The first time you witnessed your dog having a seizure was likely a terrifying and scary experience. One option your vet may suggest is Phenobarbital for dogs… Hello, everyone! This week I want to talk to you about CBD oil for dogs. Specifically, I would like to address how CBD oil could significantly help your dog wit
Phenobarbital for Dogs: Dosage, Side Effects, and Natural Alternatives
The first time you witnessed your dog having a seizure was likely a terrifying and scary experience. Whether its a full body grand mal seizure , or a localized petit mal seizure, it doesn’t look pleasant. But once you’ve learned more about dog seizures, you will realize that they are not painful for your dog, though you probably still want to prevent them.
One option your vet may suggest is to put your dog on Phenobarbital.
So is it worth it to put your dog on this drug?
Table Of Contents
What is Phenobarbital?
Phenobarbital is a generic name for a type of barbiturate drug. Barbiturate drugs have been around for many decades; they were widely used in humans in the 1960s and 1970s to treat anxiety, insomnia, and seizures.
For dogs, Phenobarbital is commonly used to treat seizure disorders such as epilepsy. It is a very effective drug and also inexpensive compared to the other drugs with the same purpose.
Phenobarbital can be given to your dog daily to prevent seizures, but can also be administered to your dog to stop seizures in progress.
Phenobarbital is also available under the brand names Luminal® and Solfoton®.
How does Phenobarbital work?
Seizures often occur when there is a change in brain activity, like when sleeping or waking up.
Phenobarbital works by reducing the neuron activity in the dog’s brain – think of it as a central nervous system depressant. At the same time, Phenobartial increases the natural brain chemical called GABA, a neurotransmitter that blocks nerve impulses.
As a result, the dog feels more tranquil and relaxed after taking Phenobarbital.
Dosage of Phenobarbital for dogs
The FDA has not approved Phenobarbital for veterinary use, but it is still widely used. You must follow your vet’s dosage recommendation (usually based on the dog’s weight, severity, and frequency of the seizures) and instructions carefully.
You can only get a prescription for Phenobarbital from a DEA-licensed veterinarian since it is a controlled substance.
In general, Phenobarbital comes as a tablet to be given to your dog every 12 hours with or without food.
Missing a dose can result in your dog having seizures. Overdose can cause depression in the nervous system. Therefore it is essential to give Phenobarbital to your dog as prescribed and instructed by your vet.
Blood tests by your vet are essential every 2-6 months to monitor the level of Phenobarbital in your dog’s blood to make sure your dog is taking the proper and safe dosage.
Side effects of Phenobarbital in dogs
While Phenobarbital is a relatively safe medication, side effects can occur. Side effects to watch out for include:
- Increased thirst or appetite
- Increased urination
- Liver damage (long-term use)
- Loss of coordination
- Weight gain
Phenobarbital can cause liver damage (such as scarring in the liver) after prolonged use (over three months). In rare cases, it can even cause liver failure, which is why frequent blood tests are necessary for your vet to monitor the liver function.
How does Phenobarbital interact with other drugs?
Phenobarbital is avoided or used with extreme caution in dogs suffering from:
- Addison’s disease
- Kidney disease
- Respiratory problems
- Existing liver disease
The following medications can have interactions when combined with Phenobarbital:
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors
- Carprofen (Rimadyl)
The effect of Phenobarbital can either be increased or decreased when combined with many other drugs, including Keppra for dogs.
You should always consult your vet if your dog is taking one or more medications before being put on Phenobarbital to avoid potentially harmful side effects.
Are there any natural alternatives to Phenobarbital?
The natural alternative with the most potential is CBD. The FDA recently approved a CBD drug (Epidiolex) for people with rare forms of epilepsy that are not treatable with conventional seizure medications.
A small 2019 study at Colorado State University found that CBD reduced seizures in most dogs when combined with anti-seizure medications like Phenobarbital.
The best part is that the side effects of CBD in dogs are relatively minimal even at extremely high dosages.
The Factor that will improve your dog’s chance of success with CBD are to use a product with an appropriate dose of CBD for your dog’s weight, generally above 0.45mg/lb twice a day for oils placed in the mouth, and more for CBD treats or oil that’s swallowed, as less is absorbed that way.
Relievet CBD dog oils and freeze-dried CBD treats for dogs are designed to make it safe and easy to provide an effective dose of CBD for dogs between 1 – 200lbs.
If you decide to explore CBD for your dog, we suggest you do it under the guidance of your vet. This is especially important if your dog is already on seizure medications, as they shouldn’t be stopped abruptly.
