Hello everyone, CEO Olivia here.
Stress & anxiety are recognized to be major triggers in epilepsy, both in humans & us good dogs. Not only can they trigger a seizure, they can make the event worse, with possible clustering. It is believed dogs can be triggered by their human being stressed out.
Methods to reduce stress & improve the emotional state of people with epilepsy include relaxation exercises such as yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, biofeedback & cognitive behavioral therapy. Some of these techniques can be adapted & may prove beneficial to dogs as well.
Trigger management is basically the recognition & avoidance of seizure triggers. A detailed journal is an effective way to identify triggers. Once a trigger is identified it may allow for their avoidance, or the use of behavioral therapy to eventually desensitize the dog to the trigger using controlled exposure if possible. For example, maybe your walking route goes by a busy intersection that stresses your good dog. Selecting a quieter route may eliminate a trigger. The overall health of your good dog is important. Any health issue or change in routine could create stress for your Epi Warrior. Cats used to cause me a lot of stress; I can’t tell you why but they did. Now that Jerry Underfoot is here my feline furiends do not create stress for me. He helped to desensitized this issue for me.
The use of behavioral therapy principles can improve the mental health of dogs which also leads to less stress. Simple things like daily snuggles or play time can keep stress at bay. Regular massage is both relaxing & a good bonding exercise. A dog who knows they are loved is a happy dog. Any training should be reward based not punishment-based. A shock collar should never be used. A steady, daily routine can instill feelings of control in a good dog which may also reduce overall stress.
Dogs with epilepsy usually exhibit behavioral changes before a seizure event (preictal). These changes may include restlessness, clinginess or fearfulness. It’s possible that relaxation based interventions during this pre-seizure stage may be effective in shutting down an impending seizure. Ocular Compression therapy is a good example as it releases chemicals into the brain that instill calmness. Calming music, essential oils like lavendar & frankincense can also help create a calmness in your environment
To sum it up, Dog’s like myself, who live with epilepsy may require a more calm & gentle life with a steady routine. Reducing stress & anxiety can possibly lower the frequency of seizure events. Personally, my huMom is always aware of possible cause of anxiety in me & we do our best to avoid stressing me.
We would love to hear about your strategy for keeping your Good Epi Warrior calm.
Have you sniffed out my free eBook Keep Your Emotions In Check?
CEO Olivia ❤