Seizure response dog

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"Epilepsy dog" redirects here. For other uses, see Epilepsy in animals § Canine epilepsy.
A Seizure Response Dog can be brought to restaurants or other businesses.
Service dog for a boy with autism and seizures calms him during hospital stay.

Seizure response dogs are a special type of service dog, specifically trained to help someone who has epilepsy or a seizure disorder. The theory is that dogs can smell a seizure coming on about 30 minutes in advance (prediction), and after the seizure they can respond (response), and either action is helpful to the person with a disability.[1] It however is unclear if dogs can actually predict seizures.[2]

Tasks for seizure dogs may include, but are not limited to:[3]

  • Summoning help, either by finding another person or activating a medical alert or pre-programmed phone
  • Pulling potentially dangerous objects away from the person's body
  • "Blocking" to keep individuals with absence seizures and complex partial seizures from walking into obstacles, streets, and other dangerous areas that can result in bodily injury or death
  • Attempting to rouse the unconscious handler during or after a seizure
  • Providing physical support (and the secondary benefit of emotional support)
  • Carrying information regarding the dog, the handler's medical condition, instructions for first responders, emergency medication, and oxygen

Additionally, some dogs may develop the ability to sense an impending seizure.[4] This behavior is usually reported to have arisen spontaneously and developed over a period of time. There have been some studies where dogs were trained to alert impending seizures by using reward-based operant conditioning – with partial success.[4][5] Some untrained dogs may help their owners, although there are also reports of dogs that have reacted aggressively or even died as a result of witnessing or anticipating their owner's seizure.[6]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Doherty, MJ; Haltiner, AM (Jan 23, 2007). "Wag the dog: skepticism on seizure alert canines.". Neurology 68 (4): 309. doi:10.1212/01.wnl.0000252369.82956.a3. PMID 17242343. 
  3. ^ "Questions and Answers About Seizure Dogs". Epilepsy Foundation. 2002-08-19. Retrieved 2006-05-30. 
  4. ^ a b "All About Seizure Dogs". Epilepsy Foundation. 2001-12-01. Retrieved 2006-05-30. 
  5. ^ Strong V, Brown S, Walker R (1999). "Seizure-alert dogs--fact or fiction?". Seizure 8 (1): 62–5. doi:10.1053/seiz.1998.0250. PMID 10091851. 
  6. ^ Strong V, Brown S (2000). "Should people with epilepsy have untrained dogs as pets?". Seizure 9 (6): 427–30. doi:10.1053/seiz.2000.0429. PMID 10986001. 

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