Keto Diet on Basenjis for Seizures? Would it work?

  • Hey everyone. A while back I had posted that my 2 year old basenji Hunter had been diagnosed with idiopathic seizures back in december, after having 2 seizures last year. Just recently had one about a month ago and had gone a whole 7 months without having one. This has started a pattern since the first two were roughly seven months apart.

    That being said we found some studies and trials done by the British journal of Nutrition back in 2016 on Keto Diets reducing seizure activity in dogs, including purebreds, mix breeds that experience seizures from idiopathic to epilepsy. You can read it here.

    They used Nestle Purina Pet Care Food that had 28%crude protein and 15% crude fat (*they didn't name a specific brand). Now switching kibble is fine and all, but my boy has yet to be prescribed any phenobarbital or potassium bromide to control them. Also, I don't like that it is for life once they are on it and very concerned about his quality of life if he were to start taking them.

    That being said I'm wondering if anyone out there has tried such a diet on their dogs and or if you are doing things to combat seizure in your basenji too? Also, is there a support group for basenjis with seizures? or maybe a dog group in general?


  • Hi Myles,
    My experience with seizures was with one of mine who I got back after his owner passed away.
    He had a brain tumor (not cancerous ),non operative due to its closeness to his optic nerve.
    He was on phenobarbital but when he came and was fine for months,I put him on a homeopathic
    remedy that worked for him and he never had another seizure ever again.
    My experience with the keto diet has been with my Rocky who was diagnosed with a tumor in his
    mouth,(fibrosarcoma). Diagnosed in May of 2017, he is now cancer free after my vet said he had 3
    three months to live. They wanted to remove his jaw and I wouldn't allow it. I'm so glad that the
    keto diet plus the 30 + supplements that he still is on has worked to keep my boy with me.

    I believe that our dogs and also us can heal if given the chance . Mother nature knows best and
    dogs where not meant to eat kibble. I believe that basenjis especially evolved to eat a nature diet.
    Kibble doesn't exist in the jungles of Africa,the natives fed them a natural diet.

    That being said, try the keto diet as you really can't go wrong. If you need help,just let me know or
    go to "The Truth about pet cancer" on YouTube,there is also info on seizures.

  • Diets

    There are several specific ketogenic diets used in people. In the 3:1 ketogenic diet, 87% of calories are from fat, 6% from carbohydrates, and 7% from protein. In the medium-chain triglyceride diet, 60% of calories are from medium-chain triglycerides, 11% from fat, 19% from carbohydrates, and 10% from protein. This diet is more palatable and does not increase blood cholesterol as much as the 3:1 diet. Patients are typically fasted for several days before being gradually introduced to the diet.

    It is important to realize that these diets must be rigidly controlled by specially trained dieticians and require extensive education of the patient and parent. Even the amount of sugar in a children's vitamin pill must be accounted for.

    Is the ketogenic diet useful in dogs with epilepsy?

    We don't know. There are no published trials evaluating the safety and effectiveness of a ketogenic diet in dogs with epilepsy.

    There are several potential limitations:
    Dogs are more resistant to ketosis induced by starvation, compared to people. As carnivores, dogs are adapted to relatively long periods of time between meals. Therefore, diets that induce ketosis in people may not do so in dogs. The type of epilepsies that dogs suffer may not be the same as those in people that respond to the diet. The safety of these diets has never been assessed in dogs. Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) is a fairly common and serious disease in dogs and may be precipitated by high levels of dietary fat.

    I am aware of several attempts at similar diets in dogs with epilepsy. In most cases, the client is simply adding a source of fat (such as cream) to the diet without severely restricting carbohydrates. It is important to realize that the total amount of dietary fat is not as important as the ration of fat to carbohydrates.

    In summary, based on the above considerations and the lack of clinical trials, we do not currently recommend a ketogenic diet in dogs with epilepsy.

  • Some solid info here. Just one thing I would like to point out; Dogs and their Cousins are OMNIVORES. Animal flesh encourages the growth of any type of Cancer Cell. When my B started to seize at the age of 12, I discovered she had Cancer. She was on Phenobarbital for a while even after the Cancer was removed. Her body had to readjust itself and soon she was seizure free. After her Surgery, I fed her Vegetarian food and she loved her Broccoli and also Carrots. She looked fantastic and at the time people thought she was a much younger Dog. I used PetGuard which I got at Vitacost, she ate everything so it was not a problem to change her diet.

    She lived 4 more years but then at the age of 16, she started again with the Seizures. The Cancer had returned and the Vet wanted me to have another Surgery. At the time the disease was starting to kick her butt and I knew she would never survive the Surgery. I gave her incredible Palliative Care and because the Mass was somewhere in her throat she could not eat any solid food. My Mom made her Chicken Soup and she also made her Split Pea Soup, I took her to the Vet every few days for IV nutrition. She would become all peppy when at the Vets and I was waiting for me to tell me she was ready to leave me.

    On the last day of her life, she did not put up a fight. She sat quietly on my lap as the Vet started the Sedative. She died as soon as the line with the Sedative was inserted. I had to hold my dead little girl so the Vet could give her the overdose, One of the worst days of my life. I had her through my late 20's to my mid 40's and as we all know the longer we have them the harder it is to lose them.

    Ketogenic Diets are an extreme diet for Humans and should be avoided (IMO) for Animals of any species. Please try a Vegetarian Diet as these Dogs eat EVERYTHING except things they know are a danger to them. Milk Chocolate, Raisins, Prunes are things they refuse to eat because they know these are toxic foods,

    Good luck, you are being a great B Guardian and anyone who has had one for the Dog's entire life know how stubborn they are, That, and their hilarious Yodels and their devotion to their 'Pack' are what makes this Breed the best. I have rescued about 23 dogs in my lifetime of various Breeds but I have a weakness for the Hounds. They are all very intelligent and affectionate. I paid 750.00 for my B in1998 and she was the ONLY animal I ever paid for,

    I take Owner Surrenders as far as Horses are concerned, I also take Owner Surrenders for Dogs, but the Cats have always just shown up! The Cats are always Tiny Tigers and you have to study their body language so you can get to know their 'Secrets'!

    Good luck! I am sure you will be able to have your B for a good long time, They are definitely worth the House Destruction in Puppyhood.


  • We actually discussed this article in my Samoyed Genetics group.

    They looked at the develoment of ketones (which is the basics fundamental way it is supposed to work with diabetics)

    In animal models, low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets do not produce ketosis or reduce glycemia but rather cause obesity. However, limiting both protein and carbohydrates as in a classic ketogenic diet remarkably reduces blood glucose in animal models of type 1 and type 2 diabetes and reverses diabetic nephropathy. <<

    There are a few Canine Epilepsy support group:
    Has a chat room

    This has been around since 1991:

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