This article was updated on March 17th, 2022
Has your dog fainted and peed on himself? This can indicate a few different health issues. Most will need your dog to see a vet sometime, soon but that may not necessarily mean that it is an emergency.
What could cause a dog to faint and then pee?
There are two different conditions that can cause your dog to faint, and pee on themselves.
- Seizures: If your dog faints and pees on himself, this could be a seizure. Dogs often pee on themselves during a seizure. Even if you do not see any convulsions, this could still be a seizure. Most active seizures in dogs only last between 30 seconds and 2 minutes (although many dogs will seem off and kind of out of it for 20 to 30 minutes after a seizure). It’s unusual for a seizure to last longer than 5 minutes, but if you do find that happening, you need to get veterinary help immediately! A prolonged seizure can cause severe complications, even death.
- Syncope: if your dog has a heart condition, his heart may not be pumping blood like it should, resulting in low oxygen in his body. This can cause your dog to pass out. It is common for dogs experiencing syncopes to also pee as a result of the event. Usually dogs who had a syncope episode will quickly return to normal. However, it is possible to see the effects for a few hours. Heart disease, heart tumors, or even emotional stress or anxiety can cause syncopes.
Dogs are more likely to have seizures when resting. They are more likely to experience syncopes when exercising or moving – although there are always exceptions.
Veterinarian tip: if possible, record your dog’s symptoms while they occur. This will likely help your veterinarian diagnose the issue correctly.
Is it an emergency or can it wait for a vet appointment?
Some dogs who have seizures will continue to have more seizures. This is because whatever triggers the seizure leads to changes and electrical misfirings in the brain, which take a while to settle down. If your dog fainted and peed because of an active seizure, it is best for him to go to your vet right away. Your vet will give your dog medication to help stop these seizures and start him on medications to prevent them in the future. Get your dog examined by your vet as soon as you can after a seizure to try to prevent him from having any more, as well as to find the original trigger.
Dogs who have syncope may also have pale or blue gums. If your dog has pale gums, we worry about your dog bleeding internally. If your dog’s gums are blue or purple in color they are not getting enough oxygen and need to see your vet.
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If your dog has returned to normal, and is no longer showing symptoms, this would not be an emergency and you can likely wait until the next day to see your vet.
What can I do at home to help? (or how can I prepare for the vet appointment)
At home it is best to keep your dog calm and not stress him. If you are calm, your dog will also remain calm. This can help your dog quickly return to normal. If you have access to an oxygen source, placing the oxygen line in front of his face without stressing him out can also help.
If possible, try taking a video of these passing out episodes. This will help your vet determine if the episodes that your dog is having is a seizure, syncope, or if something else is causing these episodes.
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