Can CBD Oil Help Dogs With Seizures?
Hello, everyone! This week I want to talk to you about CBD oil for dogs. Specifically, I would like to address how CBD oil could significantly help your dog with epilepsy.
Before going on with the article, I want to let you know as a Canine Behaviorist, I work closely with veterinarians, and highly recommend talking to a veterinarian before implementing CBD oil into your dog’s routine to ensure it’s the best solution for your individual dog (remember, all dogs are different).
I also highlight CannaCanine’s CBD oil in this article. I do not earn any commission on their sales, but I have received a handful of different CBD products for dogs and their product is by far the highest-quality product. I am so impressed with CannaCanine’s product I have taken them on as a client writing content for their organization.
With this said, let’s move on to the article.
Did you know one to five percent of dogs have a seizure disorder? This may sound like a small percentage, but when you think about how many dogs there are, that’s way too many.
Watching your dog have a seizure is frightening. You’re watching your dog go through a traumatic experience. You feel out of control, and you’re not sure what to do to help them if you’re not familiar with this condition.
If your dog has never had a seizure before, you should still understand what should be done in case of an episode. If you notice your dog experiencing a seizure, try to be calm (keep in mind your dog can ‘feel’ your emotions) and observe his surroundings to ensure there’s nothing in reach that could cause harm. You should also watch where your hands are. Your dog could accidentally bite you as he or she will not have control over his/her body during this time.
When we adopt our dogs, serious conditions like seizures aren’t usually our main concern. But, learning about everything that could affect our dogs and how to help is important.
If you’re unsure of what a seizure looks like, you’ll generally notice: collapsing, stiff muscles, jerking movements, loss of consciousness, foaming at the mouth, and/or a confused gaze. She might appear as if she’s looking out into space… as if she’s in another dimension.
After a dog has a seizure, she might have a hard time walking on her own. She may be disoriented. You might also notice her bumping into things she usually knows are there.
CBD has become popular in the dog world. Not only has CBD been found to help with seizures, but with pain, sleep, anxiety, skin problems, cancer, and digestive issues, too.
There are 2 Types of Seizures
There are two types of seizures a dog could have; symptomatic or idiopathic.
Symptomatic seizures are caused from an abnormality inside or outside of the brain. This could be from lead poisoning, encephalitis, or some sort of head trauma.
Idiopathic epilepsy doesn’t have a cause, though. Idiopathic epilepsy is thought to be genetic. Dog breeds who are commonly diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy include English Springer Spaniels, Viszlas, Collies, Beagles, and Dachshunds. If you have one of the dog breeds prone to epilepsy, don’t worry yourself too much but just be sure to keep a watch for symptoms.
What’s the Best Way to Treat Seizures?
The medication that is prescribed to dogs with seizures has been found to help but may also come with heavy side effects including lethargy, long-term liver damage, and/or confusion.
One of the methods dog lovers are turning to instead of pharmaceutical medicine is Cannabidiol, or CBD. CBD oil is a non-toxic, natural, and effective form of treatment (of course, make sure you talk to your vet).
When you’re researching CBD and seizures in dogs, there are hundreds of positive testimonials. But, it comes as no surprise that CBD is met with controversy.
It’s important for you to understand CBD oil doesn’t make your dog ‘high’ like marijuana does. THC is responsible for the ‘high’ effect. And, there is little to no THC found in CBD oil.
If you’re a supporter of the medicinal effects of the cannabis plant, you may be asking why THC is not recommended for dogs. After all, we do recommend medicinal marijuana for humans who are experiencing serious medical conditions.
The reason. Dogs are extremely sensitive to THC. THC is the primary psychoactive component of a marijuana plant. Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of 113 compounds found in cannabis plants. The compounds, known as Cannabinoids, are natural and don’t contain any psychoactive properties or effects.
CBD with extremely low doses of THC may help dogs with seizures significantly, though. And, it has been found to be particularly helpful to dogs who are experiencing pain from cancer and/or seizures.
Dr. Stephanie McGrath is a veterinarian who specializes in neurology at Colorado State University. She is an advocate for CBD in veterinary medicine and is currently leading a clinical study on the treatment of epilepsy (which causes seizures). You can do your own research about her studies to see what she’s found if you’re interested in learning more about the effects of CBD.
CBD Dosage for Dogs
When you choose to use CBD oil for your dog with seizures, it’s important to start at the lowest dose possible. You can then increase the dosage if necessary.
