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10 Causes-Why do small dogs shake and Tremble?

24-03-2021 · If you are an owner of a small dog , you may often wondered and tense about your dog's shaking behavior, and you must want to know why do small dogs shake?

24-03-2021

If you are an owner of a small dog breed, you may often wondered and tense about your dog’s shaking behavior, and you must want to know why do small dogs shake?

First of all, you don’t need to be panic because, in many puppies, this behavior is natural; however, in many circumstances, it indicates health issues that need to be concerned.

In the article, we will let you know about all the possible causes and how to prevent your dogs from developing trembling behavior.

Why do small dogs shake?

Ideally, the small dog shouldn’t tremble except on certain occasions. Small pups aren’t properly socialized, and owners don’t think about proper training. Lake of early training leads the dog to stress anxiety and other behavioral problems.

Besides naturally-occurring of behavior, we are listing below the possible causes of why do small dogs shake?

10 Causes of small dogs shacking and Trembling:

1. Natural occurrence:

You may have noticed your pup’s body starts trembling automatically for some time. Such body shaking occurring due to some internal body response and consider as natural. The duration of such trembling will be less for some seconds to a minute.

2. Heat loss & Cold:

As compared to large breeds, Small dogs experience more heat loss because of their relative size and mass to surface ratio. In small breeds, the ratio of internal mass is less than the pup’s coat and hairs, which leads to extreme heat loss.

As small pups cannot create body heat faster, the loss of heat from the body makes the puppy feel cold and leads the puppy body to uncontrollable responses such as shaking and trembling.

3. Anxiety, Nervousness, or Emotions:

Some time in anxious situations dogs body starts trembling, it is a sign of nervousness. Your dog usually develops the behavior when a stranger or mailman comes to your home or due to the sounds of fireworks or thunder etc.

In such a situation, along with body shaking, your dog ears pinned backed and tried to hide behind you. you can calm your puppy by using dogs calming spray in this situation.

4. Worried or Scared:

cute puppies in garden

Like small babies and even adults, humans shake when they are worried or scared. Little pups are considered in a behavioral condition known as small dog syndrome, in which they are often worried and scarred.

Small dogs often tremble in the same situation when they feel a risk from any stranger, dog, or other animals.

To protect your pet from this condition, you need to train your pup and prepare them for socialization. Don’t reward your pup for fear. Many owners are feeling like they are showing love and protecting their pup, but they are usually training them to be fearful.

5. Generalized Tremor Syndrome:

Small dogs such as Chihuahuas or Miniature Pinschers etc., tremble a lot as compared to other dogs.

In some cases, this behavior is considered normal. However, excessive body shaking with other symbols will indicate that your pup is suffering from Generalized Tremor Syndrome. Your vet will diagnose and treat the health condition.

6. They want to go out:

Small pups shake, tremble, and look miserable when they want to go out. Shaking and trembling in puppies is also an indication sign of the puppy to their owners that they want to go out for a walk or to play.

In this situation, the shaking will be accompanied by scratching the door and whimpering.

Small dogs are usually hard to house train, so you need to select the easiest dogs to train. The behavior mainly occurs when they feel an intense need to pee or potty. How to potty train your dog?

7. Decrease in blood sugar level:

According to pet experts and vets, small pups are prone to low blood sugar, known as hypoglycemia. According to vets, hypoglycemia leads small puppies to Body shaking, weakness and lethargy, and possible seizures in rare cases.

If you are an owner of small breeds, you must keep some safe sweets like honey for dogs. If you notice your canine blood sugar level is decreasing, gently put a small amount of sweet in your pup’s mouth.

Please make sure you do not feed any toxic sweeteners to your canine, such as chocolate, xylitol and sucralose etc.

8. Indication of Health issue:

Many pets’ behaviors often indicate underlying issues your pet is suffering from. Shaking and trembling with other symptoms such as unusual eye movement, tilting, disorientation and dizziness, etc could also be a sign of health issues such as Neurological disorders such as seizures in dogs and White Dog Shaker Syndrome.

If you notice any of the mentioned symptoms, contact your vet for the diagnosis and timely treatment.

9. Your pup is  Hungry:

Little pups eat little and want food regularly as compared to large breeds. Don’t consider the same food schedule for your pup and your dog.

Puppies feel hunger after some time of the meal, and if they don’t get the food, there is a risk of low blood sugar which will lead your furry friend to body trembling.

10. Other diseases:

Dogs shaking behavior may also be due to certain illnesses such as pain, Addison’s disease, allergic reaction and skin infections, presences of mites in dogs and scabies in dogs, etc.

How do you stop a small dog from shaking?

cute white pup

To stop a small dog from shaking, you first need to know about the cause of the behavior. what should I do if my dog is shaking? You can follow the below methods to prevent your pup from shaking and trembling.

  • Keep your dog warm
  • Keep your pup relaxed and stress-free.
  • Properly groom and prevent from skin Allergies.
  • Make a proper exercise schedule.
  • Give some time to go out for a walk.
  • Housetrain your pup.
  • Make a routine health `checkup schedule.
  • If trembling worse with other symptoms, contact your vet.

Should I be worried if my dog is shaking?

Yes and No. Some dogs shaking are normal, and you don’t need to worry about it, and you can easily calm your canine. However some times, the behaviors indicate any internal issues which need proper medical attention. For the complete guide, please read our article.

Why do dogs shiver when not cold?

Dogs usually shiver due to cold, but some even dogs shiver in hot summer or in the warm room. Besides cold, there are many other reasons which make dogs tremble, such as excitement, fear, pain, nervousness, anxiety, Addison’s disease, etc.

Why Is My Dog Shaking? Causes & Solutions

Why is my dog shaking? It could be a variety of reasons. Often, shaking is a symptom of stress and can be a sign of anxiety, cold, fear, or pain.

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Dog Shivering or Trembling: Causes and Treatments

Dogs shake and tremble for all kinds of reasons -- excitement, pain, old age, even nausea. Shivering and trembling may be symptoms of something serious -- …

Many things may cause a dog to shiver or tremble. It could be from joy that you're home, or it could be from eating toxic foods.

What are the most common reasons a dog shivers or shakes? Is treatment necessary? And when should you talk to your vet?

Dogs shake and tremble for all kinds of reasons -- excitement, pain, old age, even nausea.

Shivering and trembling may be symptoms of something serious -- like poisoning, kidney disease, or injury. So, if your dog suddenly starts trembling or shivering, it's important to take note of other symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, or limping. Then talk to your vet right away.

A few of the more common causes of shaking, shivering, trembling, or tremors in dogs include:

Distemper. Caused by a virus, canine distemper most often occurs in puppies and adolescent dogs that haven't been fully vaccinated. It's a common cause of tremors in dogs. Other signs of distemper include eye and nose discharge, fever, coughing, and other symptoms.

Treating distemper generally involves supportive care while your dog's immune system fights the virus. Treatment may also include antibiotics, airway dilators, physical therapy, and fluids to help manage dehydration.

Generalized Tremor Syndrome (GTS). GTS is also called steroid responsive tremor syndrome or white shaker dog syndrome. First noticed in small, white dogs such as Maltese and West Highland white terriers, it can occur in dogs of any size, breed, or color. No one knows what causes GTS.

GTS symptoms usually start between 9 months and 2 years of age. Treatment generally consists of corticosteroids like prednisone. Results can often be seen within a week of starting treatment.

Nausea. Just like people, dogs can get nauseous from motion sickness, medication, eating too much, or eating the wrong thing, such as a toxic plant. They also can get nausea from kidney or liver disease, as well as other diseases. Shaking may be a sign that your dog is nauseous. Other signs include listlessness, lip smacking, swallowing or salivating more than usual, hiding, yawning, and vomiting.

Treatment for nausea depends on what's causing it. Poisoning is one cause of nausea. So, if your dog is suddenly vomiting or appears nauseous and you know what they may have ingested, call your vet or the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.

Old Age and Pain. As dogs get older, some develop tremors in their hind legs. Sometimes, the tremors may be in the front legs, as well. These tremors usually don't affect how your dog moves or walks.

It's easy to assume that symptoms like shaking legs are due to your dog "just getting older." But trembling can also be a sign of other issues such as pain. So, always talk to your vet if your aging pet develops tremors.

Poisoning. Several toxins or poisons can cause tremors or shaking in dogs. Some of these are harmless to people but toxic to your pet. For instance, items that can be poisonous for dogs include: chocolate, cigarettes(which can cause nicotine poisoning), and xylitol, the sugar substitute found in many chewing gums. Snail baits containing metaldehyde can also cause severe muscle tremors and convulsions.

Symptoms of poisoning can vary. They include tremors, weakness, disorientation, depression, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures. If you think your dog has swallowed anything potentially toxic, call your vet right away. Or call the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

Seizure Disorders. Epilepsy, a neurological disorder, can affect dogs. Symptoms may include collapsing, jerking, stiffening, muscle twitching, loss of consciousness, drooling, chomping, tongue chewing, or foaming at the mouth. Dogs can fall to the side and make paddling motions with their legs. Treatment includes medications to control seizures, such as keppra, phenobarbital or potassium bromide. 

Excitement. You really don't have to do much to make a dog happy. Just your coming home at night is more than enough to make some dogs shake, bark, even urinate with excitement. While dogs often grow out of some of these traits, you can help your canine companion calm down by keeping your greetings calm and brief. You may want to train them to sit before offering a greeting in return. 

There are other less common reasons for shivering, shaking, trembling, or tremors in dogs.

Chronic kidney failure can lead to tremors. So can neurological problems that may include inflammatory brain diseases. An Addisonian crisis, a condition related to an underactive adrenal gland, and demyelinating disorders may also lead to shaking in dogs. Dogs may shake when their anal sacs are full.

If you have questions about your dog's shivering or trembling -- or about any canine health and wellness issue, talk to your vet.

SOURCES:

Fogle, B. Caring for Your Dog, Dorling Kindersley, Ltd., 2002.

Brevitz, B. The Complete Healthy Dog Handbook, Workman Publishing, 2009.

Valley Animal Hospital and Pet Resort: "Senior Care."

Veterinary Neurology: "Wonderful World Of Neurology: Seizures, Tremor And Twitches."

Purdue University, Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory: "Generalized Tremors: Identifying a White Shaker Dog."

Veterinary Partner: "Winter Holiday Hazards for Pets;" "Poison-Proof Your Pet;" and "Distemper."

Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program: "Excitement Urination."

ASPCA: "Teaching Your Dog Not to Jump Up on People."

WebMD: "Seizures in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms, & What to Do."

Merckvetmanual.com. 

© 2021 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.
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  • Why do dogs shake uncontrollably?

    Dogs shake and tremble for all kinds of reasons -- excitement, pain, old age, even nausea. Shivering and trembling may be symptoms of something serious -- like poisoning, kidney disease, or injury. So, if your dog suddenly starts trembling or shivering, it's important to take note of other symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, or limping.

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    Many dogs, especially small dogs, shake frequently. There are a variety of reasons that your dog is trembling. Some of the explanations are benign, whereas others warrant an emergency vet visit.

    Let’s explore the reasons behind your dog’s shaking, and what to do if you notice your dog is trembling.

    • Dogs may shake or tremble for a variety of reasons. In some cases, the trembling is no cause for concern, but in others, it may signal that your dog is cold or suffering from a health problem.
    • Some of the health problems that will trigger shaking are quite serious. For example, shaking or trembling may be a sign of seizures or epilepsy, or it may even indicate that your dog is in severe pain.
    • If your dog’s shaking is unusual or has started suddenly you’ll want to go to the vet. Because some of the causes for shaking are serious, it is wise to err on the side of caution and solicit your vet’s advice.

    Should I Be Worried About My Dog’s Shaking?

    If you’re concerned about your dog’s symptoms, it never hurts to get the expert opinion of a veterinarian. Consider a trip to the veterinarian’s office, or consult a certified vet online and get their opinion on the matter.

    It’s especially important to get your dog in to see a veterinarian if:

    • Your dog is shaking violently, stumbling, or seizing.
    • Your dog is panting constantly or heavily.
    • Your dog is large or fluffy. Some small dogs (like Chihuahuas and small white dogs) shake regularly, but this is quite unusual in larger or furrier breeds.
    • Your dog is also displaying anxiety, diarrhea, vomiting, or signs of pain.
    • Your dog recently ate something abnormal, such as trash or unfamiliar food.
    • Your dog is shaking so hard or so much that she’s struggling to eat, drink, sleep, or play.
    • The shaking started suddenly or is unusual for your adult dog.

    In short, if your dog’s shaking seems abnormal or concerning, it’s best to go in and see the vet.

    While it may be no cause for concern that your Shih Tzu trembles a lot, the same symptoms would be more concerning for a Labrador.

    It’s worth remembering that there’s a wide variety in a dog’s tolerance for cold. I would be calling the vet if my husky was shaking in 50-degree weather – but I wouldn’t think twice about giving a greyhound or Doberman a jacket in the same weather!

    Small breeds and slender or single-coated breeds are more prone to shivering in cool or wet environments.

    As with most symptoms, it’s also important to know your dog. If shaking or trembling is unusual for your dog, or if your dog is “acting off,” it’s better to play it safe and visit the vet!

    Reasons that Your Dog Shakes or Trembles (And What to Do About Them)

    It can be really tricky to diagnose what’s going on with your dog, especially with a generic symptom like shaking. We’ll explore some of the most common reasons here.

    1. Generalized Tremor Syndrome

    Generalized tremor syndrome is quite common in small breeds like shih tzus, miniature pinschers, and Chihuahuas. Also known as shaker syndrome, this issue is characterized by full-body tremors, much like the dog is cold.

    This generally will show up in adolescence, but may get worse with age.

    Experts haven’t quite pinned down what causes generalized tremor syndrome, but it’s generally considered harmless. Your vet may choose to treat your pup with corticosteroids, but otherwise shaking might be a fact of life for certain dogs.

    Just like humans, dogs might shake or tremble if they’re in serious pain. You may also notice a single muscle quivering under strain or discomfort — this is often accompanied with a change in gait or reluctance to move in a certain way.

    Older or ill dogs might shake or quiver as they struggle with their balance. For example, my father’s 15-year-old Lab’s back legs generally tremble a bit when she gets up from lying down.

    Muscle fatigue — especially when it is associated with the long-term loss of muscle mass following spinal or pelvic issues — may also cause dogs to tremble or shake.

    If you suspect that your dog’s shaking is a sign of pain or weakness, it’s time to visit the vet.

    3. Cold

    Even the fluffiest dogs can get cold — though it usually takes borderline Arctic conditions to chill a Samoyed or Akita!

    If your dog is slender, thin-furred, or small and it’s below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (or even warmer if it’s windy or rainy), she might be cold!

    Try warming your dog up with a cozy canine jacket, exercise, or a change of location. If the shaking doesn’t get better when your dog is warm, it’s time to check with the vet.

    Many dogs shake from fear, anxiety, or even excitement.

    My own border collie has been known to shake a bit when he realizes that he’s about to go sheep-herding (his favorite thing in the world). Excitement can make a dog shake, but so can fear. Most of the shakey dogs in shelters are quaking from fear or anxiety.

    Keep an eye out for environmental triggers like the dog park, guests, feeding time, playtime, or any other external patterns related to your dog’s trembling.

    You can also watch for canine calming signals, which indicate discomfort or anxiety in dogs. Keep in mind that shaking and calming signals may actually be symptoms of illness or injury.

    Excitement may not be a huge problem, but it’s always a good idea to help dogs that are fearful or anxious feel more comfortable in their environment. Start by making the situation less stressful if possible, then feed your dog treats liberally to help pair the upsetting situation with good things.

    Don’t worry about rewarding your dog’s fear — you’re actually helping to soothe your dog by making a bad situation better! If your dog won’t eat, it’s time to get help from an expert.

    It’s worth noting that even if your dog shakes seemingly “all the time,” she might still be shaking due to anxiety. I’ve spoken to many clients who say, “Well, she isn’t shaking from being nervous. She shakes all the time.”

    That dog, in fact, was actually nervous almost all the time — as evidenced by the rest of her body language!

    One of the side effects of our reduced euthanasia rates in the United States (and elsewhere) is the increase of dogs that may have experienced serious psychological distress — trainers are seeing more dogs that are essentially clinically anxious than they did 10 years ago.

    It’s smart to speak to a veterinary behaviorist or certified dog behavior consultant to rule out fear or anxiety if you’re having a hard time pinning down why your dog shakes. You may want to consider dog anxiety medicine and talk to your vet about some serious meds.

    5. Allergic Reactions, Toxins, Bites, and Stings

    Shaking in dogs is a common symptom for various sorts of poisoning. Whether your dog was stung by a bee, bitten by a snake, or poisoned with bad food, this is a serious situation.

    You may not see your dog come into contact with anything dangerous. That doesn’t mean that her trembling is no big deal — scorpions, allergens, and just about anything else in this category can easily go unnoticed. This is one of the scariest reasons for a dog to start shaking uncontrollably.

    Often, these situations will result in violent shaking, drooling, pacing, panting, or vomiting. If you suspect that your dog was poisoned, bitten, stung, or triggered allergically, get help from an emergency vet as soon as possible. Time is of the essence in these cases.

    Call an Animal Poison Control Center ( 1-888-426-4435) and try to keep information on the trigger if at all possible (but don’t put yourself in harm’s way to catch a snake, scorpion, or other creepy crawly).

    6. Sickness

    Almost every sickness out there can include shaking, quivering, or trembling under its list of symptoms.

    From rabies to kennel cough to kidney failure, shaking isn’t a very useful symptom for diagnosing what’s wrong with your dog.

    Keep close track of all of the symptoms that your dog is experiencing. Take note of your dog’s activity level, appetite, pupil size, ear position, stool, and urine. Shaking and panting is generally a sign of pain or distress and should be taken seriously. Likewise, shaking and vomiting is a cause for concern.

    In particular, neurological issues and seizures — including partial seizures, which cause subtler symptoms that owners don’t always recognize as a full-blown seizure — can result in shaking and trembling. Both of these ailments can vary significantly in seriousness.

    It’s almost impossible to diagnose your dog based on just a few symptoms. Your vet may need to run a series of tests, including blood work panels or imaging tests.

    Some dogs “just shake.”

    If your dog falls in this category, you probably already know this. If your dog is new to your family and seems to shake a lot, ask the former owners (or rescue, shelter, or breeder) about it.

    Other times, shaking and trembling in dogs can be a serious symptom of poisoning or illness. While it’s generally easy to rule out cold or fear as a cause of your dog’s shaking, it can be hard to pin down the other reasons. Get help from a vet or veterinary behaviorist if you’re really stuck!

    ***

    Do you have a doggo who shakes and trembles? Has your pooch ever suffered from sudden shaking? Did you figure out why? Let us know what you found below!

    Dog Shivering or Trembling: Causes and Treatments
  • Why do dogs Shake, Shiver, or tremble?

    Dogs shake and tremble for all kinds of reasons -- excitement, pain, old age, even nausea. Shivering and trembling may be symptoms of something serious -- like poisoning, kidney disease , or injury. So, if your dog suddenly starts trembling or shivering, it's important to take note of other symptoms such as diarrhea , vomiting , or limping.

    If you’ve seen your dog experience tremors throughout their body, you might be wondering, why is my dog shaking?

    When we talk about shaking in dogs, we don’t mean the whole-body shake that you see when a dog shakes their body to dry off after they’ve had a bath or been in water.

    We’re also not talking about dogs that shake their head and scratch their ears when they have an itch or an ear infection. In this article, shaking refers to tremors through the entire body.

