A type of seizure condition that can develop in dogs focal motor seizure.

It’s often known as a partial seizure.

These seizures are aberrant electrical activity in particular parts of the brain.

Dogs teeth chattering is one symptom of focal motor seizures in dogs.

It is frequently described as rhythmic and involuntary tooth grinding.

Seizures can be triggered by a variety of reasons, including stress and excitement.

Here’s everything you need to know about focal seizures in our four-legged friends.

Understanding Focal Motor Seizures in Dogs




Idiopathic epilepsy

Muscle twitching, spasm


Brain tumor

Seizures and changed behavior

Surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy


Seizures and one-sided weakness of the body

Supportive care


Seizures, fever, lethargy, neurological deficits

Antibiotics or antiviral medicine and supportive care

Traumatic brain injury

Seizures, fever, lethargy

Stabilization, treatment of the injury, anticonvulsants

Generalized seizures affect the whole brain.

Unlike them, focal motor seizures affect only a specific region.

It might refer to a specific limb, facial muscles, or sensory route.

Depending on the part of the brain affected, focal motor seizures in dogs can present in a variety of ways.

Teeth chattering and face twitching are two common symptoms. [1]

This symptom can be shown in their ancestors as well – the wolves.

As the strong dog teeth are an evolution of the wolves canine teeth.

It is also possible to experience limb paddling, repeated motions, and odd vocalizations.

Seizures can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes.

They might happen on their own or as part of a cluster of seizures.

Some breeds are more likely to experience dog’s bottom jaw chattering.

Which can appear like a seizure.

Border Collies and Labrador Retrievers are two examples.

Focal motor seizures can be caused by trauma, brain tumors, or cerebrovascular illness.

Brain injuries and trauma deform the brain structure.

They cut down the blood supply by destroying viable blood vessels.

The loss of blood supply lowers the oxygenation of brain cells.

Also, acidic by-products build up around the cells.

This changes impulse transport, and signals are not transferred properly.

It can be influenced by electrolyte imbalances such as hypoglycemia or hypocalcemia.

Seizures can also be caused by liver illness and certain poisons. [2]

In certain cases, the precise cause of focal motor seizures is unknown.

Idiopathic epilepsy is the medical term for this disorder.

It could be genetic, although no specific genetic markers have been identified.

Symptoms of Focal Motor Seizures in Dogs

Teeth chattering or grinding is a common symptom of a focal motor seizure.

This recurrent jaw movement is involuntary and can occur on one or both sides of the mouth.

Dogs with focal seizures experience muscular twitching or spasms in specific areas.

These uncontrollable movements might affect the face, limbs, or other body parts.

They can seem as small twitches or as larger jerking motions. [3]

Small breeds are prone to focal seizures with motor consequences.

This can lead to chihuahuas’ teeth chattering, for instance.

There are a few ways to spot a focal motor seizure dog.

If you are not sure completely, you should contact a veterinary professional.

Changes in a dog’s behavior or degree of consciousness can also appear.

This can emerge as disorientation, perplexity, and restlessness.

Pacing, hostility, or unusual vocalizations are examples of symptoms.

The dog may appear distant or unresponsive in some circumstances.

A seizure in the motor cortex can cause localized muscle spasms.

It can also manifest as jerking motions in specific regions of the body. [4]

Sensory cortex seizures can induce aberrant sensations in the perception of inputs.

As a result, the dog may scratch or lick excessively.

Seizures in the temporal lobe can cause changed behavior, aggressiveness, and repetitive movements.

It manifests as shifts in consciousness, such as looking into space or disorientations.

Seizures in the frontal lobe can cause complex behaviors like excessive salivation.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Focal Motor Seizures in Dogs

  • Diagnosis of Focal Motor Seizures in Dogs
  • Treatment Options

Diagnosis of Focal Motor Seizures in Dogs

  • Physical Examination
  • Blood Tests
  • Neurological Evaluations

Physical Examination

The veterinarian will check the dog’s overall health.

