Seizure alert dogs are animals that provide assistance to persons with epilepsy.
However, there are some abilities that a seizure alert animal must possess because not all dogs can be seizure alert animals.
In this article, you learn about the type of work a seizure-alert animal is meant to do and the best dog breeds for epilepsy.
Also, we further explained how seizure alert animals are trained, how to qualify for one, and also how to get one near you.
If this is the information you need, ensure you read this article from start to finish in order to get every detail about seizure alert animals.
Now, let’s get into details.
You may also like to read this article about Emotional Support Animals (Everything You Need to Know)
What is a seizure alert dog?
A seizure alert dog is a service animal that helps to warn its owners before a seizure occurs.
They are service dogs that undergo a series of training to help notify their owners of a seizure attack (epilepsy).
Although it has not been entirely proven, they can detect a change in someone’s body scent when an attack is about to happen.
As a result, before the seizure, they will bark, whine and showcase other types of behavior in order to alert their owner.
Let’s find out some of the work a seizure alert animal does.
How do seizure alert dogs work?
Seizure alert dogs work by displaying some of these actions to their owners:
- Maintaining close eye contacts
- Circling and pacing about when they notice a change in their owner.
- Pawing at their owner to get the person’s attention in order to prevent any seizures
- Licking their owners
- Acting restless
Now, let’s learn about the best dog breeds for seizure alerts (epilepsy)
If you are new to dog breeding, then you may like to read this Dog Breeding Guide For Beginners: What You Should Know.
10 Best Dog Breeds for Epilepsy
These dog breeds are said to naturally detect a change in a person’s body scent when a seizure is about to happen.
So, with them having these natural instincts they are trained to perform better at these tasks.
Some of the characteristics they possess:
- They are confined and sociable
- Friendly and intelligent
- These dogs have strong work ethics.
- Easy to train.
Below are the dog breeds that are commonly used for seizure alert dogs:
1. Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retriever is a breed of dog that is always used for various service animal roles and they can also be a very good seizure alert animal.
They are intelligent, easy to train and have good temperaments and also have the strength to help persons with medical conditions.
Also, they are more in tune with their owners and behave well with strangers in public.
Overall they possess amazing scent skills. As a result, they can help you know when an attack is about to happen.
That said, the males’ height is 22.5 to 24.5 inches while the female is 21.5 to 23.5 inches and they weigh about 55 to 70 pounds.
2. Golden Retriever
Another sensitive breed on this list is the Golden Retriever which is loyal, trustworthy, and friendly.
They are very intelligent to carry out any type of job as they are always among the best choices for alert services.
Due to their affectionate nature, they only care about pleasing their owners and they can adapt to new situations.
The Golden Retriever is a medium-sized double coat breed with the male weighing 65 to 75 pounds and the female 55 to 65 pounds.
The Male height is 23 to 24cinches while that of the female is 21.5 to 22.5 inches.
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The poodle is one of the smartest breeds and very good at being a seizure-alert dog.
However, they come in three types: standard, miniature, and toy.
They are easy to train, intelligent, and love to please their owners and they can be quite athletic as a result they can perform a variety of tasks.
Although this particular breed comes in small size and is sometimes difficult they still have a loving and loyal nature.
The poodle is a curly breed the standard height is 15 inches and above, the miniatures are 10 to 15 inches, and the toys are 10 inches and below.
While the standard weight is 45 to 70 pounds, for miniatures 15 to 18 pounds, and for toys 5 to 9 pounds.
Goldendoodle is a hybrid, a mix of the Golden Retriever and the Poodle.
This breed has the ability to sense a seizure attack before it happens because they have a Golden nature.
They are friendly, smart, affectionate, and loyal and they are social with other pets and good with kids and strangers.
Also, they are easy to train, very intelligent, and can help you get your phone, an alarm device, or medication.
This breed comes in a shaggy and sometimes curly coat and their weight varies from 45 to 100 pounds and to 30 pounds.
While their height is 22 to 26 inches.
5. German Shepherd
This is a breed that is frequently used as a service animal because of its unique nature and smartness.
German Shepherds are normally used as police and military dogs because of their strong sense of smell.
They are strong, intelligent, brave, confident, and able to focus and fit into any type of command.
Overall, they are more in tune with humans and loyal to help detect a seizure attack and able to also comfort after the attack.
This breed comes in a medium-length, double coat with a 22 to 26 inches height and a 60 to 100 pounds weight for the male.
While the female has a 22 to 24 inches height and 48 to 70 pounds.
6. Border Collie
This breed is another clever service alert dog that is easy to train, has a good temperament, and is loyal as well.
The border collie is a strong and agile breed and is always happy to perform a task for its owners.
In Fact, they are intelligent workaholics which is what makes them one of the best seizure-alert dogs.
They are medium-length breeds with an 18 to 20 inches height and a 28 to 48 weight.
7. Irish Setter
This breed is another good seizure alert dog that has a good temperament and friendly nature.