    There are several different causes of this type of shaking in dogs, ranging from medical issues to behavioral responses. Here’s some important information about why dogs shake, which dog­ breeds might be predisposed­­­ to shaking, and when it’s considered to be an emergency.

    Why Do Dogs Shake?

    We separate the shaking in dogs into two broad categories:

    • Medical or Physical: Shaking as a clinical sign that’s associated with a medical or physical condition

    • Behavioral: Shaking as a physiological response that dogs may exhibit when they are emotional

    Physical Conditions That Cause Shaking in Dogs

    Various physical conditions can cause a dog to shake or tremble.

    Dogs shiver sometimes when they are cold. The body tremors help with thermoregulation.

    Dogs can also shake when they are experiencing pain. The pain dogs feel can be caused by trauma, inflammation, or infection. Dogs do not always vocalize when they are experiencing pain; they may simply endure it, and the only visible sign might be the body tremors.

    Neurological Diseases That Cause Dogs to Shake

    There are several neurological conditions that cause shaking in dogs.

    Dogs with a seizure-related disorder can experience mild body tremors to whole-body convulsions. Seizures can occur in any breed of dogs.

    Certain neurological disorders are congenital (present at birth), such as cerebellar hypoplasia, shaker syndrome, and shaking puppy syndrome.

    Cerebellar Hypoplasia

    Cerebellar hypoplasia is caused by the incomplete development of the cerebellum (the part of the brain that is responsible for the coordination and regulation of voluntary muscular movement). This condition is usually seen in puppies when they first start to stand and walk.

    The clinical signs include head bobbing, falling over, and tremors in their limbs. There is a hereditary component noted in certain breeds such as Chow Chows, Airedale Terriers, Boston Terriers, and Bull Terriers.

    Shaker Syndrome

    Shaker syndrome, also known as generalized tremor syndrome (GTS), often occurs in dogs with white fur, such as Maltese and West Highland White Terriers. This condition has also been diagnosed in other dogs with different coat colors.

    Shaker syndrome causes the whole body to shake, and it is associated with inflammation of the central nervous system. It is typically noted in young to middle aged dogs.

    Shaking Puppy Syndrome

    Shaking puppy syndrome, also known as hypomyelination, typically occurs in puppies, even as early as 2 weeks of age. The signs include body tremors, issues with balance and coordination, and having trouble walking.

    In this condition, not enough myelin is produced, which is the protective sheath that covers the nerves. Breeds affected by this disease include male Welsh Springer Spaniels, male Samoyeds, Chow Chows, Weimaraners, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Dalmatians, Golden Retrievers, and lurchers.

    Only the male Samoyed and Springer spaniel puppies are affected by this condition. The female puppies of these two breeds do not experience the physical signs of this condition.

    Medication/Toxin-Induced Shaking

    The ingestion of certain substances, such as marijuana or chocolate, can lead to dogs shaking, in addition to a variety of other clinical signs.

    Some dogs are sensitive to certain flea and tick medications, and they may experience body tremors and seizures when these medications are used.

    Some dogs may shake when they are recovering from anesthesia after a dental or surgical procedure. Other dogs may experience shaking when placed on psychotropic medications.

    Diseases That Cause Shaking in Dogs

    The following medical conditions can also produce shaking/tremors:

    • Hypoadrenocorticism (Addison’s disease) is an endocrine disorder that can cause lethargy, vomiting, and shaking in dogs.

    • Dogs with hypocalcemia, which is low calcium concentration, can experience muscle trembling and seizures.

    • Dogs with hypoglycemia, which is low blood sugar, can experience muscle twitching and seizures.

    • Dogs with distemper, an infectious viral disease, may exhibit muscle tremors as one of the clinical signs of the disease.

    Behavioral Causes for Shaking in Dogs

    Dogs that are fearful, anxious, or stressed can all exhibit shaking. This is a physiological response to a real or perceived threat.

    Fear is a crucial response that aids in survival. It is part of the fight or flight response. Anxiety occurs when the dog anticipates that a threat or danger may occur. Stress is a demand or challenge to a dog’s body that creates an imbalance. Dogs experiencing high levels of stress can also exhibit shaking.

    When a threatening trigger occurs, information is sent to the amygdala, which is the part of the brain that processes emotions. The fear response sends a cascade of reactions through the brain and body.

    Cortisol and adrenaline are released, which aid a dog’s body in fight or flight. They cause increased respiratory and heart rate, dilation of the pupils, relaxation of the bladder, constriction of many blood vessels, slowed digestion, and shaking.

    Dogs can also shake due to excitement, an indication of mental arousal. The mental arousal can be either a positive or negative emotional response.

    Should You Call Your Veterinarian Immediately if Your Dog Is Shaking?

    Try to identify the possible cause for the shaking. Did your puppy or dog recently eat something? Was the shaking triggered by a loud noise outside your house? Did you recently give your dog medication? If you have any doubts, contact your veterinarian.

    When your puppy or adult dog starts to shake, make sure that they are kept in a warm location and that they are not cold to the touch. A young puppy that does not feel cold and is persistently shaking should be examined by your veterinarian.

    Are there other symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, etc.? If your adult dog exhibits shaking along with other physical signs, like lethargy, vomiting, discharge from the eyes or nose, or leaking urine, they should be examined by your veterinarian.

    If your dog only shakes when they hear a loud noise, such as thunder or fireworks, or when the bus goes by on his walk, you should seek a consultation with a veterinary behaviorist (a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists or DACVB) or certified applied animal behaviorist (CAAB). Just to be safe, rule out any medical conditions by seeing your vet, and at the appointment, ask for a referral to a veterinary or animal behaviorist.

    Featured Image: iStock.com/Coica

    Dog Shivering or Trembling: Causes and Treatments
  • Why do dogs shake off randomly?

    “In some cases, dogs will shake-off because they are uncomfortable, itchy or have a skin or ear problem,” says Benson. This type of shake-off is often accompanied by scratching or pawing at the source of the discomfort. Sometimes, a dog will shake-off mental discomfort.
    Why Do Dogs Do Those Random Shake-Offs?
Why is my dog shaking? When to worry

The essentials Shivering is common — Sometimes dogs are cold or scared. Shivering isn’t usually serious, but that doesn’t mean you... Stress, anxiety, and fear are common culprits — Learn how to help your pup feel calm and comfortable to stop their... Know when to call the vet — If your dog is ...

  • Shivering is common — Sometimes dogs are cold or scared. Shivering isn’t usually serious, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it.
  • Stress, anxiety, and fear are common culprits — Learn how to help your pup feel calm and comfortable to stop their shaking.
  • Know when to call the vet — If your dog is shaking constantly or they have other symptoms of illness such as vomiting or loss of appetite, you should make a vet appointment ASAP.

Have you noticed that your pup is shaking uncontrollably? It’s not an uncommon sight, but it can be a bit frightening and make you wonder if your dog is okay. There are many things that may be causing your dog to shake. Some of them are easy to stop, while others may be a sign that your pup should see the vet.

Learn about some of the common reasons why dogs shake or tremble (sometimes referred to as “tremors” in dogs).

When it’s normal for your dog to shake

They’re cold. Low body temperature makes dogs shiver. Dogs that don’t have a thick undercoat may need a sweater or coat in the winter (we love this windproof jacket for pups). If your dog is cold, first wrap them in a blanket (you can also warm the blanket in the dryer). Then, make sure to give them access to water. Also, look out for the signs of hypothermia in dogs: shaking, lethargy, and shortness of breath.

👉 Never leave your dog outside during cold weather — here are some additional cold weather tips for your pet.

They’re anxious or stressed. Stress and anxiety affect many dogs, and it can be caused by almost anything. Common reasons for stress are a change in routine, the presence of an unfamiliar person or animal, or even their owner’s stress. If your dog is shaking due to stress, try to keep them on a regular routine, give lots of attention, and ensure your pup is getting enough daily exercise. Though these remedies are effective in mild cases, if these don’t help then you should bring your dog to the vet for help. 

They’re scared. Just like kids, dogs tend to be frightened by loud noises including fireworks, thunderstorms, and sometimes even the garbage truck. Dogs that feel fear will whimper, bark, and sometimes shake.

They’re drying off. Out of all the reasons your dog might shake, this is the one that should concern you the least — unless they get water all over your walls while doing it! Dogs have thick fur coats that can hold lots of water. So, when they’re wet, the quickest and most effective way to dry off is to shake that water off of their coats. Dogs can shake off as much as 70% of the water in their fur in just 4 seconds!

👉 If your dog is excessively shaking and you don’t know why, always contact your veterinarian.

Toy and small terrier breeds shiver more than others when they’re cold, so you may have to take extra steps to keep your small dog warm (like a dog coat in the winter). Older dogs, too, are more prone to shivering.

Ear problems. If you notice your dog shaking their head excessively, they could have an ear infection. While all dog breeds can get ear infections, some breeds such as cocker spaniels, bassett hounds, and golden retrievers are more prone to them than others.

Pain. Shaking could be a response to back or neck pain. If you think your dog might be in pain, check out our guide to treating pain in dogs at home. You may also want to make an appointment with your vet if the pain seems to be ongoing or serious.

Neurological and medical conditions. Distemper, Generalized Tremor Syndrome, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), and seizure disorders, are among a few illnesses that can cause tremors in dogs. If you’ve ruled out more common causes, it’s time to take your pup to the vet. They will examine your pet and help determine if your dog may have one of these conditions or need a change in their medications.

Toxic causes. Sometimes, tremors in dogs are caused by toxins or medicine overdoses. Common toxins include chocolate, permethrin (an insecticide), and xylitol. You can find an exhaustive list of less common toxic substances from the ASPCA.

🚨 If you think your dog consumed something toxic, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control (888) 426-4435. Never induce vomiting unless instructed to do so by the hotline operator.

Sometimes, it’s hard to know what’s causing your dog’s tremors. With so many potential causes, it can be hard to rule out something more serious. However, if you see muscle tremors and it’s accompanied by any of these additional signs of sickness, you should contact a vet immediately:

  • Heavy panting
  • Throwing up
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vocalizing pain (whimpering, yelping, etc)
  • Limping
  • Diarrhea

📷 by Robert Thiemann

If you think that your dog is shaking due to behavioral or medical reasons, it’s important to consult with your vet. If your dog is shaking uncontrollably or has tremors that last for hours or come and go over the course of days, call your vet.

They’re your most valuable tool for evaluating, diagnosing, and treating tremors that seem unusual. They will examine your pet and rule out potential causes and recommend the best treatment for your pet.

If you believe your dog may have consumed something poisonous, it’s best to be cautious and call the poison control hotline. If everything turns out fine, you may feel like you overreacted — the risks of underreacting, though, are too great.

The most likely reason your dog is shaking is from fear, stress, or anxiety. Here are some ways you can help your dog feel safe and calm from home.

Cover up — A blanket or dog jacket can help them feel safe and protected, much like humans with weighted blankets. This also helps cold dogs hold body heat and warm up quicker.

Give affection — Helping your dog’s anxiety sometimes only requires attention. Walk them, sit with them, and play with them, and the tremors may subside.

Try a calming supplement — Here’s a list of supplements and treats that’ll help anxious dogs relax. We love the organic ingredients in Premium Care’s Calming Chews.

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👉 Be sure to always check with your vet before introducing a new supplement to your dog’s diet.

Be proactive — If you know the weather calls for thunder and lightning, or if there’s an upcoming holiday where neighbors will use fireworks, make a plan to help your dog feel safe before the event. That way, you’re ready to help them calm down right away.

Keep a normal routine — Dogs thrive on routine, and some pups might experience anxiety when their normal routine is suddenly interrupted. You don’t have to be too strict, even just a bit of regularity can go a long way.

Talk to your vet — If your dog’s anxiety seems to be severe, ongoing, or isn’t remedied quickly, consult with your vet to see if medications for anxiety might be necessary.

Why Do Small Dogs Shake

04-07-2020 · Small dogs shake when they are feeling cold. This is a natural physiological response to keep the body warmer by improving blood circulation. Small dog breeds have a higher skin-to-body volume ratio. Simply put, they have more skin, as compared to bigger breeds, and lose body heat quicker.

04-07-2020
Why Do Small Dogs Shake

If you have a Bichon Frise, a Beagle, a Chihuahua, or any of the other small dog breeds, you may have often wondered, “Why do small dogs shake?” Most of the time when your pet shakes it is for perfectly natural reaction to something in its environment, and not a cause for worry. This behavior can reflect a physiological and emotional response to stimuli.

It is Getting Chilly

If there is a slight dip in the temperature, your dog is likely to notice it before you do. Small dogs shake when they are feeling cold. This is a natural physiological response to keep the body warmer by improving blood circulation.

Small dog breeds have a higher skin-to-body volume ratio. Simply put, they have more skin, as compared to bigger breeds, and lose body heat quicker. A light sweater or blanket would be useful in warming your pet, or you could hug it gently to stop the trembling.

They are Emotional

Little dogs shake when they are nervous or feel anxious. If you notice that your pet’s ears are pinned back and it is trembling, it is probably scared of something in its environment. It could be a guest, another animal, or the sound of fireworks that has upset your dog.

Petting your dog will help reassure it. You can also put a drop of lavender on in its bedding, as the scent is proven to soothe animals. Do not put more than a drop as your dog’s sense of smell is far more sensitive than a person’s.

Small dogs tremble in anticipation when they are excited. Your pet may shake with delight when it hears you at the door, or when it is ready to go out in the car or visit a dog friend. When riding in the car your pet should be in a carrier, or safely secured with a harness.

Why Do Small Dogs Shake

They are Hungry

Small dog breeds tend to have low blood sugar, and they must be fed on time. This is especially true for puppies that are less than three months old and are not able to effectively regulate blood sugar levels. If your dog is shaking, looks lethargic or weak, it requires food to help the blood sugar levels rise.

Nature’s Call

Little dogs often shake and look miserable when they need to go out to attend to nature’s calls. Such trembling may also be accompanied by whimpering and scratching the door.  If it is raining or snowing, it is likely that your pet does not want to get wet but needs to go out quite badly. You could get your dog a raincoat or use an umbrella to shield you both from the rain or snow.

A Cause for Worry

Small dogs shake when they are cold, excited, or nervous, or if they need to go out. You also need to pay attention to other symptoms and cues. When a dog avoids contact, is hunched over and trembling, and its eyes look glassy, it is most likely in pain and requires medical attention.

If a dog shows signs that suggest that it is disoriented or dizzy, or if it shows unusual eye movement, it may be indicative of a neurological condition. It is best to consult with a veterinarian without delay.

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Why Is My Dog Shaking? 6 Common Causes for the Shivers

If you're noticed your dog shaking and shivering, you're probably wondering if there is something wrong. Learn common reasons why and what you can do.

Even dogs bundled up in adorable sweaters and hats can experience shakes and shivers. That's because chilly temperatures aren't the only thing that causes our furry friends — and us! — to tremble.

Dogs often shake for harmless reasons, but sometimes their shivering can be a cry for help. But what causes a dog to shiver? And when should you take action? Here are six common reasons why dogs get shaky and what you can do to help.

1. Cold

Shih Tzu wrapped up in a brown scarf on a couch.The simplest answer for, "Why is my dog shaking?" is that they're cold. Shivering in frigid environments is an involuntary response designed to get the blood pumping in order to raise body temperature and prevent hypothermia. Smaller dogs, such as Chihuahuas, may be more prone to shivering than larger breeds due to their lack of body mass and insulation, explains Wag!.

What you should do: If your dog doesn't fare well in the cold, consider limiting their exposure. A dog sweater or coat can also help them stay warm and ease shivers. Also, give them a warm place to curl up; a dog bed near a heating vent with a warm blanket can do just the trick on a cold night.

2. Excitement

Some dogs shiver when they're happy or excited. No one is sure why, but one theory is that it's an outward manifestation of intense emotion. There's no danger in this type of shivering; it will most likely stop once they calm down.

What you should do: You can safely ignore this type of shivering in most cases. However, dog behavior expert Cesar Millan warns in his blog, Cesar's Way, that your pooch could become overexcited and hyperactive if this behavior isn't reined in. He recommends rewarding your pup for relaxed behavior and looking away when they're acting out.

3. Stress, Anxiety and Fear

Other intense emotions that can cause shivers are fear and anxiety. While shivering, in this case, isn't harmful in and of itself, stress isn't any better for your dog than it is for you.

What you should do: Do your best to reassure your dog and, if possible, remove the source of the stress. If your dog is prone to shaking during thunderstorms, for example, try to help them stay calm by introducing therapeutic toys or masking the sounds of thunder. In general, if you notice something consistently turns your pup into a shaking state, try to redirect their attention. Dogs are also very perceptive and if you are stressed, anxious or afraid, they are very good at mimicking your emotions. In certain situations, when you remain calm and ignore a stressor in your house, your dog can pick up on it and learn that it's nothing to be anxious about.

4. Seeking Attention

However, if you rush to comfort your dog every time they're shaking, they may learn that shivering is a good way to get your attention. Some dogs even turn on the shakes while begging for food to earn sympathy.

What you should do: Millan points out that while this behavior isn't exactly harmful, reinforcing it isn't a good idea. If there's no other reason why your dog might be shivering, it's generally best to ignore this blatant tug on your heartstrings.

5. Pain or Illness

Shivering could be a sign that your dog is in pain or suffering from an illness. Shivering and muscle tremors can be symptoms of serious conditions such as distemper, hypoglycemia, Addison's disease and inflammatory brain disease, as well as more common ailments like an upset stomach.

Constant shivering could be a sign of generalized tremor syndrome, also referred to as shaker syndrome, a chronic condition that can be helped with medication, according to Wag!.

What you should do: Look for other signs of sickness or injury. If the shivering is accompanied by abnormal behavior or seems out of character for your dog, contact your veterinarian immediately.

6. Old Age

Old irish setter lying on the ground.It's not uncommon for weakening leg muscles to develop tremors as dogs age, but shivering could also be a sign of arthritis or joint pain.

What you should do: If you notice your aging doggy starting to shake, it's best to get them checked out by the vet.

Shaking vs. Seizures

Normal shivering and shaking are much different than a seizure, during which the muscles seize up and a dog loses both mobility and awareness of their surroundings. If you suspect your pup is having a seizure, and they're not already being treated for a seizure disorder, get them to the emergency vet ASAP.

While most causes of shivering in dogs are relatively harmless, it's best to reach out to your vet if you're wondering, "Why is my dog shaking?" They can explain what causes a dog to shiver as well as uncover if something serious may be going on. Even if there isn't cause for concern, you'll have peace of mind once you get a vet's assessment.

Jean Marie Bauhaus

Jean Marie Bauhaus

Jean Marie Bauhaus is a pet parent, pet blogger and novelist from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she usually writes under the supervision of a lapful of furbabies.

Why Do Small Dogs Shake (And How To Prevent It ...

01-04-2021 · Why Do Small Dogs Shake? Below we have summarized and explained the top six causes for your little dog shaking. Cold . Like us, when our furry friends get cold they will begin to tremble. This is a behavior that occurs to help warm up our dogs. The shivering is the unconscious tensing in our dog’s muscles to try to generate warmth when they feel cold. We know in ourselves that when you are ...

01-04-2021
Why Do Small Dogs Shake? (And How To Prevent It!)

We can all picture the stereotype of small dog breeds: shaking and yapping. However, there is some truth behind this. Smaller dog breeds will often tremble more often and for longer periods of time. But why do small dogs shake and could it be a cause for concern?

From feeling fear to cold, the causes for your little dog shaking are vast. Therefore, if you’re wondering how to stop your dog from shaking, we first have to identify the cause. Trembling in little dogs is not always a worry, but it can indicate an underlying health concern. This is why we have explained the main causes for dog shaking and how to help.

