Early Warning System for Migraine: Your Dog?

Could your dog warn you when you’re about to get a migraine attack?  Could that early warning mean taking medication in time, and averting a worse attack?

I know it sounds crazy to many of you, but your dog just may be smarter than you think.  We have dogs that warn the blind of danger, dogs that can sniff out drugs – and dogs that can detect early warning signs in diabetics.  Maybe a migraine-detecting dog isn’t such a long shot.

Dog with Baby

In January, an online survey was posted at Migraine.com to see if anyone had recognized changes in their dog’s behaviour before a migraine attack.  Over 1000 people answered the survey, and a full 54% said yes – during the initial phases of a migraine attack, their dog did act differently.

How did the dog act?  More attentive was the most common answer.  The dog was clingy.  Even pawing and whining and frantic licking were described.

In fact, 1 in 3 people actually use their dog’s behaviour to take their migraine medication in time.

So this doesn’t seem to be as far out as you might think – it’s actually something that a significant number of people have recognized, and are already doing.

These results will be presented at the 16th Congress of the European Federation of Neurological Societies in September.

Taking migraine medication at the right time can make a huge difference for a lot of people.  Maybe the canine connection is just what some dog-loving migraineurs need to fight those attacks.

via:  The Daily Headache

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10 comments… add one
  • Julia Goolia Jul 20, 2012

    My dogs are always clingy so they’d be useless prewarning me 🙂

  • My dogs and cats stay right by me if i’m at home when i feel one coming on

  • Sam Elvin Jul 20, 2012

    My dog sleeps on the bed with me when I have a migraine. The rest of the time he will only jump on the bed if he is told he can.
    I’ve not noticed any significant changes in him prior to a migraine, but for the last 3 months it has been chronic daily, so there’s no end to one and beginning to the next. If there is a break and I get a few good days, I’ll keep a watch on him before the next migraine kicks in.

  • Lee Kempin Jul 20, 2012

    Since an extreme Hemiplegic one 2 weeks ago my dog now walks by my side when walking. The attack happened on a walk.

  • Anne Elberfeld Cole Jul 20, 2012

    does anyone have any tips on how to get rid of the symptoms of hemiplegic migraine, other than aspirin. Like Lee, I have had several recently, back-to-back. Can’t see, speak very well, think, feel anything, etc. Imitrex and other meds DO NOT help these symptoms, at least for me. I’m afraid to even go out of the house these days.

  • Lee Kempin Jul 20, 2012

    Nothing works for me Anne, i just have to manage to get to a bed. I do take a preventative med called flunarazine 10mg at night that has helped, it has cut attacks down from 3 or 4 a week to 2 in 10 days, but they seem more severe but less frequent.

  • Aurora Aug 5, 2012

    My basset hound Ola behaves differently—like he’s quieiter and does not want to get in the way whenever I have an attack. He seems to know that I am in pain. But when I feel fine, he’s the same stubborn dog who’s always begging to play.

  • Fran Oct 3, 2015

    The German service dog center says that every service dog who can warn about low or high blood sugar levels, asthma or epilepsy can also warn about a beginning migraine attack. They are all said to detect a low amount of oxygen in the blood.
    As far as I know there are already service dogs for migraine, so I am wondering what is new about your findings?

  • Erik Knudson Oct 8, 2015

    I got my English Bulldog at 8 /12 weeks old. About a month later she was whining and barking at me in the middle of the night. When I finally was wake enough I realized I was starting a migraine. When I take my meds she pushes in next to me and stays close. Normally she sleeps on the other side of the bed. A few times the meds didn’t work. A hour or so later she starts to nudge me as a warning. I grab a second dose, but it’s usually too late then. The migraine has taken hold. She won’t leave my side until the worst is over. Love me pup so much. My life is so much better with her watching over me.

  • Karey Jones Dec 5, 2015

    My dog will literally curl up and put his head on my chest when my migraines are really bad like to the point that I should be in the hospital getting meds. He’s so protective of me in my most weakest of moments! He’s two years old pitbull mix the most loving compassionate dog that I have ever had the pleasure of being of her mommy too. He has gone so far as to playfully growl at my husband and my son if they get too close to the bed when I’m really sick. My husband jokes he never thought he’d have to compete with the dog!:)

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