The Irish setter is an easy-going animal that likes to be around its owners and is good with strangers when in public
They are also very easy to train as they respond well to patient positive training which is an ideal trait for a seizure alert animal.
This breed is medium length with a 25 to 27 inches height and 60 to 70 pounds.
8. English Setter
This also is another breed that has a good temperament, just like the Irish setter, gentle affectionate, and a good companion.
The English setter can adapt to any situation they find themselves in and they do well around strangers.
Also, they are easy to train and like to stay close to their owners which is an ideal trait for a seizure alert animal.
They are medium-length breeds with the Male having 25 to 27 inches in height and a 65 to 80 pounds weight.
While the females have 23 to 25 inches in height and 45 to 75 pounds in weight.
9. Gordon Setters
The Gordon setter breed is a little bit larger than the English setter and the Irish setter but they, however, have similar characteristics.
One of the beautiful things about this breed is how loyal and good companions they are to their owners.
They respond well to training, they are gentle, alert, family-oriented, and enjoy an active lifestyle.
Gordon setter breeds come from medium to large with 24 to 27 inches in height and a 55 to 80 pounds weight for the Male.
While the female has 22 to 26 inches in height and 45 to 70 pounds in weight.
10. Golden Labrador
This breed is another perfect hybrid, a mix of the golden retriever and the labrador retriever.
With qualities from both ancestors, it is perfect to be a seizure alert animal.
This is because it has a perfect sense of smell and intelligence. It is easy to train and has a good temperament.
Also, they understand human nature and care a lot for their owners as well as being sociable with strangers.
Golden Retrievers are medium-sized with a 22 to 25 inches height and a 60 to 85 pounds weight.
Do seizure alert dogs need training?
Yes, they need the training to carry out most of the tasks to help people with seizures.
Without proper training, they will not be able to detect most of the signs a person who is about to have a seizure will display.
Now let’s find out the type of training an alert animal undergoes.
How are seizure alert dogs trained?
As much as alerting to imminent seizures is one of the natural abilities of a dog, they still need to undergo proper training.
There is speculation that during a seizure, there is a particular type of scent that the body brings out.
Although, it’s still unknown how a dog is able to detect this. As a result, this scent detection is what is put in place to train the dog.
Since this particular scent is not known yet, the trainer exposes the dog to a particular scent and then teaches this dog how to react when they perceive such a scent.
Here is how it works: they make a scent so strong and meaningful to the dog using a food scent.
By repeating this, it will create an emotional reaction in the dog whenever they detect the scent.
When the dog is able to strongly discriminate this particular scent from any other scent they pair it with an alert behavior.
Continue reading to learn about the things a seizure alert animal can do after undergoing training.
What can a seizure alert dog do?
Seizure-alert dogs can do so many things for their owner.
Below are some of the tasks they provide:
- Staying close to their owner during a seizure attack to provide comfort and support.
- Notifying a family member, a caregiver, or the emergency response system.
- They stay close to their owner to avoid injury from the seizure.
- Displaying alert behavior when they notice a seizure is about to happen.
- Help in obtaining a phone, an alarm device, or their owner’s medication.
- Turning on the light when their owner enters a dark room or opening the door for them.
Let’s find out how you can qualify for a seizure alert animal.
How do you qualify for a seizure alert dog?
It’s not everybody that will be able to qualify for a seizure alert animal.
Below are some of the requirements:
- You have to be 12 years of age or older.
- You must be a person that normally has frequent seizures at least once a month.
- The type of seizure you have needs to be visible to a dog.
- Be able to take care of the dog such as feeding and taking it for a walk.
- Your type of seizure has to be the one that can not be medically treated.
- There should be no other dog in the same house as your seizure alert animal.
- You must be able to participate in the training process for at least up to an hour a day.
Seizure alert dogs for sale near me
If you are sure you qualify for a seizure alert animal then check on how to get one close to you here.
Also, if you are looking for epilepsy foundations near you, check out this website for more information.
Video showing how dogs detect epileptic seizures in humans
The video below shows how certain seizure alert dogs are able to use their great sense of smell to identify seizures in humans.
Seizure alert dogs have lots of benefits they can offer to a person who is epileptic because they have gone through a series of training sessions.
They are able to detect when a person is about to have a seizure with this the person will have to stay in a place.
Although, not all breeds of dogs can be seizure alert animals as there are some characteristics the animal must possess.
Such as good scent skills, nice temperature, intelligence, smartness, ease to train, and ability to understand human nature.
That said, there are requirements involved in the process of getting a seizure alert animal.
So, you can scroll up and read up to get the full details on seizure alert animals.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How much do seizure service dogs cost?
Seizure service dogs cost from $15,000 – $30,000 or more depending on the breed.
- How Long Does it Take to Train a seizure alert dog?
The training of a seizure alert dog can take 6 months to 2 years depending on the type of task the dog is being trained to do.
- How long can a seizure alert dog stay with a person?
A seizure alert animal can live up to 8 to 9 years.