Why Do Small Dogs Shake?

Below we have summarized and explained the top six causes for your little dog shaking.

Cold

Like us, when our furry friends get cold they will begin to tremble. This is a behavior that occurs to help warm up our dogs. The shivering is the unconscious tensing in our dog’s muscles to try to generate warmth when they feel cold. We know in ourselves that when you are cold, you can’t help but shiver, and neither can your dog friend. If you’re hoping to identify this shivering, be aware of the temperature your dog is in and if they have enough fur or layers to keep them warm. It is also important to note that small dogs are more easily affected by the cold because they have less fat and body space to keep them warm.

Nausea

Your dog’s body will also shake when they are ill or feel sick. Before your dog vomits they may begin to tremble, and for a period of time afterward. The body will often do so due to an adrenaline increase. This often happens in preparation for retching. It can also occur when your dog is ill in general and its immune system is attempting to fight off pathogens and to lower their temperature, in the case of a fever.

Anxious/Afraid or Nervous

Anxiety or fear will start the production of adrenaline in your dog’s body. With growing anxiety in your pup, their adrenaline production will increase alongside this. This is because of the purpose of adrenaline within the fight, flight, freeze response. This is used in scenarios of fear of danger and is meant to help your dog react to anything harmful and gauge whether to flee or fight. Therefore, the adrenal gland releases the hormone adrenaline to better adapt your dog to that situation. It does so by redirecting your dog’s blood and increasing oxygen production. The blood targets major organs and muscle groups whilst more oxygen is provided to muscles needed for fast movements. This allows the body the best chance at escape because the muscles are better prepared for movement.

After the use of adrenaline, your dog’s body becomes both slightly exhausted as well as twitchy due to the tension in their muscles for that period of time. This leads to shaking in your dog.

Over-Excited

Many people believe that negative situations are the only ones to cause an adrenaline response in dogs, but this is not accurate. Exciting situations can also cause higher adrenaline production as it is a situation your dog is hyper-focusing on and gets emotionally overwhelmed with. This leads their body to tap into that flight, fight, and freeze response leading to adrenaline production. As already mentioned, adrenaline redirects your pup’s blood flow and heightens the oxygen intake being directed to muscles. This helps your dog to use all their energy for movement in the possible scenario that they may need to.

However, your dog does not need this aid when excited. Your pup’s body cannot understand this though and continues with the response until your dog can calm down. When they do so, the trembling will begin as the body starts to get back to normal.

Muscle Weakness/Injury

When your dog has an injury they will attempt to minimize movement, pressure, and interactions with that area. In the case of a leg injury, your dog may keep their leg raise and try to not walk on it at all. Therefore, the shaking may arise due to them spending so much energy and effort attempting to keep their leg elevated. Therefore the exhaustion from this exertion may lead to your dog shaking from muscle exertion.

Muscle weakness is another cause of your dog shaking. It can have an impact regardless of whether the weakness is in one area or all over their body. Your dog is constantly pushing themselves to live normally despite their struggle with movement, and this overexertion leads to muscle fatigue which causes shaking.

Serious Conditions

Unfortunately, frequent shaking can be caused by diseases or conditions. Neurological conditions, genetic mutations, and muscle weakness are common causes for shaking and are symptoms of something bigger. Weakness is a sign that something is wrong, this is accompanied by general lethargy and a change in behavior often indicates your dog is struggling to gain the energy to feel normal. This struggle may result in shaking as a result of exhaustion.

Preventing Your Small Dog From Shaking

In order to prevent your dog from shaking, you have to identify the cause. If the worry is their health, always take them immediately to the vet. This means you should be aware of any other worrying symptoms or changes in your dog’s behavior to identify if this is the cause.

You should also be aware of the situation they are in when they begin to shake. If it is when you get home, this is most likely your dog shaking due to excitement because of your arrival. However, if it is when a stranger arrives or a loud noise occurs, it is most likely due to anxiety or fear. These situations do not need interference with their shaking. However, if you want to help your dog, work on calming agents. Essential oils, working on a more steady routine when leaving and exiting the house, and helping with their general anxiety can minimize their shaking here.

Another cause you should look out for is if it is cold, not just generally, but for your dog too. Small dogs are especially susceptible to the cold which is why you have to be aware of it. Also take a look at your dog as an individual, those with less to no fur or thinner coats will most likely need a dog coat to combat the cold and prevent shaking.

preventing dog from shaking
Find out the cause to stop your small pooch from shaking.

When to See a Vet?

You should go to visit a vet for your dog when their shaking either interferes with their life, or if it is accompanied by other worrying symptoms. This is especially important if a puppy is shaking. Some signs you should keep an eye out for include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Limping
  • Change in behavior
  • Lethargy

Although it could be a simple explanation without too much worry surrounding it, you need to be aware that leaving your dog without a vet visit could be a great mistake. The cause could be malnutrition and be corrected by a diet change relatively easily. Or it could be the start of something more worrying that requires immediate treatment such as Addison’s disease. Although a highly manageable and treatable disease, without intervention it can even lead to death.

Why Small Dogs Shake – FAQs

All the information can be a little confusing sometimes and you may still have more information about why your small dog is shaking. That’s why we have provided this handy FAQs section to clarify and answer any other questions you may have.

Why do small dogs always shake?

The causes that lead to a dog of any size shaking will affect a small dog more quickly. When your little dog is outside in winter they will get cold much more quickly than a large dog because their size means the cold can affect them much more quickly. Similarly, your little dog’s hormonal response to anxiety or fear may react much more quickly than that of a large dog. However, we can also consider that smaller dogs may shake more because they are more anxious due to their height. Being small may make them feel more vulnerable and this can lead to anxiety more often and then shaking.

How do you stop a dog from shivering?

It depends on why your dog is shivering. If your dog is trembling because they are cold, you need to provide them with thermal clothing, heating, or remove them from the cold location in order to prevent their shaking. Whereas, if it is due to an adrenaline response then you need to help your dog to feel more calm in exciting or anxiety-inducing situations. On the other hand, if there are any symptoms that may indicate poor health, take them straight to the vets to assess what is going on.

Why is my dog shaking after taking a bath?

The two causes for a dog shaking after taking a bath is due to their anxiety/excitement about the bath and the situation, or it may be that they are cold. Ensure that your dog’s bath is not too hot nor cold and that afterward they are being properly towel-dried or you are using a hairdryer on not too hot/cold of a heat. As for minimizing any anxiety or excitement during bath time, you will need to make the experience as quiet and gentle as possible for your dog.

Is shaking a sign of pain in dogs?

Shaking can be a sign of pain in dogs, it does not necessarily need to be accompanied by other symptoms to signify pain. It can be due to an injury or even internal pain, but usually comes from muscle weakness or exhaustion. If you have any concerns be sure to go for a vet visit.

How do I tell if my dog is in pain?

There are other symptoms apart from shaking that may indicate pain. These may include:– Limping– Behavioral changes– Whining– Your dog may try to push you away from touching a certain area– A change in appetite

Every individual will display different symptoms to express pain. It is important to know what is normal for your dog, and if you notice something is wrong, go to the vet.

Usually shaking is not something to worry about. However, it is important to be aware of when it could be a concern. Monitor when your dog shakes and keep an eye out for any other symptoms.

7 Explanations of Dog's Shaking - New Health Advisor

17-08-2019 · Why does my dog shake? He may be cold, excited, anxious, old or just sick. Keep reading to find out 7 more reasons of trembling in dogs and when to see a vet.

17-08-2019

It is natural and completely normal for dogs to shake. You will see your dog's shaking when they are drying off, playing or stretching out. The thing you need to understand is that not all shakes are normal. Sometimes, what you think as a shake can be a seizure. The basic difference is that a seizure will make your dog lose all body control and paddle their legs while convulsing while a shake doesn't exhibit these signs. So, do you want to know "Why does my dog shake?" Keep reading to learn more about it.

Why Does My Dog Shake?

Dogs often shake for many reasons. You don't have to worry about some while some need your attention. Read on to know more.

1.  Wanting Something or Excitement

Dogs usually shake when they are anticipating something or are very happy. If you've been away from your dog for quite some time and have returned, it is normal for your dog to feel excited about your arrival and tremble a bit. Similarly, your dog may feel excited about chasing a cat or at feeding time. In some cases, your dog will act smart and give you some pretend shakes to get your attention or to spend some extra special time with you.

2.  Anxiety or Fear

This is also one common answer to "Why does my dog shake?" Pooches are afraid of so many things, especially fireworks. Similarly, some dogs become anxious at traveling time. Some may even get carsick and shake a lot. Some dogs think a car ride means an appointment with the vet, which will make them anxious. What it means is that dogs express their feelings  of being very upset by shaking. Holding them close to you will help calm their nerves.

3.  Cold or Chill

Isn't it obvious? Just like humans, dogs will shake when the temperature outside is on the lower side. A simple solution is to get your dog a warm doggie sweater. Also, remember to wrap your small dog in a towel after a bath to relax his shivering instinct. You may even have to blow dry your dog if he's especially sensitive to the drop in temperature.

4.  Poisoning

Dogs cannot tolerate all the substances that humans can. The list includes chocolates, cigarettes and xylitol. If they have it, you will have a very shaky dog in front of you. Some dogs eat cigarettes, which gives them nicotine poisoning and shakes. Many other substances can also be poisonous to your dog. For instance, Metaldehyde, a substance usually found in snail baits, is toxic to dogs and may bring on intense muscle tremors and convulsions. Go to see your vet if you suspect your beloved dog has eating something toxic.

5.  Advanced Age

If you have an old dog, you shouldn't ask, "Why does my dog shake?" because it's quite common for dogs to tremble when they hit their senior years. Their front legs as well as hind legs can develop tremors, and it sometimes becomes difficult for them to stand or walk if they also have arthritis. You may still want to take your dog to the veterinarian to ensure there's nothing serious causing this shaking and trembling.

6.  Illnesses

In addition to the causes mentioned above, some dogs may shake and tremble because they have an underlying illness. Instead of asking, "Why does my dog shake?" you should contact your vet and rule out the possibility of your dog having a serious disorder or health condition. Here are some of the most common illnesses that can make your dog to tremble.

  • Distemper: Caused by a virus, it usually affects puppies and adolescent dogs that may have not been vaccinated. Tremors are a common signs of distemper in dogs, and you will also notice some other signs such as coughing, fever and nasal discharge. You can only provide your dog with some supportive care until his immune system eliminates the virus. Your vet may also prescribe airway dilators, antibiotics and fluids for better results.
  • Generalized tremor syndrome: It's usually known as steroid responsive tremor syndrome, which usually affects small, white dogs such as West Highland white terriers. However, it can affect other dogs of any breed and color between 9 months and 2 years of age. Your vet may prescribe corticosteroids such as prednisone for treatment.
  • Nausea: Medication, motion sickness, eating the wrong stuff and eating too much can make your dog nauseous. A kidney or liver disease may also be the reason why your dog is feeling nauseous. When your dog feels nauseous, you will also notice shaking and trembling. Other signs of nausea are lip smacking, listlessness, salivating more than normal, yawning, hiding and vomiting.
  • Fever: If your dog shakes with body temperature going down, it means he might have a fever. Your dog shakes in an effort to raise his body temperature which is lowered in response to a drug reaction, an infection or other triggers. Use a rectal thermometer to take his temperature, which should be between 103 and 106 degrees if your dog has a fever.  You should take your dog to your veterinarian if the temperature rises above 104 degrees and lasts more than a day or so.
  • Kidney disease: Your dog may not show any symptoms after rental failure or chronic kidney disease at beginning, but the symptoms will appear out of nowhere. Your dog will start to urinate more frequently and show other signs, such as shaking. Therapy and treatments like furosemide help manage renal disease better.
  • Addison's disease: Dogs that develop Addison's disease don't have enough cortisol in their bodies. If you notice your dog to have low energy and strength with loss of appetite and some gastrointestinal problems, this could be due to Addison's disease. Trembling is also one of many symptoms associated with this disease.

7.  Other Causes

Dogs can shake for many reasons not mentioned above. For instance, some dogs tremble because of low blood sugar, while others may shake due to low blood calcium, electrolyte imbalances or allergic reactions. Brain tumor, genetic disease, hind-leg tremor and certain diseases affecting the spinal cord can all lead to trembling and shaking in dogs.

When to See a Veterinarian

It is common for dogs to shake some time, but if you cannot pinpoint a reason why your dog has started shaking heavily, you should see your vet. It becomes even more important when you notice other symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, weakness, depression, loss of appetite, eye problems, lethargy, gagging, coughing, and other concerning signs. 

Why Is My Dog Shaking And Panting? Top 7 Reasons That ...

22-02-2022 · Your Dog Has Anxiety or Fear Anxiety or fear is a common cause of shaking and panting in dogs. Similar to how some humans react to stressful situations, a dog’s internal struggle may cause outward symptoms. These emotions can be difficult for a pup to work through, causing a full body response to their environment.

22-02-2022

Have you ever looked over at your otherwise calm pup, only to discover them suddenly shaking and panting?

While a panting pup is not always concerning, these behaviors in a resting dog should always warrant attention.

Panting and shaking in dogs has been tied to everything from severe anxiety to pain, making it important to pay close attention when this occurs in your furry friend.

In this article we will discuss the details of why your dog could be panting and shaking, and help you better understand what this could mean for your furry friend.

Why Do Dogs Pant?

Panting is a normal canine behavior that plays an important role in managing their body temperature.

The act of panting serves as a cooling mechanism when a dog is active, allowing them to trade the hot air in their lungs for the cooler air around them.

Dogs do not have sweat glands like you and I, so this is the most effective way for them to cool off.

Why Do Dogs Shake?

Shaking may not be as common of a behavior as panting, but it does still have a purpose for our furry friends.

Shaking in dogs occurs for many of the same reasons it will in humans, ranging from overwhelming emotions to body warming.

Your canine friend may begin to shake when they are cold, anxious, excited, and even in pain.

So Is Shaking And Panting Normal For Dogs?

Both shaking and panting in dogs can be normal when they occur in the right setting, but it can point to underlying complications otherwise.

For example, if your dog that has not participated in exercise begins to suddenly pant, this is not considered normal.

This is especially true if your painting dog begins to shake and tremble, as this can be a sign of distress.

Though each behavior can be normal in the right setting, they can also point to trouble.

Why Is My Dog Shaking And Panting?

Now that you understand why the combination of shaking and panting should always be taken seriously in your pup, let’s discuss a few of the most common factors behind this behavior.

Your Dog Has Anxiety or Fear

Anxiety or fear is a common cause of shaking and panting in dogs.

Similar to how some humans react to stressful situations, a dog’s internal struggle may cause outward symptoms.

These emotions can be difficult for a pup to work through, causing a full body response to their environment.

Anxiety and fear in dogs is known to cause trembling, panting, drooling, pacing, barking, cowering, aggression, and even destructive behavior.

Some of the most common factors that lead to anxiety or fear in dogs include loud noises, trips to the vet, unfamiliar people, unfamiliar animals, new settings, a move to a new home, and any other change that can cause a drastic shift in their normal patterns.

Though most causes of anxiety or fear will pass once the stressor is removed or resolved, some dogs will need veterinary assistance if their anxiety is chronic.

Your Dog Is Excitement

Our canine friends can experience overwhelming happiness and excitement for many reasons.

While some pups will wiggle and whine each time you come home from work, others will tremble and pant with excitement.

If shaking and panting is accompanied by an eager tail wag and a flood of kisses, it’s safe to say that your dog is just beaming with happiness.

Dogs can become so excited that they tremble and pant when you come home after being away, they meet a new person, they meet a new animal, when going on a new adventure, and even eating their favorite snack.

As long as the shaking and panting goes away after their excitement subsides, this is perfectly fine.

Your Dog Is In Pain

Our dog’s can’t tell us when they are in pain, but we can always observe their body language for signs of distress.

Both shaking and panting are a common sign of discomfort in our furry friends, and can tip us off to the fact that they are struggling.

Not only is the pain itself often enough to cause trembling or panting, but so is the anxiety that is often associated with acute or chronic pain.

Shaking and panting are often seen in painful pups, but there are other symptoms to be on the lookout for as well.

Some of the most common signs of pain in dogs include lethargy, weakness, anorexia, hiding away, appearing guarded of certain areas, tense abdomen, rigid stance, and whining.

If your pup is ever displaying signs of pain, we suggest having them seen by your vet as soon as possible.

Your Dog Has GI Upset

GI upset is another potential cause of shaking and panting in dogs.

The feeling of nausea can cause a dog to pant with discomfort, along with the abdominal pain that GI upset can often cause.

Dogs can become more and more uncomfortable as their upset stomach progresses, causing them to tremble in distress.

This can occur with all forms of GI upset, ranging from a pup with diarrhea to a dog that is vomiting.

In addition to panting and shaking, GI upset in dogs can cause:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Whining

If your dog is experiencing any signs of GI upset, we suggest reaching out to your vet for further guidance.

Your Dog Is Having An Allergic Reaction

Has your pup returned from a quick trip outdoors, only to begin trembling and panting?

Maybe they also appear weak and lethargic, causing you to wonder what could possibly be wrong with your beloved pup.

Though not always the case, these symptoms can be a result of an allergic reaction.

Not only can our dogs develop allergic reactions to any crawling critters that can bite or sting them outdoors, they can also have reactions to everything from routine vaccines to dog shampoos.

Other signs of allergic reactions in dogs include:

  • Skin redness
  • Facial swelling
  • Swelling at the site of an insect sting
  • Itching
  • Drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Collapse.

Allergic reactions can be serious when they occur, so we suggest contacting your vet immediately if you fear an allergic reaction in your furry friend.

Your Dog Is Experiencing A Toxicity

Unfortunately, there are many foods, substances, and items that can be toxic to our canine friends.

Anytime our dogs consume something they should not, they increase their chance of experiencing a life threatening toxicity.

Toxicities in dogs can range from anything from human medications to fruit, making it essential to be aware of any potential toxins in your home.

Canine toxicities can impact the body in many ways, with potential toxins causing complications ranging from neurological symptoms to severe GI symptoms.

Because of this, some of the most common symptoms of toxicities in dogs include:

  • Trembling
  • Panting
  • Disorientation
  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Diarrhea
  • Ataxia
  • Weakness
  • Collapse

If your dog has consumed something they should not have, or you think your pup may be experiencing a toxicity, we suggest reaching out to your veterinarian for immediate care.

Your Dog Has Hypoglycemia

The term hypoglycemia refers to low blood sugar in dogs.

Hypoglycemia typically causes extreme weakness and muscle tremors, causing a dog to shake and tremble as their blood glucose drops.

In addition to the trembling a dog can experience, many pups will even pant in distress as well.

Hypoglycemia can occur in a canine friend of any kind, but it is most common in growing puppies and toy breeds.

Other signs of hypoglycemia in dogs include lethargy, weakness, disorientation, twitching, inability to stand up, ataxia, seizures, and collapse.

If you think your dog is experiencing hypoglycemia for any reason, we suggest contacting your vet immediately.

Hypoglycemia is often fatal when left untreated. 

Why Is My Dog Drooling And Panting?

Just as shaking and panting can point to health complications in our canine friends, so can drooling and shaking.

Some dogs will drool and pant without harm after mild exercise, but your pup should return to normal after 15-20 minutes after activity.

If your pup continues to pant and drool, or does so without being active, this can be a sign of underlying complications.

In addition to the complications discussed above, drooling and panting in dogs can occur due to heat stroke, respiratory distress, cardiac conditions, and an array of other conditions that can cause respiratory distress.