The dosage of the CBD oil is also a discussion you could have with your veterinarian… especially if your dog is taking any other medications. You want to make sure the CBD oil won’t interact negatively with any medicine you’re dog has been prescribed.
The Side Effects of CBD
When you’re looking for a new medication for your dog, natural or pharmaceutical, you want to know the side effects.
CBD has no known side effects when administered on its own. However, CBD can have interactions with certain prescribed medication by inhibiting a family of liver enzymes, called cytochrome P450. This enzyme metabolizes more than 60 percent of the marketed medications we consume.
You can read more about CBD Drug Interactions on CannaCanine’s website. You’re able to look at a full list of medications metabolized by Cytochrome P450 3A4.
Testimonials Say it All
CannaCanine enjoys sharing testimonials so you’re able to hear real-world experiences about dogs who have used their products. Below, you will read a testimonial from CannaCanine about Blaise, a dog who was experiencing seizures, who had been prescribed pharmaceutical medication for treatment. His owner no longer wanted him to take phenobarbital… so she considered CBD oil. The CBD oil worked wonders on Blaise.
Please note, every dog is different and there’s no guarantee any medication, whether pharmaceutical or natural, will work the same for every dog. But, if you’re looking for alternatives, the research shows CBD oil may be worth considering … especially with the support from your veterinarian.
“Blaise started to experience seizures when he was just a year old. The seizures started to be mild and were few at the start. I thought nothing of it at first because they were so infrequent. When Blaise was around two and a half he started having partial seizures. These affected half of his body and he would suddenly tumble to the ground. This was absolutely horrifying to watch as they came often without warning.
To help combat his seizures I was recommended to give him phenobarbital. Phenobarbital is a common medicine given to dogs to help treat seizures. Several people told me to hold off on the phenobarbital treatments due to the ill side effects on dogs. I decided to wait before starting treatment to see if the seizures would return. By Blaise’s third birthday he finally had a full seizure. My worst fears had finally manifested!
Our vet immediately put Blaise on a high dose of phenobarbital for every 12 hours. Blaise became so drugged up that he would lose his balance and fall over. The worst of it was when he fell down twelve flight of stairs! I hated seeing him like this. His perky and fun personality was gone, replaced by lethargy and sadness. Blaise became a shell of the fun dog he once was.
A a nurse I had read articles on the beneficial effects of CBD oil on seizures. I started to research natural and alternative medicine for canines to learn more about CBD oil. At first I was cautious but decided to try it on Blaise. It was the best decision I could make! I was glad I ordered the CBD treatment. Despite the process of weaning him off of phenobarbital, the first dose of CBD oil made him more alert. Little by little, I got him off the phenobarbital.
Today, Blaise is seizure free and no longer taking phenobarbital. All thanks to CBD oil!”
Chat with Your Vet
I can’t emphasize this enough. Before implementing CBD oil in your dog’s routine, you should talk to your vet. If your dog is struggling with a medical condition, you want to make sure you have the dosage right. And, you also want to ensure your dog is a suitable candidate for CBD use.
If your veterinarian isn’t familiar with alternative medicine, you might consider contacting a veterinarian who specializes in it. You can find an alternative veterinarian by searching the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association’s website.
CannaCanine is 100 percent organic and non-GMO, two qualities you should search for in any CBD oil to ensure maximum quality. CBD that isn’t organic could contain pesticides and herbicides, resulting in more harm than good for your dog.
CannaCanine only contains two ingredients- organic MCT Coconut Oil and Organic CBD Hemp Oil. This is another factor you should consider when searching for CBD oil for your dog. Generally, the more ingredients there are in the oil, the lower the quality of the oil.
Why is coconut oil included? That’s a great question. Coconut oil increases the absorbency of the CBD oil. And, it can work wonders for our dogs. Coconut oil can help with itchy skin, eczema, cuts, scrapes, wounds, and hot spots. And, on top of all of that, it’s a powerful anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral.
I couldn’t wait to try CBD oil for my dogs after learning all the benefits. And, for a limited time, CannaCanine is offering a special promotion.
This year is the Year of the Dog, and to celebrate, CannaCanine is offering you 30 percent off of your store purchase. If you decide this could be a good option for your dog, use code YEAR to take advantage of the sale.
If you have any questions, I am happy to answer them. Please feel free to contact me via AmberLDrake.org or at [email protected]
If you have any topics you would like discussed, I am open to suggestions here too. I want to make sure I’m answering all your questions.