He will search for specific symptoms connected with seizures during the physical examination.

They may also question the nature and frequency of the occurrences. [5]

Blood Tests

Blood tests are undertaken to rule out underlying disorders that may induce seizures.

This encompasses conditions such as liver disease, renal dysfunction, and metabolic diseases.

Neurological Evaluations

Sometimes, a dental disease can lead to focal seizures.

So, providing frequent dental care is crucial.

There are many advantages of professional tooth scraping in canines.

These tests aid in determining the organ function and electrolyte levels of the dog.

A comprehensive neurological examination is required to diagnose focal motor seizures.

They may also administer other testing, such as an electroencephalogram (EEG).

During a seizure, the EEG captures the electrical activity of the brain.

Keeping a seizure journal can provide important information for diagnosis.

Take down the duration and precise symptoms of each seizure. [6]

Treatment Options

  • Medications
  • Dietary Changes
  • Surgery



Common Brand Names

Side Effects

Dosage Range


Luminal, Phenobarb

Increased thirst and urination (polyuria)

Sedation and lethargy,

Liver damage (rare)

Increased appetite

2 – 6 mg/kg orally, twice daily


KBr, Potassium

Sedation and lethargy

20 – 40 mg/kg orally, once



Increased appetite

Vomiting or diarrhea

Polydipsia (increased drinking)

daily, or divided into



Mild gastrointestinal upset

Sedation and lethargy

10 – 30 mg/kg orally, twice



Loss of appetite

Sedation and ataxia (unsteady movements)


5 – 10 mg/kg orally, once



Sedation and lethargy

10 – 20 mg/kg orally

Anticonvulsant drugs are the primary treatment for motor seizures in dogs.

These medications regulate aberrant brain activity.

Dietary Changes

Dietary changes can supplement drug therapy.

A veterinarian may advise you to follow a ketogenic or Atkins diet.

These diets are heavy in fat and low in carbs.


It is critical to provide a safe and comfortable environment during seizures.

Some seizures induced by a brain lesion or tumor need surgical intervention. [7]

Usually, these surgeries are very difficult.

The intervention’s success depends on the patient’s age and provided care.

Before any surgery, make sure you consult with a vet about the possible risks.

Preventing and Managing Focal Motor Seizures in Dogs

Give your dog a balanced and nutritious diet.

Some experts advise eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. 

Foods low in artificial additives may be beneficial to brain health.

Engage your dog in regular physical activity and exercise.

Exercise relieves stress and can help prevent seizures.

Make your dog’s environment pleasant and stress-free.

Reducing exposure to loud noises and abrupt shifts can help to eliminate triggers. [8]

Keep potential pollutants away from your dog. 

Certain plants, chemicals, insecticides, and hazardous foods are examples of this.

To avoid accidental consumption, keep an eye on what your dog has access to.

Other Dental Concerns in Dogs

Dental health in dogs is important for keeping their overall health status.

Teeth chattering can be caused by dental diseases like gingivitis.

Eating soft and chewy foods helps bacteria build up.

It creates a biofilm that destroys the tooth enamel.

After some time, cavities are created.

They lead to symptoms like edema and drooling.

In small breeds, malocclusions can be a concern.

Their small jaws don’t contain enough space for all teeth.

So, teeth start growing uncontrollably and change the jaw structures.

This can cause problems in chewing and swallowing food.

However, these diseases are not connected to seizures.

But can cause similar symptoms and are differential diagnoses.

Is Teeth Chattering in Dogs a Seizure?

No, teeth chattering in dogs is not a seizure.

However, it’s crucial to keep an eye out for any further associated symptoms.

Teeth chattering, twitching muscles, or behavioral abnormalities are examples of symptoms.

However, not all symptoms lead to focal seizures.

For example, teeth chattering after yawning shouldn’t be a concern for owners.

By visiting a veterinarian, you can be confident that your dog will get the assistance he needs.