If your pup is unable to stop panting and drooling, we suggest contacting your vet immediately.

When Is Shaking And Panting An Emergency In Dogs?

It can be challenging to know when your dog’s panting and shaking is considered a medical emergency.

If your dog’s symptoms are not obviously tied to some form of behavioral response (anxiety, stress, excitement), we suggest reaching out to your vet for guidance.

Some of the factors behind your dog’s symptoms can be life threatening if left untreated, so it’s always best to be safe in these situations.

What To Expect At The Vet

If you take your dog to the vet for panting and shaking, there are a few different routes that your veterinarian may explore.

No matter the details of your dog’s case, you can always expect your veterinarian to gather a history and perform a physical exam.

Your veterinarian will ask you any relevant questions based on their symptoms, as well as obtain their vitals.

Based on the answers received from their exam, they can determine the best diagnostic plan.

The most common diagnostic tools explored for these symptoms are blood tests and radiographs.

This can point to any metabolic issues that present in their blood values, while the x-rays can bring to light any complications with the lungs or heart.

X-rays can also be beneficial if your pup has suffered from any type of trauma.

Based on the results of your dog’s physical exam and diagnostics, your vet can determine the best treatment plan moving forward.

This can include anything from simple at home care to aggressive hospitalization, so it’s best to follow your vet’s guidance based on your pup’s situation.

Final Thoughts

The sudden onset of shaking and panting in our furry friends can cause immediate concern.

Due to the many factors that can lead to these symptoms, we always suggest reaching out to your vet for guidance.

My name is Amber. I am a dedicated animal lover that turned my passion into my career. I am a Licensed Vet Tech with 10 years of experience in veterinary medicine, but I recently took my career online to help spread accurate information on animal care. With how vast the online world is, I have a strong desire to ensure that the reader always walks away with helpful pet advice. With the experience I’ve gained from my time in this field, I have been able to travel the world, offering my services to as many animal rescues as I can find. If I am not at my laptop, or back home visiting family, you can find me somewhere in the world, cuddling every furry friend that I can find! Read more about us here.

My Dog Is Shaking And Acting Weird: 14 Possible Reasons ...

30-08-2021 · My Dog Is Shaking And Acting Weird: 14 Possible Reasons. Aug 30, 2021 Sep 28, 2021. This post may contain affiliate links. We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. As a dog owner, you’ve likely seen your dog shaking and trembling when it’s excited. Such adorable behavior has maybe even made you laugh. But if you’ve ever seen your dog’s trembling paired ...

30-08-2021

This post may contain affiliate links. We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.

As a dog owner, you’ve likely seen your dog shaking and trembling when it’s excited.

Such adorable behavior has maybe even made you laugh. But if you’ve ever seen your dog’s trembling paired with out-of-the-norm behavior, then you know it’s anything but funny. 

What causes a dog to tremble and act strangely? Is there anything you should do for a dog that’s shaking and acting weird? When is it time to take your dog to the vet?

These are all questions you may be asking yourself as you watch your beloved pet exhibit uncharacteristic behavior. 

Yellow Lab Walking Through The Grass

In this article, we discuss 14 reasons your dog may be shaking and acting weird, what you should do if you notice any tremors, and when it is time to take your dog to the vet.

We are not veterinarians. If you ever notice a health issue with your dog we recommend consulting with your vet immediately.

Less Critical Reasons Your Dog May Be Shaking 

1. Your Dog Is Excited, Or Has Just Been Active

Excitement is the #1 cause of shaking in dogs. Whether it happens when a new friend stops by the house or after a particularly excellent game of fetch, shaking from excitement is a natural reaction that occurs as the dog releases any excess energy.

If you have an 8 week old puppy then getting overly excited might be a common occurrence for both the puppy and anyone visiting. Even humans might shake with excitement when seeing a new pup. 🙂

2. Your Dog Is Stressed Or Anxious

Fear, stress, and anxiety can also cause your dog to shake and act in a way that isn’t normal. Common triggers of stress tremors include fireworks, big environmental changes, or fear of physical harm. 

Shaking due to stress is often accompanied by an arched back, the tail between the hind legs,  hiding in a small space, and whimpering. 

If your dog is prone to anxiety, then it is worth consulting your veterinarian. Your vet can prescribe anti-anxiety medication that you can give to your pet when you know something stressful is about to occur.  

3. You Dog Is “In Heat” 

The term “in heat” refers to the time when female dogs that are not spayed experience ovulation and become receptive to mating. This usually occurs twice each year, and signs include trembling, restlessness, more frequent urination, and behavior that might seem like nervousness.  

If your dog is in heat and shaking, then there is really no need to consult a veterinarian. Longer walks and some additional exercise can help get rid of that extra energy, while treats and toys can keep her busy and distracted. 

4. Your Dog Is Cold

Just like us humans, dogs get cold and shiver when they do. You will have a pretty good idea that your dog is cold if it is shaking but not exhibiting any other serious symptoms. 

Dogs will get chilled starting at about 45 degrees Fahrenheit. If your dog has to be outside in such a temperature, then it may be worth investing in a coat and/or a pair of doggy booties. 

It’s important to bring your dog indoors in temps that are close to freezing. Though we’ve included “cold” on our list of less critical reasons, dogs that are left outside in cold temperatures for long periods of time run the risk of hypothermia. If you find a dog that is shivering from exposure, then the dog is likely to require veterinary treatment.   

More Critical Reasons Your Dog May Be Shaking

5. Your Dog Is Feeling Nauseated

Just like humans, dogs might get nauseated from medication, motion sickness, or eating too much or the wrong thing. But because nausea can also be a symptom of more serious illness, we’ve included it on the list of more critical reasons your dog may be shaking. 

Trembling and odd behavior can be signs that your dog is feeling nauseated, along with other symptoms like excessive salivation, lip smacking, listlessness, and vomiting.  

If your dog exhibits signs of nausea for an extended period of time, then it may be worth checking in with your veterinarian. 

6. Your Dog Is Suffering From Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a very real danger for dogs, especially dogs that are large, have thick coats, have flat faces, or that are obese or elderly. 

If your dog is suffering from heat exhaustion, then you are likely to notice shaking in the form of shivering. Excessive panting and salivation are additional signs of heat stroke in dogs.  

A dog’s body temperature should never reach higher than 104 degrees. Humidity and hot enclosed spaces, such as a car, are especially dangerous, as they do not allow the dog the opportunity to cool themselves through panting. 

You can avoid heat exhaustion by always providing your dog plenty of water and shade when it is outside, and by never leaving your dog in the car on a warm day.     

7. Your Dog Is Old And/Or Pain

As a dog ages and its body weakens, some trembling is bound to happen. Generally, shaking due to old age occurs in a dog’s pelvic area or throughout their hind legs. This kind of trembling doesn’t usually affect the way the dog walks and moves. 

While most trembling in an old dog is harmless, older dogs are more prone to injury and arthritis, a symptom of which can be some shaking. For that reason, it’s recommended that older dogs that develop the shakes be checked out by their veterinarian. If it turns out the dog is shaking out of pain, then the veterinarian can make further recommendations.  

8. Your Dog Has Been Poisoned

Shaking and erratic behavior are major signs that your dog has ingested something poisonous. Other signs might include vomiting, excessive salivation, dry heaving, a racing heart, or pale gums, among other things. 

Besides things like chemicals, dogs can be poisoned by typical household items such as chocolate, cigarettes, and xylitol (a common sugar substitute, especially for chewing gum). Dangerous items kept outdoors where a curious dog might come across them include mouse and rat poison, lawn fertilizer, and snail bait, the latter of which can cause very severe convulsions and muscle tremors.  

If you suspect your dog has been poisoned, it is recommended that you visit your nearest emergency vet as soon as possible. You can also give the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center a call. 

9. Your Dog Has Distemper

Canine distemper is a very serious malady that affects puppies and young dogs that have not been vaccinated. Caused by a virus, it is often fatal. Those dogs and puppies that do survive tend to have permanent damage to their nervous systems. 

Infected animals spread distemper through the air by coughing or sneezing. The distemper virus can also be transmitted to healthy dogs through shared bowls or toys. Fortunately, distemper is easily avoided by vaccinating puppies with the DHPP (distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus) vaccine.

If your dog begins trembling and is an unvaccinated puppy or adolescent dog, then distemper could very well be the culprit. Other signs of distemper include fever, coughing, and discharge from the eyes and nose.      

10. Your Dog Has Generalized Tremor Syndrome (GTS)

Generalized Tremor Syndrome also goes by the names steroid responsive tremor syndrome and white shaker dog syndrome. The latter got its name because it was first noticed in dogs like West Highland terriers and Maltese, though in actuality, it can affect any breed, size, or color of dog. 

GTS causes shaking that is repetitive, rhythmic, and involuntary. The dog’s entire body may shake, or just one area like its head or hind end.

It is currently not known what causes GTS, though some veterinarians believe it to be autoimmune related. Diagnosing GTS is a process “of exclusion,” meaning if your veterinarian suspects GTS, then they will first rule out all other possibilities. 

11. Seizures 

Unfortunately, seizure disorders like epilepsy are relatively common in dogs. If your dog has a seizure, it will fall on its side before continuously moving its legs as if it’s running or swimming. 

Seizures are not painful for dogs, but they are dangerous because dogs can fall and hit something as the seizure begins. If you witness your dog having a seizure, it is vital that you contact your veterinarian right away. Once diagnosed, your vet will likely prescribe your dog seizure-controlling medications like phenobarbital, keppra, or potassium bromide. 

12. Your Dog Has Bloat

In humans, bloat isn’t always a big deal. But if your dog has bloat, then it is considered a medical emergency. 

Bloat is officially known as gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV) or stomach torsion. It is a very painful and stressful malady in which the dog’s stomach twists around itself and becomes twisted at either end. This blocks blood flow and the escape of gas and other stomach contents, which causes the extreme bloat. GDV can be caused by any number of things, the most common of which include heart failure, internal bleeding, and liver dysfunction. 

Besides extreme trembling, a dog with bloat will be restless and unable to lie down. It may be dry heaving, or trying to vomit, though unsuccessfully. Rapid shallow breathing and biting at its stomach are other signs. 

If your dog looks bloated at all, then it is recommended that you take it to the nearest emergency vet as soon as possible. If you can, call the veterinarian while you are on your way so that they can be prepared for your dog’s arrival. 

13. Your Dog Has Cushing’s Disease 

Cushing’s disease, known officially as hyperadrenocorticism, occurs when a dog’s adrenal glands produce too much cortisol. The extra cortisol in the body increases the dog’s chance of coming down with a variety of illnesses, including diabetes and kidney damage. Cushing’s disease is very serious, and most dogs live just two years past diagnosis.  

Cushing’s disease mostly affects middle-aged and elderly dogs. If your dog develops a tremor due to Cushing’s disease, you will likely notice some other symptoms, too. Cushing’s disease causes dogs to eat, drink, and urinate far more than usual. You will also notice quite a bit of lethargy.  

14. Your Dog Has Addison’s Disease 

The opposite of Cushing’s disease is Addison’s disease. Officially known as hypoadrenocorticism, Addison’s disease occurs because the dog’s adrenal glands are not producing enough cortisol. Without this important steroid, a dog’s internal organs cannot work properly. 

Though the process is different, the symptoms of Addison’s disease are similar to those of Cushing’s disease. Shaking, lethargy, and increased urination are common symptoms, as are diarrhea, a weak pulse, and weight loss.   

What To Do If Your Dog Is Acting Weird And Shaking

You know your dog best, so trust your gut when it comes to whether or not your dog is acting in a way that is not normal. 

If you notice your dog behaving oddly and shaking, then your first step is to remain calm and rational. You will need to be able to get an accurate read on any symptoms in case you need to relay the situation to your veterinarian. 

Next, take stock of any other strange symptoms. Other symptoms that tend to occur with shaking include: 

  • Labored breathing  
  • Lethargy
  • Ataxia (loss of coordination)
  • Excessive swallowing and drooling
  • Nausea 
  • Listlessness
  • Vomiting

Make a quick observation of the immediate environment. Is there a storm outside? Have you brought out a suitcase to pack for a vacation? Is there anything there that might be causing your dog stress? 

Consider recent behavior. Has your dog been eating and drinking less? Has it been as excited as usual about walks, car rides, and toys? 

Consider past behavior. Has your dog ever started shaking before? If so, do you notice anything now that you also noticed then? 

Take a quick scan around the room to see if you notice any foods or other toxins your dog may have gotten into. 

Use your cell phone to take a video of your dog shaking and acting strangely. If you decide you need to take your dog to the veterinarian, then having a video of the behavior could prove extremely helpful.

When A Shaking Dog Needs To See The Vet

There are far more critical reasons that a dog might be shaking than there are non-critical reasons. It should be fairly simple to determine if your dog is shaking because it is excited (is its tail wagging too?) or feeling anxious. If you have a gut feeling that it is something else, then it is worth reaching out to your veterinarian. 

If you do not notice any immediate secondary symptoms such as vomiting, listlessness, ataxia, or labored breathing, then give your veterinarian a call to find out what they recommend. Chances are they will ask you to come in at your earliest convenience, but it is worth checking. 

If you do notice immediate secondary symptoms – and especially if your dog’s stomach is extended or bloated – then you will need to drop what you are doing and take your dog to the nearest emergency veterinarian. 

Don’t be afraid to call the emergency animal hospital as you are leaving the house or on your way to let them know you are bringing in your dog that has been shaking and acting strangely. If the veterinarians have a little bit of a head’s up, then they can be prepared for immediate treatment. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if my dog is shaking? 

If your dog is shaking, the first thing to do is remain calm and consider potential sources of anxiety, such as thunderstorms. 

If your dog is not anxious or nervous, then shaking could be a sign of something more serious. If your dog’s shaking began suddenly and you notice symptoms like an extended belly, vomiting, or diarrhea, then it’s time to get to a veterinarian.  

Why is my dog shaking, but still acting normal?

There are a number of reasons a dog may start shaking, some more serious than others. If you notice shaking, but no other symptoms, then it is likely your dog is excited or anxious about something. 

However, if the shaking continues, or your dog begins vomiting, having diarrhea, acting lethargic, or anything else that is out of the norm, then it’s worth checking in with your vet. 

How can I stop my dog from shaking with anxiety? 

Just like humans, dogs are affected by stressful and scary situations. If your dog is shaking during a thunderstorm, at the prospect of you leaving, or other anxiety-inducing situation, then there are a few things you can try to help it calm down: 

  • Turn on the television or radio as a distraction or form of “company”
  • Physical contact 
  • A calming coat or a t-shirt that smells like you
  • Veterinarian-prescribed anti-anxiety medication

The Bottom Line  

When it comes to our beloved dogs, it is a very fine line between normal trembles of excitement and shaking that is more sinister. There are quite a few emergency situations that could cause your dog to shake and act strangely, including seizures, bloat, poisoning, and various diseases like Cushing’s disease and distemper. 

If you suspect your dog is shaking due to something other than excitement, sexual arousal, or anxiety, then it’s helpful to stop and take stock of things like the dog’s immediate environment, any other symptoms, and possible dangers. Taking a video of your dog’s behavior with your cell phone for your vet to review could also prove to be life saving. 

Most episodes of shaking will need to be seen by a vet as soon as possible. In some scenarios, a call to your normal vet for his or her recommendations will suffice. However, if you notice emergent symptoms such as shaking and vomiting, stomach bloating, labored breathing, ataxia, or lethargy, then it is necessary to stop what you are doing, call your local emergency veterinarian, and go. 

Shaking and strange behavior in dogs could be very, very serious, and even life threatening. In far too many cases for comfort, careful observation and quick action on your part could very well save your pet’s life.

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Why Do Dogs Tremble and How to Stop It? (8 Things You Can Do)

03-10-2019 · Being exposed to chilly temperatures can also cause your dog to shiver in order to generate body heat. This usually happens during the colder months or right after a shower. That said, dogs with a short coat are more likely to shake when they’re exposed to cold environments.

03-10-2019

When our dogs tremble, we can’t help wondering whether or not there’s something wrong with them. I know because I used to wonder the same thing.

why do dogs tremble

While in some cases, shaking in dogs is normal and far from dangerous, it can also be a sign of a serious problem. In any case, where there’s doubt, it’s always recommended that you talk to your local veterinarian.

But before you get all stressed out, keep in mind that it’s important to look for symptoms other than tremors. This is because in most cases, dogs shake for reasons that can be treated easily.

In this post, I’ll talk about the main causes of trembling in dogs, and the things you can do to address them. I’ll also explain when this behavior considered abnormal and warrants a visit to the vet.

Why Do Dogs Tremble: 7 Common Reasons You Should Know

1. Your Dog Is Anxious

Some dog breeds are more prone to anxiety than others, whether they’re afraid of noises like thunderstorms, or have had a bad experience visiting the vet or groomer.

Separation anxiety may also be the reason for your dog’s shaking. This is especially true if it starts right before you leave the house.

This is when it’s important to know some of the signs. When a dog is feeling anxious, he will usually shake, hide his tail between his legs, and in some cases, even vomit. Potty accidents are also common in this case.

What can you do about it?

Dogs with mild anxiety can benefit from certain training methods, and there are even supplements that can help your dog take the edge off.

Look for dog calming treats that are all-natural and contain things such as Hemp, Chamomile, Passionflower, and/or Thiamine. These ingredients are known for their relaxing effects, and should work for treating different types of anxiety.

2. Your Dog Is Clever

In case you didn’t already know–dogs are smart. Really smart!

Shaking doesn’t always mean your dog is afraid or anxious. In fact, your dog can actually make the choice to shake for no reason at all.

In most cases, it’s because he learned that this is the best way to get your attention. Be aware though, if you make a habit of giving in and showering your pooch with love and care, you’re actually reinforcing his bad behavior.

What can you do about it?

If there’s nothing present to warrant fear or anxiety in your dog, you should simply wait until he stops shaking, or until he’s otherwise completely calm before you approach him.

Once your dog understands that his plot to gain your attention is no longer working, he should stop doing it.

3. Your Dog Is Cold

Being exposed to chilly temperatures can also cause your dog to shiver in order to generate body heat. This usually happens during the colder months or right after a shower.

That said, dogs with a short coat are more likely to shake when they’re exposed to cold environments.

Puppies who are still growing in their full coat are obviously far more sensitive to extreme weather. Likewise, senior dogs and dogs with health problems can be more quickly affected by the cold as well.

What can you do about it?

Consider getting your dog a wool sweater for the winter, but make sure it’s high-quality and cover a good portion of your pup’s body. Also, it should be tailored to best fit your his measurements.

In times of freezing climates, it’s also advisable to exercise your dog indoors as much as possible, and use a dog pee pad for toilet breaks.

4. Your Dog Have to Go Potty

While we’re on this subject, a dog who’s trained to do his needs on a pad or outdoors may start to shake in case he can’t find a proper place to relieve himself.

What can you do about it?

If you’re using a pee pad, make sure your dog knows exactly where it is and that he can easily reach it. Otherwise, just get him outside in time, preferably at regular times during the day, so he will know when to expect it.

5. Your Dog Is Sick

Dogs usually tremble when they don’t feel good, so it’s important not to ignore it. Here are some illnesses that may cause your dog to shake uncontrollably.

Nausea (or upset stomach): This is a good place to start if your dog is suddenly experiencing tremors. Oftentimes, shaking can occur after dogs eat something spoiled or after they’ve overindulged. Likewise, your dog can experience shaking after consuming something that triggered an allergic or sensitive reaction.

Generalized Tremor Syndrome (or White Dog Shaker Syndrome): This is an inherited disorder that affects the nervous system, and can cause full-body shaking in white, small breed dogs.

