Should people with epilepsy have untrained dogs as pets?

Seizure. 2000 Sep;9(6):427-30. doi: 10.1053/seiz.2000.0429.


We report 36 cases of pet dogs, who suffered significant adverse health effects as a result of spontaneously reacting to, or anticipating, epileptic seizures in their human owners. These included three cases in which the dog died, and 12 cases in which the dog exhibited aggressive behaviour towards humans. However, where dogs have been specially trained as Seizure Alert Dogs, these adverse effects have not been seen. As interest grows in the use of dogs to anticipate human seizures and support people with epilepsy, it is important to emphasize the need for specially chosen dogs to be used, and for them to be specially trained. This also raises concerns about potential use of untrained dogs as controls in future research using Seizure Alert Dogs.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aggression
  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic* / psychology
  • Behavior, Animal*
  • Dogs* / psychology
  • Epilepsy*
  • Escape Reaction
  • Humans