he is just dreaming. Some dogs, especially when they are young, can be very active while they are sleeping and you wouldn’t be the first person to worry they are having a fit!

Here are a few pointers to help you distinguish;

* Most epileptic seizures in dogs occur while they are awake. They often have a period before hand of not being ‘quite right’ and once the fit starts, they will typically collapse and be unconscious.
* Even if they do fit during their sleep, most epileptic pets will have seizures at other times as well and so you will know that they have the condition.
* During a fit the dog general goes very rigid, their whole body is affected and tremouring and the legs often paddle as well. When they dream, the movements are less dramatic and they are generally pretty relaxed in their body.
* Also during an epileptic fit these movements are constant and can be quite violent. When dreaming, the twitching tends to come and go and affect different limbs and parts of the body at different times.
* Sometimes dogs will vocalise during a seizure, this can be very distressing for their owners as they will cry out or howl. When dreaming, they may make noises but they are generally quiet soft and intermittent.
* Many dogs lose control of their bowels or bladder during a fit. This is highly unlikely to occur if they are just dreaming.
* When a dog is fitting, they are effectively unconscious and you will not be about to rouse them until the seizure subsides. If they are merely dreaming, you should be able to wake them without any problems.
* After a fit has occurred and your dog comes round, they are often very confused, may struggle to walk for a few minutes and can even become aggressive. If they were just sleeping, they might be a bit groggy when you first disturb them but they will be normal pretty much straight away.

If you are still concerned, why not take a video and pop into your local vets for their opinion? They will be very quickly able to tell you if there is a problem or not. | 02.12.16 @ 14:42
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$commenter.renderDisplayableName() — {comment} | 05.07.21 @ 21:55
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