Distemper: This is a highly contagious, viral disease that can quickly pass from one unvaccinated dog to another. Some of the most obvious signs of distemper are seizures and uncontrollable trembling. Other symptoms include coughing, fever, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Addison’s Disease: This is a hormonal disorder that causes cortisol deficiency in dogs. Apart from tremors, your dog won’t have energy nor appetite. This is a serious disorder that requires treatment from the vet.

Poisoning: Of course, we know that some of the most common household chemicals can be bad for our canine companions. But did you know that a great deal of human food can prove to be toxic to our dogs as well?

Seemingly innocent foods like grapes, chocolate, and onions are extremely dangerous for dogs to consume. Aside from shaking, vomiting and diarrhea are some of the most common signs of poisoning in dogs.

Other causes: Fever, pain, low blood sugar level, kidney disease, brain disease, heart problems, and seizure disorders are also potential causes for trembling. However, it’s important to distinguish between tremors and seizures.

What can you do about it?

Talk to your local vet if you suspect your dog is in pain or showing signs of sickness.

6. Your Dog Is Excited

Dogs tend to shake when they’re excited. In fact, this is their way of releasing excess energy. You may notice this behavior when you take out your dog’s food, favorite treats or toys, and even when you play together.

What can you do about it?

You don’t really need to do anything since this is considered a healthy behavior and it helps your pup to deal with the excitement. However, if your dog starts to become hyperactive, ignore him so he can calm down a bit.

7. Your Dog Is Old

Similar to old people, when dogs grow older, they start to have uncontrollable tremors in their legs. Oftentimes, hip dysplasia, joint pain, and muscle weakness can also be the reason why your dog is trembling.

What can you do about it?

Here, too, you should consult your local vet if your dog is experiencing age-related pain or discomfort. As for addressing joint problems, consider using a joint supplement for dogs, and make sure to keep your dog at a healthy weight.

Shortening walks and using a dog grass pad for bathroom breaks can also help.

8. Your Dog Is Itchy

Dogs can’t reach every itchy place on their body, so if their skin is irritated or they have fleas, they may shake out of discomfort. If your dog is rubbing against things excessively or rolling on the floor, this may be the case.

What can you do about it?

Ask your local veterinarian to check your dog’s skin condition and be sure to look if he has any fleas or ticks. In the meantime, you can try these home remedies for itching in dogs.

Why Is My Dog Shaking and Trembling? Should I Be Worried?

Many dogs shake from fear, anxiety, or even excitement. My own border collie has been known to shake a bit when he realizes that he’s about to go sheep-herding (his favorite thing in the world). Excitement can make a dog shake, but so can fear. Most of …

Looking down at your dog, you notice that she’s shaking in her boots. It’s not that cold out, but your dog is trembling. Is this a problem? Should you be worried? Why is your dog shaking at all?

Many dogs, especially small dogs, shake frequently. There are a variety of reasons that your dog is trembling. Some of the explanations are benign, whereas others warrant an emergency vet visit.

Let’s explore the reasons behind your dog’s shaking, and what to do if you notice your dog is trembling.

  • Dogs may shake or tremble for a variety of reasons. In some cases, the trembling is no cause for concern, but in others, it may signal that your dog is cold or suffering from a health problem.
  • Some of the health problems that will trigger shaking are quite serious. For example, shaking or trembling may be a sign of seizures or epilepsy, or it may even indicate that your dog is in severe pain.
  • If your dog’s shaking is unusual or has started suddenly you’ll want to go to the vet. Because some of the causes for shaking are serious, it is wise to err on the side of caution and solicit your vet’s advice.

Should I Be Worried About My Dog’s Shaking?

If you’re concerned about your dog’s symptoms, it never hurts to get the expert opinion of a veterinarian. Consider a trip to the veterinarian’s office, or consult a certified vet online and get their opinion on the matter.

It’s especially important to get your dog in to see a veterinarian if:

  • Your dog is shaking violently, stumbling, or seizing.
  • Your dog is panting constantly or heavily.
  • Your dog is large or fluffy. Some small dogs (like Chihuahuas and small white dogs) shake regularly, but this is quite unusual in larger or furrier breeds.
  • Your dog is also displaying anxiety, diarrhea, vomiting, or signs of pain.
  • Your dog recently ate something abnormal, such as trash or unfamiliar food.
  • Your dog is shaking so hard or so much that she’s struggling to eat, drink, sleep, or play.
  • The shaking started suddenly or is unusual for your adult dog.

In short, if your dog’s shaking seems abnormal or concerning, it’s best to go in and see the vet.

While it may be no cause for concern that your Shih Tzu trembles a lot, the same symptoms would be more concerning for a Labrador.

It’s worth remembering that there’s a wide variety in a dog’s tolerance for cold. I would be calling the vet if my husky was shaking in 50-degree weather – but I wouldn’t think twice about giving a greyhound or Doberman a jacket in the same weather!

Small breeds and slender or single-coated breeds are more prone to shivering in cool or wet environments.

As with most symptoms, it’s also important to know your dog. If shaking or trembling is unusual for your dog, or if your dog is “acting off,” it’s better to play it safe and visit the vet!

Reasons that Your Dog Shakes or Trembles (And What to Do About Them)

It can be really tricky to diagnose what’s going on with your dog, especially with a generic symptom like shaking. We’ll explore some of the most common reasons here.

1. Generalized Tremor Syndrome

Generalized tremor syndrome is quite common in small breeds like shih tzus, miniature pinschers, and Chihuahuas. Also known as shaker syndrome, this issue is characterized by full-body tremors, much like the dog is cold.

This generally will show up in adolescence, but may get worse with age.

Experts haven’t quite pinned down what causes generalized tremor syndrome, but it’s generally considered harmless. Your vet may choose to treat your pup with corticosteroids, but otherwise shaking might be a fact of life for certain dogs.

Just like humans, dogs might shake or tremble if they’re in serious pain. You may also notice a single muscle quivering under strain or discomfort — this is often accompanied with a change in gait or reluctance to move in a certain way.

Older or ill dogs might shake or quiver as they struggle with their balance. For example, my father’s 15-year-old Lab’s back legs generally tremble a bit when she gets up from lying down.

Muscle fatigue — especially when it is associated with the long-term loss of muscle mass following spinal or pelvic issues — may also cause dogs to tremble or shake.

If you suspect that your dog’s shaking is a sign of pain or weakness, it’s time to visit the vet.

3. Cold

Even the fluffiest dogs can get cold — though it usually takes borderline Arctic conditions to chill a Samoyed or Akita!

If your dog is slender, thin-furred, or small and it’s below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (or even warmer if it’s windy or rainy), she might be cold!

Try warming your dog up with a cozy canine jacket, exercise, or a change of location. If the shaking doesn’t get better when your dog is warm, it’s time to check with the vet.

Many dogs shake from fear, anxiety, or even excitement.

My own border collie has been known to shake a bit when he realizes that he’s about to go sheep-herding (his favorite thing in the world). Excitement can make a dog shake, but so can fear. Most of the shakey dogs in shelters are quaking from fear or anxiety.

Keep an eye out for environmental triggers like the dog park, guests, feeding time, playtime, or any other external patterns related to your dog’s trembling.

You can also watch for canine calming signals, which indicate discomfort or anxiety in dogs. Keep in mind that shaking and calming signals may actually be symptoms of illness or injury.

Excitement may not be a huge problem, but it’s always a good idea to help dogs that are fearful or anxious feel more comfortable in their environment. Start by making the situation less stressful if possible, then feed your dog treats liberally to help pair the upsetting situation with good things.

Don’t worry about rewarding your dog’s fear — you’re actually helping to soothe your dog by making a bad situation better! If your dog won’t eat, it’s time to get help from an expert.

It’s worth noting that even if your dog shakes seemingly “all the time,” she might still be shaking due to anxiety. I’ve spoken to many clients who say, “Well, she isn’t shaking from being nervous. She shakes all the time.”

That dog, in fact, was actually nervous almost all the time — as evidenced by the rest of her body language!

One of the side effects of our reduced euthanasia rates in the United States (and elsewhere) is the increase of dogs that may have experienced serious psychological distress — trainers are seeing more dogs that are essentially clinically anxious than they did 10 years ago.

It’s smart to speak to a veterinary behaviorist or certified dog behavior consultant to rule out fear or anxiety if you’re having a hard time pinning down why your dog shakes. You may want to consider dog anxiety medicine and talk to your vet about some serious meds.

5. Allergic Reactions, Toxins, Bites, and Stings

Shaking in dogs is a common symptom for various sorts of poisoning. Whether your dog was stung by a bee, bitten by a snake, or poisoned with bad food, this is a serious situation.

You may not see your dog come into contact with anything dangerous. That doesn’t mean that her trembling is no big deal — scorpions, allergens, and just about anything else in this category can easily go unnoticed. This is one of the scariest reasons for a dog to start shaking uncontrollably.

Often, these situations will result in violent shaking, drooling, pacing, panting, or vomiting. If you suspect that your dog was poisoned, bitten, stung, or triggered allergically, get help from an emergency vet as soon as possible. Time is of the essence in these cases.

Call an Animal Poison Control Center ( 1-888-426-4435) and try to keep information on the trigger if at all possible (but don’t put yourself in harm’s way to catch a snake, scorpion, or other creepy crawly).

6. Sickness

Almost every sickness out there can include shaking, quivering, or trembling under its list of symptoms.

From rabies to kennel cough to kidney failure, shaking isn’t a very useful symptom for diagnosing what’s wrong with your dog.

Keep close track of all of the symptoms that your dog is experiencing. Take note of your dog’s activity level, appetite, pupil size, ear position, stool, and urine. Shaking and panting is generally a sign of pain or distress and should be taken seriously. Likewise, shaking and vomiting is a cause for concern.

In particular, neurological issues and seizures — including partial seizures, which cause subtler symptoms that owners don’t always recognize as a full-blown seizure — can result in shaking and trembling. Both of these ailments can vary significantly in seriousness.

It’s almost impossible to diagnose your dog based on just a few symptoms. Your vet may need to run a series of tests, including blood work panels or imaging tests.

Some dogs “just shake.”

If your dog falls in this category, you probably already know this. If your dog is new to your family and seems to shake a lot, ask the former owners (or rescue, shelter, or breeder) about it.

Other times, shaking and trembling in dogs can be a serious symptom of poisoning or illness. While it’s generally easy to rule out cold or fear as a cause of your dog’s shaking, it can be hard to pin down the other reasons. Get help from a vet or veterinary behaviorist if you’re really stuck!

***

Do you have a doggo who shakes and trembles? Has your pooch ever suffered from sudden shaking? Did you figure out why? Let us know what you found below!

Why Do Dogs Shake, Shiver, or Tremble?

Why Do Dogs Shake? Physical Conditions That Cause Shaking in Dogs. Various physical conditions can cause a dog to shake or tremble. Dogs... Neurological Diseases That Cause Dogs to Shake. There are several neurological conditions that cause …

If you’ve seen your dog experience tremors throughout their body, you might be wondering, why is my dog shaking?

When we talk about shaking in dogs, we don’t mean the whole-body shake that you see when a dog shakes their body to dry off after they’ve had a bath or been in water.

We’re also not talking about dogs that shake their head and scratch their ears when they have an itch or an ear infection. In this article, shaking refers to tremors through the entire body.

There are several different causes of this type of shaking in dogs, ranging from medical issues to behavioral responses. Here’s some important information about why dogs shake, which dog­ breeds might be predisposed­­­ to shaking, and when it’s considered to be an emergency.

Why Do Dogs Shake?

We separate the shaking in dogs into two broad categories:

  • Medical or Physical: Shaking as a clinical sign that’s associated with a medical or physical condition

  • Behavioral: Shaking as a physiological response that dogs may exhibit when they are emotional

Physical Conditions That Cause Shaking in Dogs

Various physical conditions can cause a dog to shake or tremble.

Dogs shiver sometimes when they are cold. The body tremors help with thermoregulation.

Dogs can also shake when they are experiencing pain. The pain dogs feel can be caused by trauma, inflammation, or infection. Dogs do not always vocalize when they are experiencing pain; they may simply endure it, and the only visible sign might be the body tremors.

Neurological Diseases That Cause Dogs to Shake

There are several neurological conditions that cause shaking in dogs.

Dogs with a seizure-related disorder can experience mild body tremors to whole-body convulsions. Seizures can occur in any breed of dogs.

Certain neurological disorders are congenital (present at birth), such as cerebellar hypoplasia, shaker syndrome, and shaking puppy syndrome.

Cerebellar Hypoplasia

Cerebellar hypoplasia is caused by the incomplete development of the cerebellum (the part of the brain that is responsible for the coordination and regulation of voluntary muscular movement). This condition is usually seen in puppies when they first start to stand and walk.

The clinical signs include head bobbing, falling over, and tremors in their limbs. There is a hereditary component noted in certain breeds such as Chow Chows, Airedale Terriers, Boston Terriers, and Bull Terriers.

Shaker Syndrome

Shaker syndrome, also known as generalized tremor syndrome (GTS), often occurs in dogs with white fur, such as Maltese and West Highland White Terriers. This condition has also been diagnosed in other dogs with different coat colors.

Shaker syndrome causes the whole body to shake, and it is associated with inflammation of the central nervous system. It is typically noted in young to middle aged dogs.

Shaking Puppy Syndrome

Shaking puppy syndrome, also known as hypomyelination, typically occurs in puppies, even as early as 2 weeks of age. The signs include body tremors, issues with balance and coordination, and having trouble walking.

In this condition, not enough myelin is produced, which is the protective sheath that covers the nerves. Breeds affected by this disease include male Welsh Springer Spaniels, male Samoyeds, Chow Chows, Weimaraners, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Dalmatians, Golden Retrievers, and lurchers.

Only the male Samoyed and Springer spaniel puppies are affected by this condition. The female puppies of these two breeds do not experience the physical signs of this condition.

Medication/Toxin-Induced Shaking

The ingestion of certain substances, such as marijuana or chocolate, can lead to dogs shaking, in addition to a variety of other clinical signs.

Some dogs are sensitive to certain flea and tick medications, and they may experience body tremors and seizures when these medications are used.

Some dogs may shake when they are recovering from anesthesia after a dental or surgical procedure. Other dogs may experience shaking when placed on psychotropic medications.

Diseases That Cause Shaking in Dogs

The following medical conditions can also produce shaking/tremors:

  • Hypoadrenocorticism (Addison’s disease) is an endocrine disorder that can cause lethargy, vomiting, and shaking in dogs.

  • Dogs with hypocalcemia, which is low calcium concentration, can experience muscle trembling and seizures.

  • Dogs with hypoglycemia, which is low blood sugar, can experience muscle twitching and seizures.

  • Dogs with distemper, an infectious viral disease, may exhibit muscle tremors as one of the clinical signs of the disease.

Behavioral Causes for Shaking in Dogs

Dogs that are fearful, anxious, or stressed can all exhibit shaking. This is a physiological response to a real or perceived threat.

Fear is a crucial response that aids in survival. It is part of the fight or flight response. Anxiety occurs when the dog anticipates that a threat or danger may occur. Stress is a demand or challenge to a dog’s body that creates an imbalance. Dogs experiencing high levels of stress can also exhibit shaking.

When a threatening trigger occurs, information is sent to the amygdala, which is the part of the brain that processes emotions. The fear response sends a cascade of reactions through the brain and body.

Cortisol and adrenaline are released, which aid a dog’s body in fight or flight. They cause increased respiratory and heart rate, dilation of the pupils, relaxation of the bladder, constriction of many blood vessels, slowed digestion, and shaking.

Dogs can also shake due to excitement, an indication of mental arousal. The mental arousal can be either a positive or negative emotional response.

Should You Call Your Veterinarian Immediately if Your Dog Is Shaking?

Try to identify the possible cause for the shaking. Did your puppy or dog recently eat something? Was the shaking triggered by a loud noise outside your house? Did you recently give your dog medication? If you have any doubts, contact your veterinarian.

When your puppy or adult dog starts to shake, make sure that they are kept in a warm location and that they are not cold to the touch. A young puppy that does not feel cold and is persistently shaking should be examined by your veterinarian.

Are there other symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, etc.? If your adult dog exhibits shaking along with other physical signs, like lethargy, vomiting, discharge from the eyes or nose, or leaking urine, they should be examined by your veterinarian.

If your dog only shakes when they hear a loud noise, such as thunder or fireworks, or when the bus goes by on his walk, you should seek a consultation with a veterinary behaviorist (a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists or DACVB) or certified applied animal behaviorist (CAAB). Just to be safe, rule out any medical conditions by seeing your vet, and at the appointment, ask for a referral to a veterinary or animal behaviorist.

Featured Image: iStock.com/Coica

Why Does My Dog Keep Shaking His Head? 6 Common Causes …

31-10-2021 · Not only can the skin irritation from allergies cause a dog to shake their head in search of comfort, but so can the secondary ear infections that occur. The inflammation from skin allergies can cause bacteria and yeast to replicate within the ears, leading to a cycle of chronic ear infections and pain.

31-10-2021

Every canine friend will shake their head from time to time.

Though this is a normal behavior when done on occasion, constant head shaking can point to an underlying issue.

Our dogs cannot easily tend to irritation on their head, causing them to shake in effort to relive their discomfort.

So what could be the cause of your dog’s constant head shaking?

We will talk about what causes a dog to shake their head and what you can do to help them.

Understanding Head Shaking In Dogs

Before we discuss the potential cause of your dog’s head shaking, it’s important to understand the behavior of head shaking in itself.

Our dogs lack the dexterity to scratch or address pain in many parts of their body, leading to the need for another alternative.

Simply scratching an uncomfortable area on their head or ear is not as simple as it is for you and I, so they often turn to head shaking.

A dog that shakes their head may be trying to resolve itching on their face, pain within their ear, the feeling of something foreign in their ear, and everything in between.

Head shaking is typically your dog’s way of attempting to relieve some form of discomfort they feel above the neck.

When Should My Dog’s Head Shaking Concern Me?

As we mentioned above, head shaking in your dog can be completely normal in certain situations.

For example, if your dog is shaking their head after enjoying a quick swim, the occasional head shake in the hours following is to be expected.

An occasional head shake that is not repetitive can also be normal, as our pups can experience an itch on their skin from time to time.

While occasional head shaking can be nothing of concern, constant head shaking should always be taken seriously.

A dog that is shaking their head frequently is telling you that they are trying to relive some form of discomfort, whether it is a simple itch or severe pain.

If you notice your pup shaking their head multiple times throughout the day, it’s time to have them seen by your vet.

6 Common Causes Of Head Shaking In Dogs

Now that you understand the behavior of head shaking in our canine companions, we can begin to discuss some of the potential causes of this habit below.

To help you get to the bottom of your dog’s constant head shaking, let’s list a few of the conditions that are often behind this behavior.

Ear Infections

Ear infections are the most common cause of head shaking in our furry friends.

Dogs can develop ear infections due to bacterial or yeast overgrowth, leading to an array of uncomfortable symptoms to follow.

The severe itching and pain associated with an ear infection can cause a dog significant discomfort, leading to constant head shaking in attempts to find relief.

Dogs with an ear infection may also experience redness of the pinna, pawing at the face, odor of the ears, and even rubbing their faces on the ground.

These infections can be excruciating for our beloved pups, as they may not display obvious symptoms until their infection is severe.

Not only can the ear infection in itself be painful, but the constant shaking of the head can lead to even more trauma.

Your vet can typically diagnose an ear infection with a simple examination of the ear canal, as well as an examination of an ear swab under a microscope.

Your veterinarian can then prescribe the right medication based on the bacteria that is present within the ears.

Fleas

Fleas are another common cause of head shaking in dogs.

While most fleas will not reside within your dog’s ears, they can certainly run across their face and leave irritation in their path.

Not only can the presence of fleas crawling across your dog’s skin cause them to shake their head, but so can a potential allergic reaction known as flea allergy dermatitis.

Flea allergies develop when a dog’s immune system reacts to the flea bite, leading to severe itching and secondary infections.

Flea allergy dermatitis can also lead to ear infections if the skin irritation is not addressed quickly, as the chronic skin inflammation can be a catalyst for growing bacteria.

If you fear that your dog has fleas, we suggest reaching out to your vet to discuss proper flea and tick control going forward.

Your vet can also address any secondary skin or ear infections with a physical exam, and can get them started on antibiotics if needed.

Allergies

As we mentioned above, allergies can cause an array of complications for the dog affected.

Dogs can experience allergies to plant material in the environment, certain ingredients in the food they eat, and materials that come in contact with their skin.

No matter the exact cause of your dog’s allergies, significant skin irritation is often a common symptom.

Not only can the skin irritation from allergies cause a dog to shake their head in search of comfort, but so can the secondary ear infections that occur.

The inflammation from skin allergies can cause bacteria and yeast to replicate within the ears, leading to a cycle of chronic ear infections and pain.

Dogs with allergies can experience:

  • itchy skin
  • ear infections
  • redness of the skin
  • fur loss
  • eye discharge
  • nasal discharge
  • GI upset
  • and even weight loss.

If you think your pup is suffering from canine allergies, we suggest reaching out to your veterinarian for guidance.

They can not only examine their skin and ears for evidence of allergies, but can determine the best treatment plan for your dog based on their symptoms.

Some of the standard treatment options for canine allergies include daily antihistamine, monthly allergy injections, oral medications to control itching, ectoparasite treatment, and even elimination diets.

Ear Hematoma

Ear hematomas often develop as a result of ear infections in dogs, but they can certainly lead to additional head shaking when they develop.

Ear hematomas develop due to trauma to the vessels within the ear, leading to a collection of blood in the pinna.

Though the most common cause of ear hematomas is head shaking to begin with, dogs with an ear hematoma will shake their head even more than before.

Ear hematomas are extremely painful for our canine friends, and will cause a dog to shake their head in search of relief.

They may also paw at their face, rub their head on the ground, and even lean their head to one side.

These symptoms will continue until the ear hematoma is addressed by your veterinarian.

Due to how painful ear hematomas can be, we always suggest contacting your vet at the first sign of swelling of the pinna (outer ear).

Your vet will determine the best treatment approach based on the severity of their case.

The most common treatment option involves lancing the ear hematoma under general anesthesia and placing multiple sutures throughout the pinna.

Ear Foreign Bodies

Another factor behind head shaking in dogs is the presence of a foreign body in the ear.

Dogs can easily get items stuck in their ear canal, ranging from blades of grass to foxtails.

The feeling of having a foreign item in their ear can cause a dog extreme discomfort, often shaking their head in attempts to resolve the sensation.

Dogs with ear foreign bodies will not only shake their heads, but they will typically display other signs of distress as well.

These pups may paw at their ears, rub their face on the ground, whine, and appear extremely restless.

Dogs with ear foreign bodies may also be sensitive when you attempt to peek into their ear, as the foreign body could be causing significant pain.

If you think your dog may have something stuck in their ear, we suggest reaching out to your vet as soon as possible.

Your veterinarian can examine their ear thoroughly in search of anything abnormal, and can determine the best plan of action to remove the foreign body safely.

Neurological Disorders

Though this is the most uncommon cause of head shaking in dogs, neurological disorders can cause strange symptoms in our canine friends as well.

For example, a neurological condition known as vestibular disease can cause our pups to lean their heads in one direction, even shaking their head from side to side in some cases.

Neurological disorders can cause our dogs to feel unsteady on their feet, and head shaking can be displayed when this happens.

Neurological disorders in dogs can lead to changes in behavior, changes in gait, muscle tremors, seizures, vocalizations, and virtually any other change in their normal actions.

If you fear a neurological disorder in your dog, we suggest reaching out to your vet immediately for further guidance.

Diagnosing The Cause Of Head Shaking In Dogs

If you take your dog to the vet’s office for shaking their head, there are a few diagnostic options they may turn to based on your dog’s situation.

Some of the most common diagnostic tools for head shaking in dogs include:

  • Physical exam
  • Examination of the ears
  • Ear cytology
  • Skin scraping
  • Allergy testing

Every case will vary, and the diagnostic options may differ based on your dog’s specific symptoms and overall health.

We suggest always following the guidance of your veterinarian when getting to the bottom of their head shaking.

Final Thoughts

Occasional head shaking can be a normal behavior in our furry friends, but constant head shaking should always be explored by your veterinarian.

Head shaking is often a sign of discomfort in some form, so it’s best to get to the bottom of your dog’s symptoms as soon as possible.

My name is Amber. I am a dedicated animal lover that turned my passion into my career. I am a Licensed Vet Tech with 10 years of experience in veterinary medicine, but I recently took my career online to help spread accurate information on animal care. With how vast the online world is, I have a strong desire to ensure that the reader always walks away with helpful pet advice. With the experience I’ve gained from my time in this field, I have been able to travel the world, offering my services to as many animal rescues as I can find. If I am not at my laptop, or back home visiting family, you can find me somewhere in the world, cuddling every furry friend that I can find! Read more about us here.

What to Do if Your Dog Is Shaking, Shivering, or Trembling

There are a lot of scary diseases out there that can cause your dog to shake. 5  Distemper, neurological diseases, kidney disease, and seizure disorders (as well as many, many more diseases) can all cause shaking in dogs. Keep careful track of any other changes in your dog’s behavior, activity level, and appetite.

Many dogs tremble or shake, even when it’s not cold outside. This is especially common in small dogs like Chihuahuas. While shivering can be just a normal fact of life for some dogs, it can also be a warning sign that something is amiss.

There are many different reasons that your dog could be shaking, ranging from benign to concerning. Whether or not you should seek treatment will depend on the opinion of your vet, but keep in mind that some of the reasons dogs shiver are quite difficult to pin down.

Eating many different toxins can cause your dog to shake or have seizure activity. Take your dog to the vet and call Animal Poison Control (888-426-4435) right away if your dog has started trembling after eating something. Toxins can cause a medical emergency very quickly, so don’t “wait and see” if you think your dog’s shaking was caused by eating something new.

There are many different reasons that dogs shake. Let’s explore some of them now, starting with the least serious explanation and moving up from there.

Many dogs with thin coats or low-fat content, like Greyhounds and Dobermans, get cold easily. Even if it’s 50 or 60 degrees F outside, some dogs get chilly. Be especially cautious if it’s humid or rainy, as this makes dogs feel colder.

If your dog’s shaking doesn’t stop once you’ve warmed her up, check with your vet to ensure there’s not something else going on.

Some small dogs “just tremble.” Anyone who’s been around a few Chihuahuas or Miniature Pinschers will agree that many of these little dogs just tremble a lot. Experts haven’t been able to nail down exactly why, but it could be that small dogs are cold more often, they’re more anxious, or another unknown reason.

Be more concerned if the trembling is a new behavior or if it accompanies other changes in your dog’s behavior. If your small dog trembles a lot, ask your vet about it.

Your vet can assess muscle tone and check for other reasons your dog might be trembling. She may diagnose your dog with Generalized Tremor Syndrome (GTS), which can be treated with corticosteroids.

Have you ever exercised so much that your muscles quiver a bit? Or noticed that a pulled muscle vibrates when you move the wrong way? The same can happen to your dogs! Quivering is a common symptom of pain, injury, or weakness.

Check with your vet if shaking is limited to a given area (say, the right hind leg), started after some heavy exercise, or is accompanied with a decrease in activity level. You may notice that the muscle tremor gets worse if you touch the area, attempt to stretch or massage it, or exercise your dog. Many dogs that tremble due to pain or weakness will also appear stressed.

Strong emotions can make dogs tremble or shake. If you notice that your dog’s trembling starts and stops in specific situations (like at the vet, when guests are visiting, or on walks), there’s a good chance that there’s an emotional reason for your dog’s shaking. Even if this is caused by excitement instead of fear, it’s a good idea to get help teaching your dog to feel relaxed.

In this case, it’s often best to see a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant to learn how to help your dog feel more relaxed in a given situation. Skip the local obedience trainer, since they’re more skilled at teaching commands than changing emotions.

Your dog behavior consultant may suggest that you speak to your vet about behavioral medications for your dog if it seems like the behavior modification protocols aren’t helping much.

There are a lot of scary diseases out there that can cause your dog to shake. Distemper, neurological diseases, kidney disease, and seizure disorders (as well as many, many more diseases) can all cause shaking in dogs.

Keep careful track of any other changes in your dog’s behavior, activity level, and appetite. Pay close attention to the frequency, odor, and consistency of your dog’s stool and urine. If your dog’s shaking is relatively new and accompanied by other symptoms, get a full veterinary workup as soon as possible. There may be bloodwork and other tests involved, but it’s worth it for your pup’s health!

While some of the diseases that cause shaking are treatable or manageable, others, like distemper, are very serious and often fatal. Vaccinate your dog to help prevent distemper. Good preventative care can also stave off kidney disease. The causes of seizure disorders and neurological disease can be harder to pin down.

 Illustration: The Spruce / Melissa Ling

Treatment for a shaking dog will vary based on the underlying cause. For a dog that's cold or excited, treatment may be as simple as warming her up or calming her down. If that's not helping, it's probably time to see a vet.

There are a few warning signs that let us know it’s time to go see a vet sooner rather than later. Call your vet right away if:

  • Your dog’s shaking is accompanied with other symptoms, like lethargy, anxiety, diarrhea, limping, or vomiting.
  • Your dog’s trembling is interfering with normal behavior like playtime or sleeping.
  • Your dog starts shivering after ingesting something unusual.
  • Your dog appears distressed when he’s shaking. Pay special attention to “calming signals” such as stress panting, lip licking, or ears that are pulled far back.

If your dog is sick or injured, the treatments will likely require veterinary help. Your vet may prescribe rest, massage, or even surgery—all dependent on the underlying cause of your dog's shaking.

Depending on what your dog ate, a dog that's shaking due to toxins might just need to vomit. Be sure to speak to a poison control center to double-check.

Again, the specific prevention will depend on the cause of your dog's shivering. Keeping your dog warm, relaxed, up-to-date on preventative care, well-exercised, and away from toxic "snacks" can all help keep her from shaking. That said, certain breeds or individuals might be more prone to the mysterious "Generalized Tremor Syndrome," which has no known way to treat or prevent.

It’s important to get help if your dog’s shaking is accompanied by behavior changes, other symptoms, or started after eating something new. While shivering can just be a simple case of Generalized Tremor Syndrome or cold, it can also be a symptom of serious diseases or even anxiety.

Dog Breeds Predisposed to Shaking Issues

Small dogs have a larger surface-area-to-volume ratio. In other words, smaller dogs have relatively more skin through which to loose heat than do big dogs. Dogs who are thin, elderly or very young, sick, or have short, sparse coats are also typically highly sensitive to cold. Shaker Syndrome

By Jennifer Coates, DVM

Some breeds of dogs are known to have issues with shaking and trembling. Sometimes the shaking is limited to one region of the body; in other cases, a dog’s whole body can tremble. Shaking can be associated with normal canine behaviors and physiological responses, or it can be a sign of a potentially serious health condition. With all this variability, how can owners know when shaking is a problem? Learning about what can make healthy dogs shake and the conditions that afflict certain breeds of dogs is a good first step.

Common Causes of Shaking in Dogs

Dogs can be expected to shake in specific situations. Some can’t be still when they get excited. If they’re not able to run and leap, they’ll simply tremble with joy. Anxiety can also cause shaking in dogs. As long as the circumstances that cause the anxious response are reasonable and short-lived (say someone suddenly opens up an umbrella), the shaking is nothing to worry about. But, if anxiety becomes a recurrent problem that significantly affects a dog’s quality of life, it should be addressed.

Low temperatures can make anyone shiver, but some types of dogs get cold faster than others. Small dogs have a larger surface-area-to-volume ratio. In other words, smaller dogs have relatively more skin through which to loose heat than do big dogs. Dogs who are thin, elderly or very young, sick, or have short, sparse coats are also typically highly sensitive to cold.

Shaker Syndrome

Small, white breeds of dogs, like Maltese and West Highland White Terriers, are at higher than average risk for a condition known as acquired tremors syndrome. In fact, the disease is sometimes even called little white dog shaker syndrome, even though it has been diagnosed in dogs who have any coat color. Symptoms commonly develop in young dogs who weigh under 35 pounds.

Dogs with the condition may have tremors that are mild and only affect one part of the body, or the tremors may be so generalized and severe as to make it hard for a dog to walk. Oftentimes, the tremors get worse with activity and excitement and improve after a dog has rested. Other neurologic problems may be seen, as well.

In most cases, treatment with relatively high doses of the drug prednisone leads to rapid improvement in a dog’s tremors. Patients can then be weaned of off the drug over the course of four to six months. Other medications and supportive care may be necessary if a dog’s tremors are especially severe.

Shaking Puppy Syndrome

Several breeds of dogs have a genetic predisposition for developing abnormalities affecting nerves within the spinal cord, including:

  • Bernese Mountain Dogs
  • Chow Chows
  • English Springer Spaniels
  • Rat Terriers
  • Samoyeds
  • Weimaraners

The resulting condition often goes by the generic name “shaking puppy syndrome.” Usually symptoms become evident within a few weeks of the puppies being born. Clinical signs include tremors of the head and body that often get worse with activity and excitement and improve with rest. Affected puppies may also have an unusual way of standing and difficulty walking and eating. Symptoms range from mild to severe.

In some species (Weimaraners, Chow Chows, and Rat Terriers), shaking typically improves over the course of a few months, and many individuals move normally once they are fully mature. Tremors in affected Bernese Mountain Dogs often persist but do not have a significant effect on quality of life. English Springer Spaniels and Samoyeds initially tend to have milder tremors that worsen over time. A genetic test is available for Weimaraners that can be used to help guide breeding decisions.

Head Tremors in Dogs

Doberman Pinschers and English Bulldogs are at risk for developing head tremors. Affected dogs may look like they are nodding “yes” or shaking their head “no.” The tremors may start and stop for no apparent reason, but are typically not severe enough to have much of an adverse effect on a pet’s quality of life. Shaking may be worse when the dog is resting and then improve if the dog’s attention becomes focused. The cause of head tremors in English Bulldogs has not been identified, but a genetic aberration is suspected in Doberman Pinschers. In about half of affected Bulldogs, the tremors will resolve with time.

Other Causes of Shaking in Dogs

Of course, dogs may shake or tremble for reasons other than those listed here. For example, infections, exposure to toxins, age-related changes, metabolic imbalances (e.g., low sugar or calcium levels), hormonal disorders, seizures, and conditions affecting the cerebellum (part of the brain) can all cause dogs to shake. Dogs with unexplained shaking or trembling should be evaluated by a veterinarian.

Dog Shivering, Shaking, and Trembling: Causes and Treatments

26-04-2021 · When you see your pooch shaking, panic might be your first reaction. The question of "why is my dog shaking" is quite a complex one as shaking in dogs sometimes requires immediate veterinarian help, while at other times, it is something completely benign.

26-04-2021

When you see your pooch shaking, panic might be your first reaction. The question of "why is my dog shaking" is quite a complex one as shaking in dogs sometimes requires immediate veterinarian help, while at other times, it is something completely benign.

Our four-legged friends can shiver, shake, or tremble for various reasons. While some of the causes are entirely harmless, others are intertwined with health issues, behavioral problems, and overall well-being. So, when is the time to ring the alarm and contact a veterinarian for help? Let's find out.

Harmless reasons why dogs shiver

There is no single answer to the question of why dogs tremble, shake, or shiver. In reality, such behaviors can happen because of numerous reasons, and let's start with the widespread and generally harmless ones. While some are caused by excitement or coldness, others are more complex, ranging from stress to fear. Let's find out about the causes behind dog shivering that don't require the vet's help and how you can cope with them.

Being cold

You're probably familiar with how cold weather can make you shake, and it's the same with dogs. Dog's body temperature is higher compared to humans (100 to 102.5°F against 98.6°F), and they have a much higher metabolic rate.

When dogs get cold, they need to produce more heat to stay warm. It causes canines to shiver, with their bodies producing heat through muscle contractions to raise their body temperature.

If it's freezing cold outside, your dog will be the first to let you know. Watch for signs of panting and shaking, especially if the dog's ears are low or flat to the head. When your dog is trembling inside, it's also a sign that they need help. Try increasing the room temperature or bring extra blankets to cover your freezing pooch.

What's the takeaway? Shivering in dogs is natural and quite widespread, but if your pup is still shaking after warming up, keep on reading to learn about other reasons.

Anxiety

why is my dog shivering

Anxiety is yet another factor that might explain dog shivers. Anxiety in pups can manifest in different forms, starting from excessive barking to pacing or destroying furniture. Shivering is another common sign of anxiety, which can happen if your dog is adjusting to a new environment, meeting new people, or dealing with other stressful situations.

If your dog gets nervous whenever you're not around, they might be suffering from separation anxiety. You can manage it by getting a pet sitter, leaving the radio or TV turned on, or communicating with your dog remotely via a pet camera.

Fear and Stress

Same as with anxiety, dogs may shake when they are scared or stressed. It can happen when pups are left alone in the dark, frightened by other dogs or humans, or disoriented by thunderstorms. They might also shake as a result of loud noise or sudden movement.

The best thing you can do is to help your dog feel secure and safe. If your pup is shivering around other dogs, you can try offering them their favorite treats until another dog passes to change your pup's negative emotional response. If your dog is afraid of fireworks, plan a few outings with them on the days that fireworks are going off so they can get used to it and reward them generously for any progress in overcoming their fear.

Excitement

why does my dog shake

Sometimes, it's just plain old excitement. When dogs are super-excited about something, they may shake as their body tries to overcome the emotions of the moment. You don't need to do much to make your dog excited, just come home after a long workday, and you'll see your dog barking, jumping, and even trembling out of sheer joy.

The truth is that even an excited pup that is shivering is no better than a scared or stressed dog. You should encourage your Fido to feel more relaxed, even during the happiest moments of the day. Train your four-legged friend to calm down and reward them for quiet behavior.\

Petcube vet services

Old age

Dog back legs shaking might be caused by your pup's old age. While some dogs develop usual tremors when getting older, others experience shivers alongside joint or muscle pain. These tremors usually don't prevent dogs from moving and running as they used to, but you never know whether they are in pain.

Please remember that caring for an aging dog is a serious responsibility, so don't neglect to make regular vet visits.

Attention-seeking behavior

my dog is shivering

Seeking attention in dogs doesn't exclusively come in the form of shivering or shaking. Some doggos bark, growl, or beg for food to get a little bit of your precious time and attention. But if your dog is a real drama queen, they might shiver as a part of their act.

What can you do to alleviate shaking as an attention-seeking behavior? It's pretty simple: ignore them and do your best not to reinforce this behavior. While it works for most pups, others also require more physical exercise and play-time to stay entertained. If the problem doesn't go away, having a consultation with a certified dog behaviorist is your best option.

Serious concerns behind dog trembling

Alright, but what if your dog keeps shaking after checking up on all the mentioned causes? Tremors in dogs sometimes are worrying signs of illnesses, immune system disorders, and even food poisoning. When dog tremors don't stop for quite some time, you should know how to spot danger and react to it. Check out some serious reasons behind dog shaking and how to mitigate them.

Food poisoning

why does my dog tremble

If your dog develops a case of shivers, chances are they ate something they shouldn't have. While people can safely consume hundreds of food products, it's not the same with canines. There are dozens of everyday human foods that are actually toxic to pets. Some of them, like chocolate and macadamia nuts sound pretty innocent but, in reality, can cost your dog's life.

The most common food poisoning symptoms in dogs include vomiting, lethargy, reduced appetite, abdominal pain, and trembling. The best way to ease your dog's suffering during food poisoning is to offer them water, but not food. If your pup is still vomiting, trembling, or experiencing lethargy, don't wait anymore and immediately bring him to the vet.

Generalized tremor syndrome

Shaking in dogs, which is not associated with excitement, anxiety, or stress, can be a sign of generalized tremor syndrome (GTS). It was first discovered in small breeds, such as Maltese and Poodle, and it got a name of a "white dog shaker syndrome." Since then, it was proved that this condition can occur in any dog, regardless of breed, color, or size.

Dogs with white shaker dog syndrome have tremors in the form of shaking movements that are similar to shivering. In severe cases, pups might experience difficulties walking. What's more, GTS causes rhythmic shaking that isn't always visible to the human eye.

Such dog tremors are caused by the inflammation of both the brain and spinal cords. According to the research done in the University of Sydney, GTS is idiopathic, meaning that the underlying cause of inflammation has not yet been identified. If you spot any of the unfamiliar shaking movements in the dog's head and body, don't hesitate to call your vet ASAP.

The treatment may require the use of steroids that suppress the immune system, in addition to decreasing inflammation. That's why you should contact a veterinarian to start treatment and speed up your pup's recovery.

Distemper

Unfortunately for all dog owners, our four-legged friends can also get ill. Distemper is a vaccine-preventable contagious disease that damages dogs' gastrointestinal, respiratory, and nervous systems.

As specified by AVMA, the symptoms of distemper include lethargy, reduced appetite, and muscle seizures in severe cases. Even though this disease can be treated, it's better to prevent it by following a vaccination schedule. Don't leave any gaps in the immunization schedule and ring the alarm bell if your pet starts developing symptoms. So, if your dog is shaking and all the other causes don't apply, contact your veterinarian ASAP.

Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia in dogs refers to the condition of having low blood sugar, affecting canines' neurological functions. Glucose is a driver for your dog's energy levels and overall activity. Hypoglycemia may be caused by poor diet, excessive exercise, insulin overdose, or liver inflammation.

Canines affected by this condition show the symptoms of lethargy, loss of coordination, muscle spasms, trembling, and, if left untreated, unconsciousness and coma followed by death. So if your pup is shivering and you have reasons to suspect a low sugar level, give them some sugar water and contact a vet. The sooner you find the reason, and start tracking your dog's blood sugar levels to take necessary actions, the better the outcome will be.

Takeaway

As you now know, the question "why do dogs shake" can have various answers. Some of the benign reasons for dog shaking or trembling include being cold, excited, stressed, anxious, or scared. What's more, your pup might be just seeking your attention.

Quite a different situation with dog shivering happens when reviewing health-related concerns. They include food poisoning, old age, GTS, and other diseases, which in many cases can be prevented by vaccination and regular vet visits. Make sure to monitor your pups' behavior when they start to shiver, and you can't explain it by cold or excitement.

9 Different Reasons That Dogs Tremble (Vet-Approved …

20-09-2018 · Dogs shake when they’re in pain. There are 2 components to this: Pain is frightening and unexplainable to a dog, and this may make them anxious. Therefore, the dog trembles with fear. One theory is that shaking by the dog somehow “dulls” the sensation of pain by confusing the small radius pain receptors in the skin.

20-09-2018
Reasons dogs tremble
Pain, fear and cold are all possible reasons dogs tremble. Photo: antschabaer

Does your dog shake or tremble?

I’m not talking about the dogs who shake themselves dry or flap their ears occasionally so much as the dog with a fine muscular tremor. The trembling may just affect one leg or the dog’s whole body.

If you don’t understand the reasons your dog trembles, this can be worrying.

Of course, sometimes the cause can be obvious, such as:

But other times, the reason the dog trembles is less clear.

Why Do Dogs Tremble?

So why do some dogs shake? Let’s look at 9 of the most common causes:

1. Fear

There’s a reason many dogs shake at the vet’s — fear!

Sadly, trembling at the vet clinic often goes with the territory (although many clinics are working hard to reverse this).

If your dog trembles when they’re relaxed at home, this is a different matter.

2. Cold

Trembling in a dog is caused by muscular activity, which generates heat. On a cold day — especially for dogs like Whippets or Greyhounds, who have thin skin and short hair — trembling in the dog is a way to generate heat and warm up.

For the geeks among you, shaking with cold has a special term: rigors.

3. Pain

Dogs shake when they’re in pain. There are 2 components to this:

  • Pain is frightening and unexplainable to a dog, and this may make them anxious. Therefore, the dog trembles with fear.
  • One theory is that shaking by the dog somehow “dulls” the sensation of pain by confusing the small radius pain receptors in the skin.
Beagles can suffer from shaker syndrome. Photo: alpineveg

4. Partial or Focal Seizures

Some dogs have a bizarre form of erratic electrical activity in the brain that triggers a highly localized seizure.

Instead of affecting the whole body (with signs such as loss of consciousness, stiff legs, paddling movements, and loss of bladder and bowel control), the seizure is restricted to one piece of the anatomy.

Signs of this include the dog playing “air guitar” with one leg and not stopping, no matter how much you distract them.

Another form of focal seizures is the uncontrolled twitching or trembling of one part of their body, such as an ear, the whiskers or a leg.

If you think your dog may be having focal seizures, try to video record the event to show your vet. Witnessing the episode for themselves is helpful when vets are making a diagnosis.

5. Shaker Syndrome

Calling all humans of white dogs like West Highland White Terriers and Malteses, as well as (confusingly) Beagles, Min Pins and Yorkshire Terriers.

All of these dogs can be smitten with a shaking condition that results in a strange gait and sometimes even collapse. We used to call this “white dog shaker syndrome,” but now just plain “shaker syndrome” is becoming the preferred term for it.

The condition starts suddenly, often when the dog is young (1–4 years old). The signs can gradually worsen over a few days and then stabilize.

Other signs include:

  • Trembling and shaking
  • Balance problems
  • Head tilt
  • Walking with a sway
  • Seizures

It’s thought this condition is a form of immune-mediated disease. This means the immune system turns on the body and attacks its own tissue. In this case, the tissue is the brain, and the result is a mild form of encephalitis.

Shaker syndrome in dogs is treated with high doses of steroids. The idea is to reduce brain inflammation and switch off that self-harming immune reaction.

It’s pretty common for dogs to tremble and shake if they’re scared of going to the vet. Photo: LauraTara

6. Low Blood Glucose

Have you ever gotten so hungry you started to shake?

Most likely, you were experiencing such a low blood sugar level (hypoglycemia) that you started to shake. This is most often a problem for 2 groups of dogs: those who are very small (the teacup breeds) and diabetics.

Those teeny-tiny toy dogs have low reserves of sugar, so if they skip a few meals, it can induce a condition similar to a diabetic who’s had too much insulin.

Which brings us to diabetics. If there’s a mismatch between the insulin given and the amount the dog eats, this can result in all the available blood sugar being used up and a hypoglycemic coma.

Shortly before this, you should see the classic shakes and tremors.

(Of course, this is a whole different scale to when we humans get over-hungry, so if you’re otherwise well, don’t worry about lapsing into a coma just because you skipped a meal.)

7. Low Blood Calcium Levels

This is a bit of a specialist tremor in dogs, most likely to happen only in specific, rare circumstances. Calcium is important for muscular contraction, and low levels can cause erratic muscular activity.

The first scenario is the nursing mother dog, when the puppies are 3–4 weeks old. At this age, they greedily take a lot of the mother’s nutrition from her body, including sucking down lots of calcium in her milk.

If the body struggles to make more calcium available from her bones, this results in low blood levels of calcium and some pretty dramatic twitching.

The second circumstance affects cats after thyroid surgery. The gland that controls blood calcium levels sits snug on top of the thyroid gland, and if its delicate blood supply is damaged, this can send calcium levels plummeting.

8. Addison’s Disease

Addison’s disease is caused by the body being unable to make enough of the stress hormone cortisol.

This results in lots of different vague symptoms such as sickness, diarrhea and general weakness. The signs often wax and wane but get progressively worse each time.

One of the less obvious clues is muscular weakness. This shows up as difficulty jumping up onto a favorite sofa and muscular twitches and tremors.

This condition most frequently affects young dogs but can also occur if dogs on steroids suddenly stop taking their medication.

In this video, vets are trying to figure out why this dog trembles:

9. Old Dog Tremors

Last but not least, old dog tremors.

The fancy term for these are “idiopathic,” but what this actually means is no one is sure why it happens.

One theory is that the protective layer around the nerves starts to thin with age (like the insulation perishing around electricity cables). This leads to misfiring of the nerves and those common muscular tics seen in senior pets.

Take a Video When Your Dog Trembles

Has your dog’s shaking taken on a new significance?

If you are worried, always get your pet checked by a veterinarian.

Film the shaking on your phone — seeing it firsthand is super helpful when the vet is making a diagnosis. Happily, most of the causes of the shakes have treatments, so it’s well worth pursuing the clues.

vet-cross60pThis pet health content was written by a veterinarian, Dr. Pippa Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS. It was last reviewed Sept. 21, 2018.
If you have questions or concerns, call your vet, who is best equipped to ensure the health and well-being of your pet. This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See additional information.
Is Your Dear Old Dog Shaking? 11 Reasons Why Senior Dogs ...

02-01-2020 · Why is my little old dog shaking?” As a veterinarian, I knew that diagnosing the cause of shaking in an older dog can be tricky. I’d need to give Bailey a thorough exam and rule out many conditions so that I could help him. I’d start with the most common reasons senior dogs shake. 11 reasons why old dogs shake . Shaking or trembling in senior dogs can be caused by a very long list of ...

02-01-2020

photo person holding old white dog and title why is my dear old dog shaking

SUMMARY: Your beloved old dog is shaking. Is this normal? Veterinarians Dr. Erica Irish and Dr. Julie Buzby have answers and actionable tips. Through a case study of Dr. Irish’s elderly dog, you’ll learn 11 common reasons why senior dogs shake, shiver, and tremble.

Why is my old dog shaking?

Lately, my 13-year-old Dachshund, Bailey, has been jumping onto my lap and shaking more often than usual. Since developing arthritis a few years ago, he’d adopted this routine as his way of saying, “Please let me go out to potty, or I’m going to burst!” However, now he was routinely hopping onto my lap and shaking, even if he’d just gone to the bathroom a few minutes prior.

I looked into my beloved companion’s eyes and wondered, “What is he telling me? Why is my little old dog shaking?” As a veterinarian, I knew that diagnosing the cause of shaking in an older dog can be tricky. I’d need to give Bailey a thorough exam and rule out many conditions so that I could help him. I’d start with the most common reasons senior dogs shake.

photo-old-dachshund

11 reasons why old dogs shake

Shaking or trembling in senior dogs can be caused by a very long list of conditions, but a handful of diagnoses rise to the top of the list. Here are 11 reasons for old dog shaking (in no particular order):

1. Excitement

Even an older dog can still get excited when his family comes home! Sometimes this excitement seems to exude right out of the dog’s pores and shaking or trembling ensues. Along the same lines, it is also possible for senior dogs to experience trembling and shivering when they are about to enjoy their favorite treat or play with their favorite toy.  

photo senior dog greeting owner
Some senior dogs shake or tremble when they are excited. For example, an old dog may shake with excitement when greeting a family member.

2. Medications/toxins

Several medications can cause tremoring as a side effect by altering the balance of neurotransmitters in the nervous system. Though the mechanism for causing shaking is different, toxins can do the same. Common offenders include chocolate, xylitol, and pesticides.

PRO TIP: If you ever suspect that your dog has gotten into a known toxin in your home, grab the box/container and take it with you to the vet to facilitate diagnosis and treatment.

3. Addison’s disease

Even though Addison’s is most commonly diagnosed in 4 to 5-year-old dogs, dogs of any age can be affected. Addison’s disease makes our list because if left untreated, it is a life-threatening condition.

Dogs with Addison’s can appear very sluggish and experience vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, loss of appetite, shaking, and hair loss. The symptoms are often vague, nonspecific, and come and go. Dogs with Addison’s do not produce enough cortisol—a hormone made by the adrenal glands that helps dogs respond to stress and regulate blood sugar levels.

If your dog has clinical signs mentioned above, contact your veterinarian. She will likely recommend blood and urine testing to screen for Addison’s disease and other illnesses.

4. Cold (hypothermia)

If your dog suddenly starts to shiver while out in the yard and the mercury has dropped, then he may simply need a sweater! Dogs can shiver and shake due to the cold just like humans. To prevent this, make sure your dog has warm bedding and protective clothing during the cold months of the year.

photo of pug wearing a red sweater and standing in snow
Cold temperatures may cause a dog to shake. In this case, a cozy sweater may be the solution.

5. Nausea

Nausea can be caused by numerous health conditions—infection, poisoning, liver disease, and kidney disease, to name a few. A nauseous dog is not necessarily a vomiting dog. More subtle signs of nausea include:

  • lip smacking
  • shaking
  • panting
  • excessive swallowing
  • drooling

If you’re concerned about your dog showing signs of tummy upset, contact your veterinarian. Depending on the history and exam findings, your vet may recommend blood and urine testing to identify a cause. Routine lab work is especially important in senior dogs in order to detect disorders as early as possible, such as chronic kidney disease. (To learn more about collecting lab samples at home, please read 7 Tips for Improving Your Dog’s Lab Tests.)

6. Neurologic disease

Dogs with certain brain diseases can develop tremors and sometimes even seizures. Infection and/or inflammation of the central nervous system may be difficult to diagnose on routine testing. For this reason, your veterinarian may recommend referral to a veterinary neurologist for evaluation and more specialized testing. Neurologic disease always has to be on the rule-out list when a senior dog suddenly starts trembling or shaking, but it’s important to remember that it is only one of many reasons for this symptom.

7. Generalized tremor syndrome (GTS)

This tremor-causing condition can occur in any size and color of dog, but it’s also known as white dog shaker syndrome, because it is diagnosed most commonly in small, white breeds (especially the Maltese, the West Highland White Terrier, and the Bichon Frise). The tremors can be localized to the head or generalized—affecting the entire body. While the cause is unknown, there are some theories suggesting that the immune system plays a role. Steroid medications like prednisone are prescribed for treatment. While GTS mostly affects young dogs, because dogs have lifelong signs, older dogs can manifest symptoms too.

photo small, white dog
Small dogs may shake due to a condition called GTS or white dog shaker syndrome.

8. Pain

If your older dog shivers or shakes, especially in the hind end, he may be exhibiting one of the signs of pain due to canine arthritis. Dogs can also experience generalized pain due to infection, injury, and even dental disease. Depending on the source of pain, your veterinarian might recommend further diagnostic testing and/or prescribe pain medication. If arthritis is suspected, our comprehensive guide, How to Relieve Arthritis Pain in Dogs, is a helpful resource.

photo old dog with ears tilted down as if in pain
A painful dog may shake or shiver.

9. Idiopathic

The term idiopathic comes from Greek roots and literally translates as “private disease,” but we use it commonly in medicine to mean “of unknown cause.” There are many idiopathic conditions in veterinary medicine, ranging from seizures to vestibular disease. The term can be associated with tremoring in older dogs too.

Unfortunately, idiopathic old dog tremor syndrome is—like all idiopathic mysteries—a diagnosis of exclusion. In other words, veterinarians rule out everything else and then are left with idiopathic disease as the fall-back explanation.

If your senior dog exhibits shaking hind legs and the problem has not developed into progressive neurologic disease and your vet has ruled out other common diagnoses, then you may be left with this diagnosis, which is not bad news. It is considered a benign condition. 

10. Anxiety and fear

Like people, dogs can shake when they’re afraid or anxious. Some dogs can be afraid of loud sounds like thunderstorms or fireworks. For senior dogs, problems like vision loss due to cataracts and hearing loss can alter their confidence and personality and make them more likely to tremble.

It is common for some dogs to shake out of fear or anxiety. For example, some dogs tremble during thunderstorms.

11. Canine cognitive dysfunction

Another cause of shaking in older dogs is canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD). Dogs with CCD can become more anxious and restless, especially at night. For more information about this common condition that afflicts senior dogs, check out Managing Canine Cognitive Dysfunction in Dogs: Signs, Symptoms, Solutions.

When to see the vet

You know your dog better than anyone. If your grey-muzzled companion is experiencing shaking and trembling, make an appointment with your veterinarian today. Early diagnosis almost always yields better outcomes.

In addition to performing a thorough physical exam, your vet will want to gather some key information to formulate a “rule out” list. By carefully observing your dog’s symptoms, you can help your veterinarian narrow down the diagnosis. Be prepared to answer questions like these:

1. Is the shaking/trembling episodic—meaning does it come and go? Or is it ongoing and continuous?

2. Does the shaking/trembling change with your dog’s activity level? In other words, is it worse with activity and better at rest?

PRO TIP: We’ve all heard the joke about your car suddenly not having the “symptom” you made the appointment for, as soon as you pull up to the mechanic’s garage to have it checked out. The same phenomenon occurs in veterinary medicine! Take a video of your old dog shaking to show your veterinarian in case the patient looks different in the exam room than at home. We believe it will be exceedingly valuable for your vet to see exactly what you see at home. Thanks to the modern cell phone camera, this is easy homework.

What was the underlying cause behind Bailey’s shaking?

In the case of Bailey, I brought him to our hospital for testing to screen for some of the problems outlined above. Thankfully, all his results came back within normal limits! We determined that his “old dog shaking” occurred mostly at night due to anxiety and CCD. I’ve intentionally made some changes in our nighttime routine, and I started him on a prescription diet for older dogs, plus a supplement for calming. I’m happy to report that his shaking has greatly improved!

photo grey-faced senior dog and title why is my dear old dog shaking

Does your dear old dog shake or shiver?

Please comment below. We can all learn from each other.

Reader Interactions

Why Is My Dog Drooling And Shaking? (11 Reasons)

27-05-2021 · There are many reasons why your dog might be drooling and shaking. It could be due to a change in the temperature, infection near the mouth or throat, allergies, anxiety, parasites, or even rabies. It could be due to a change in the temperature, infection near the mouth or throat, allergies, anxiety, parasites, or even rabies.

27-05-2021

Crazy, unusual behaviors in our pets can be alarming.

One of the most common and concerning ones is excessive drooling and shaking.

There are many reasons why dogs do this.

This blog will investigate the most common and even rare instances of why your dog is behaving this way.

There are many reasons why your dog might be drooling and shaking. It could be due to a change in the temperature, infection near the mouth or throat, allergies, anxiety, parasites, or even rabies.

The first step to finding out what is going on with your pup is to take him in for an examination by a veterinarian so they can diagnose any underlying illnesses and prescribe medication if necessary.

Read along and learn some of the common causes and prevention measures of excessive drooling or hypersalivation.

Common Causes and Prevention of Dogs’ Shaking

1. Distemper

Caused by a virus, sometimes also known as rabies, canine distemper can cause drooling.

The dog is completely unable to control his anger and this sometimes causes them to drool.

It’s also a common cause of trembling and shaking in dogs.

Prevention: Visit the vet for treatment in the form of shots, antibiotics, physical therapy, and fluids to help manage the dehydration from excessive drooling.

2. Generalized Tremor Syndrome (GTS)

GTS in dogs is a disorder that causes shaking.

It’s also known as steroid-responsive tremor syndrome or white shaker dog syndrome and can happen to any size of canine, no matter the breed or color.

Prevention: GTS Treatment generally consists of certain medications in the group of corticosteroids like prednisone.

Results can often be seen as soon as within a week of starting treatment.

3. Nausea

Just like people, dogs also can get nauseous from motion sickness, medication, eating too much, or eating the wrong thing.

Shaking may be a sign that your dog is feeling sick.

Prevention: Nausea is likely to stop when the factor causing also ceases to happen.

For example, if its reason for feeling nauseous was medication, if it stops using the medication it will stop vomiting as well.

4. Foreign Objects in Mouth

Drooling is your dog’s way of telling you that something could be wrong.

Check her mouth for any foreign objects, and remove anything harmful to avoid making the drool worse or increasing pain in sensitive areas like teeth and gums.

If nothing seems obvious, please consult a vet close by who can properly assess how serious this issue may be.

5. Mouth Injuries

don showing its teeth

Make sure to check your dog’s mouth for any signs of injury or bleeding.

Prevention is key so use hydrogen peroxide if you find a small wound on their tongue, gums, teeth, and other parts in the oral cavity that need attention.

If it’s more serious than just scratches then make an appointment with your vet as they know what best works for these types of injuries.

6. Heatstroke

It might not seem real, but drooling is a symptom of heatstroke.

If you feel that maybe your dog is spending too much time in the sun and notice common signs like drooling and unresponsiveness, heatstroke may be the culprit.

Prevention: It is important to know that this condition is critical and can be fatal to your dog, you must take it very seriously and get her to your vet with immediate effect.

You can help prevent heatstroke by ensuring your dog always has easy access to water.

Also do not leave her out in the sun for so long or on hot days or alone in a parked car ever.

7. Liver or Kidney Disease

Both of these diseases also happen in dogs and may cause hypersalivation.

You should visit your vet if you are concerned with your dog’s health, and also remember to schedule regular checkups to identify and treat health problems before they become more critical.

8. Dental Issues

There is something usually known as tartar in dogs’ mouths. You might want to ask your vet what it is and how to spot it.

Tartar usually builds up inside your dog’s mouth, and it can cause him to drool excessively.

You can check his teeth for browning and his gums for redness, swelling, or bleeding.

Consult with your vet if you think that problems like broken teeth, ulcers, and growths are causing excessive salivation.

Your veterinarian will be able to check for more serious dental injuries such as dangerously cracked teeth and recommend appropriate treatments.

Depending on what is found in the examination of their mouths including extraction surgery or a professional cleaning routine.

9. Anxiety

Similar to people get anxious, dogs also sometimes become anxious or carsick during car rides, especially if they are not used to riding.

When anxious, it is common for the dog to drool excessively.

Prevention: You can help him feel more at ease and reduce the occurrence of nausea by taking him on short rides before building up to longer ones.

10. Nose, throat, or Sinus Infections

that affect the muscular part of the nose like palsy, of some kind can also lead to slobbering.

Prevention: See a vet for medication.

11. Old-Age and Pain

an old dog

Like people, as dogs get older, some conditions develop. Some dogs develop tremors in their hind legs.

While some may be in the front legs, these tremors usually don’t affect how your dog moves or walks.

Though you might assume that symptoms like shaking legs are due to your dog’s old age, it might also be a sign of pain.

It is best to talk to your vet if you notice any unusual shaking from an aging pet.

Final Thoughts

When your dog is drooling and shaking excessively, it’s not always because they are happy.

There are a number of possible causes for these symptoms, including distemper disease, GTS (Giant Cell Tumor), nausea, foreign objects in the mouth, or heat stroke.

It can be difficult to determine which one is causing the problem without a veterinary examination so if you notice any of these signs please contact your vet immediately.

See Also

Why Do Dogs Shake? What Causes and How to Handle Dog Shaking

19-12-2018 · So, why do dogs shake if they’re not small dogs like Chihuahuas? “Dogs can shake or tremble for a variety of reasons both medical and behavioral,” says …

19-12-2018

Leave it to dogs to shake things up. Dogs shake off water. They shake a paw. And dogs shake after napping and grooming. And some dogs just shake. Why do dogs shake? Lots of reasons.

Why do dogs shake if they’re small dogs like Chihuahuas?

The Chihuahua dog is very sensitive to the cold weather. Photography ©Eudyptula | Getty Images.
Small dogs like Chihuahuas shake for a variety of reasons, including getting cold easily. Photography ©Eudyptula | Getty Images.

A simple answer to “Why do dogs shake?” is because they’re cold, and in this case, size matters. We’ve all seen a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on in small dogs. Think: Chihuahua.

“Shaking in Chihuahuas isn’t unusual,” says Linda George, who has been showing and breeding the tiny Toy Group breed for nearly 50 years through Ouachitah and Lone Pine Chihuahua in Waukesha, Wisconsin. “There can be many causes: cold, stress, fear, excitement, illness.”

With a full-grown weight of less than 6 pounds, it doesn’t take much of a chill for a Chihuahua to shiver, particularly the short-haired, smooth-coated variety that has neither girth nor long fur to retain heat and keep warm. But it’s not just Chihuahuas. Smaller dogs in general are more susceptible to cold due to their fast metabolism and high energy. Because they break down food and burn energy at a fast rate, they lose heat quickly. Check out this article on winter coats for dogs to find out how to keep small dogs like Chihuahuas warm when it’s cold out.

In addition, lighter-weight breeds can be more excitable and hyperactive, which can cause shaking, according to a University of Sydney research project published in 2013. That research also found that short breeds are more prone to things that can cause shaking, such as attachment issues, fear of other dogs and sensitivity to touch.

Why do dogs shake? The good and the bad reasons for dog shaking

So, why do dogs shake if they’re not small dogs like Chihuahuas? “Dogs can shake or tremble for a variety of reasons both medical and behavioral,” says animal behaviorist Megan E. Maxwell, PhD. “There are many cases where shaking is related to anxiety. Dogs will tremble during thunderstorms, fireworks or in response to other loud noises. They sometimes will shake during vet visits, in new places or in the car.” Or because of a refrigerator. When a couple contacted Megan about their Bichon Frise’s baffling shaking episodes, she asked them to detail each instance, including the time and location.

“In so doing, they realized that there was a reliable trigger,” says Megan, who owns Pet Behavior Change in Blacksburg, Virginia. “This little dog was experiencing a fearful reaction to the sound of the refrigerator motor kicking on. Several times a day, as the motor kicked on to cool the refrigerator temperature, the slight bump and hum sent this dog into a fearful tizzy.”

That kind of shaking is a physical response to emotions — both negative and positive. “In some cases, shaking can result from excited anticipation,” Megan says.

Simple things can set that off: the sight of a squirrel, the creaking of the treat-cabinet door, your arrival home. The anticipation of something good can cause a dog to accelerate that tail wag into a full-body shake. There’s a burst of energy, and the shaking burns it off.

When is your dog’s shaking serious?

Are the answers to “Why do dogs shake?” ever cause for concern?

“If a dog is shaking persistently and not only in response to cold temperatures, which would be a natural response, owners should first take their dog to his or her veterinarian for a full physical examination,” Megan advises. Skin or ear irritation can lead to trembling, as can pain, fever (higher than 103 degrees Fahrenheit), nausea, kidney or liver disease, or ingesting a toxin such as chocolate or the sugar substitute xylitol (if your dog has ingested a toxin, contact the Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435). Often other symptoms, like diarrhea, vomiting or limping, offer a clue that it’s more serious than just shaking.

Generalized Tremor Syndrome (also known as Steroid-Responsive Tremor Syndrome) causes muscle tremors throughout the body. Originally called white dog shaker syndrome, it first appeared in small white breeds such as Maltese and West Highland White Terriers, but any dog can develop GTS. It usually strikes young dogs and can be treated with steroid medication.

Distemper (a contagious viral infection for which there is a vaccine) and Addison’s disease (also called hypoadrenocorticism, a disorder in which the adrenal gland doesn’t produce enough of the hormones cortisol and aldosterone) also can cause shaking. Epilepsy and seizure disorders cause a severe form of shaking in which the dog loses body control and is unresponsive. Senior dogs sometimes tremble due to joint pain or discomfort.

Some calming advice

Sometimes the answer to “Why do dogs shake?” and the treatments are less medical.

“If the veterinarian rules out any medical condition that is leading to shaking and instead suggests that it’s emotionally or behaviorally motivated (that is, it’s related to anxiety, stress or learning), then the owners might decide to work with a board-certified animal behaviorist to address it,” Megan says. “If the shaking is related to some stressor in the dog’s life or environment, then it would be of use to figure out what is causing the stress and develop a plan to reduce that stress.”

Linda advises that “socializing a puppy to all kinds of people and situations early in life may reduce shaking due to stress and fear later in life.” To help calm a shaking dog, she says, “put the dog in a crate or place where he is safe, warm and quiet.”

Other tips to put a chill on dog shaking:

  1. Regular exercise burns off energy and can reduce tension.
  2. Ease into new situations and environments.
  3. Offer consistent training, and use positive reinforcement to reward desired behavior.

Dogs do shake purposefully. And that leads to some interesting tidbits:

  • Just because dogs are pack animals, that doesn’t mean they’re comfortable with someone getting in their face. Some articles suggest that dogs have boundaries, and acts that invade a dog’s personal space (such as hugging, grooming or even playing with another dog) can lead the dog to shake off that kind of intensity.
  • When dogs shake after waking up, that could be a holdover from their wild canid ancestors, who shook to rid themselves of debris after sleeping on the ground, some believe.
  • Dogs can shake about 70 percent of water from their fur in four seconds, says a Georgia Institute of Technology research study published in 2012. This behavior reduces the weight of wet fur, helps prevent hypothermia and saves calories a cold, wet dog would burn trying to stay warm.

Why do dogs shake? Signs that a dog might be shaking due to stress, fear or anxiety:

About the author

St. Louis-based freelance writer Martha M. Everett has lived on both coasts covering everything from Washington to Westminster. She has written for Nestlé Purina PetCare publications and is a former managing editor of Dog Fancy magazine.

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Dogster magazine. Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? Subscribe now to get Dogster magazine delivered straight to you!

Read more about dog health and care on Dogster.com:

Why Is My Dog Shaking For No Reason?

There are many reasons that can explain why a dog is shaking or trembling. These reasons range from natural reactions and sensations to diseases and behavioral problems.Therefore, it is essential...

Why Is My Dog Shaking For No Reason?
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There are many reasons that may explain why your dog is shaking or trembling. These reasons range from natural reactions and sensations to diseases and behavioral problems. Therefore, it is essential that you pay attention to the behavior of your dog, its attitude and movements, in order to be able to recognize whether there is any abnormality.

In this AnimalWised article we will be discussing why your dog is shaking and panting. In addition to presenting possible reasons for your dog trembling, we will be considering what you can do in these situations.

You may also be interested in: Why do Dogs Shake Their Bodies?

Behavioral causes are usually the main reasons for tremor in dogs. For example, if your dog has done something good and you congratulate it with a pet or a ‘‘good boy’’, trembling would be a natural canine reaction as a result of excitement, joy and/or enthusiasm. This excitement will often be accompanied by a wagging of its tail and happy whining.

On the other hand, if you have just scolded your dog for whatever reason, and he/she shrinks downwards or trembles, it is likely because it is feeling scared or threatened by you. Fear is accompanied by stress and anxiety, which can in turn cause shaking in dogs. In this case, not only can trembling or shaking occur as a response to a punishment, but it can also present itself if your dog has spent long hours alone, is suffering from separation anxiety or has a phobia that has been triggered.

In any of these above mentioned cases, we recommend consulting a veterinarian in order to choose the most appropriate treatment for your dog’s specific case.

Why Is My Dog Shaking For No Reason? - Dog shaking of excitement or fear

In addition to the above causes, tremors in dogs can be a symptom of disease or other health problems. The following pathologies are the most common causes of shaking or tremors in dogs:

  • Hypoglycemia: Is especially common in dogs of small or miniature breeds. Hypoglycemia is a drop in body sugar, due to little body mass. If this is the cause, in general, these tremors or shakes are accompanied by a lack of appetite or weight loss. If you suspect that this is the reason that your dog trembles so much, speak to a veterinarian to help increase your dog’s blood sugar glucose levels as soon as possible.
  • Arthritis: Is your dog's tremor localized? That is to say, if for example your dog only presents a tremor in the legs or the hip, it is possible that the reason for this is due to arthritis, or other diseases of an inflammatory nature.
  • Distemper: If your dog is less than a year old and has tremors accompanied by convulsions, tics in the muscles its head , fever and loss of appetite: take it to the veterinarian immediately. These are symptoms of distemper in dogs and need to be treated as soon as possible.
  • Poisoning: There are toxic substances and foods for dogs that can cause tremors and shaking. In general, this symptom is usually accompanied by: vomiting, drooling and diarrhea. Make sure that you know which foods and plants are toxic for dogs, in order to avoid them.
  • Excess of exercise: An excess in exercise, as with humans, can also cause shaking and tremors in dogs. Too much exercise can physically damage or injure a dog. These injuries might force tremors in the specific affected areas and muscles. Make sure that you know how much exercise your dog needs respectful of its; age, breed and size.
  • Consumption of medication: If your dog is following some type of pharmacological treatment stipulated by a veterinarian, check the leaflet in case one of any side effects: such as the presence of tremors. If so, do not interrupt or stop the medical treatment without veterinary supervision.

If you suspect that the reason your dog trembles or shakes is due to a pathology or another physical problem, do not hesitate to go to your veterinarian as soon as possible. Keep in mind that some of the above diseases can be deadly or degenerative.

Why Is My Dog Shaking For No Reason? - Dogs and tremors

Has your dog recently been knocked or fallen? Another of the most common reasons that justify tremor in dogs is acute pain. The best way to know if this is the cause is by carefully feeling the trembling areas and observing your dog’s reaction.

In the same way that our body trembles in response to low temperatures, dogs do too. Specifically dogs of small miniature breed and dogs with very short hair. These dogs are not physically prepared to endure very cold climates and, therefore, when they are exposed to it their body begins to tremble. It is a natural reflex that can be avoided by keeping them warm with appropriate dog clothing.

It is very important to act when your dog is cold. If your dog is cold for too long it may lead to hypothermia.

Why Is My Dog Shaking For No Reason? - Dog shaking as a result of cold

Also called white dog shaker syndrome, it usually affects small breeds of younger ages (less than two years of age). Shakers syndrome is common among bichon breeds, poodles or westies, all with white and long hair. Although the probabilities are lower, other breeds can also suffer from this disorder.

The main symptom of this condition is body shaking and tremors throughout a dog’s body. This syndrome is associated with the central nervous system but, even today, the exact causes of it are unknown. Thus, in addition to the tremors, the affected can may present weakness in the legs and convulsions.

Why Is My Dog Shaking For No Reason? - Shaker syndrome

Finally, there are some breeds that are more prone to shaking and trembling. Both the Chihuahua and Yorkshire Terrier are more susceptible to to trembling. These dogs can shake for any reason, such as enthusiasm, excitement or joy.

Remember that when it comes to animals, age matters. For example, older dogs may tremble as a result of time and physical deterioration. If they do not suffer from any disease, tremors could occur in general, while they sleep or rest. When a dog trembles while active, in addition to a localized tremor, remember that it may be suffering from arthritis or another inflammatory disease.

Whenever the reason could negatively affect the health of your dog, you should go to a veterinarian as soon as possible to determine what the cause is and how to treat it appropriately.

Why Is My Dog Shaking For No Reason? - Dogs shaking because of breed and age
There are a few reasons why your old senior dog is shaking ...

25-06-2021 · Why does my senior dog shake? Weakening muscles. As dogs age, it’s common for them to lose muscle mass — regardless of their diet and exercise regimen. One way weakening muscles present themselves is through instability and shaking, particularly in the legs. You may be seeing your pup’s neck muscles start to atrophy if his head seems to bob or tremble (it may be time to take off that ...

25-06-2021

Some of the smallest breeds of canines — Chihuahuas in particular — are known for their tendency to shake, but it can be a bit startling when your old dog starts shaking. Especially if he’s a larger breed or has no history of tremors, you might find yourself looking up this question: “Why is my old dog shaking?”

Just like with any health condition, there’s more than one cause for a symptom. Your old dog’s shaking may or may not have anything to do with his age, though it’s not uncommon for older dogs to develop issues that result in tremors. Whatever the cause, you can help your senior pup stay happy and healthy with your keen eye and lots of TLC. If you’re concerned, don’t ever hesitate to contact a trusted vet, either. They’re here to help!

Why does my senior dog shake?

Weakening muscles

As dogs age, it’s common for them to lose muscle mass — regardless of their diet and exercise regimen. One way weakening muscles present themselves is through instability and shaking, particularly in the legs.

You may be seeing your pup’s neck muscles start to atrophy if his head seems to bob or tremble (it may be time to take off that heavy collar). A quick checkup from your vet will make sure that your dog isn’t in pain, but they can recommend therapies and medications either way. Every pup has their own journey!

a senior boxer rests on the couch with their paw hanging over the arm
Holly Michele/Shutterstock

Arthritis or joint pain

Another common condition for older pups to have (and some humans can relate, too) is arthritis. Over time, the cartilage that separates bones from one another can erode, weaken, or swell up — all of which result in discomfort in the joints.

According to ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, dogs may be more at risk of developing arthritis if they have or are:

  • Overweight or obese, as this puts more pressure on the joints
  • Previous injury of the joint, either to ligaments, tendons, or the surrounding bones
  • Developmental deformities such as hip dysplasia
  • Spinal deformities or injury

Shaker syndrome

According to the Brook-Falls Veterinary Hospital, shaker syndrome — also called generalized tremor syndrome or steroid-responsive tremors — is a painless, treatable autoimmune condition that causes rhythmic tremors throughout a dog’s body. They may shake from nose to tail, but they may tremble only at one part of their body as well. Shaker syndrome may look scary, but it’s not painful or fatal.

Shaker syndrome is sometimes known as little white shaker syndrome because many dogs who develop this condition in early adulthood are small white pups like poodles.

Stress or fear

Similar to tremors for the cold, stress shakes will affect your senior dog’s whole body rather than just his head or legs. You can expect these tremors to go away once your pup is relaxed again, though something like a ThunderShirt or exposure therapy can help ease your dog’s fears.

To know whether your dog is shaking from fear, look out for some of these other symptoms of stress:

  • Excessive drooling or licking
  • Restlessness
  • Whining or barking
  • Tucked tails
  • Panting
  • Changes in frequency of urination, defecation, etc.
a girl pets a senior black lab somewhere outside
JPRFPhotos/Shutterstock

Pain

Sometimes, a dog will express pain through shaking in the hind legs. If you notice your senior pup doing this, be aware that the pain may not be coming from his hind legs even though that’s where he’s shaking.

This pain could be from arthritis or another chronic condition, but if it happens suddenly, you should let your vet know. It could be an emergency if any other severe change in behavior accompanies this shaking.

Cold

Sometimes, just like people, your dog will shake just because he’s cold. These shivers will happen over the whole body, as opposed to just the head or hind legs. Thankfully, this isn’t a serious issue and has several easy fixes: dog sweaters, a self-warming mat, or a good snuggle from the person they love.

It’s normal for smaller dogs like Chihuahuas to shake from chilliness rather often. With less body mass, they also have less fat and muscle to keep them warm, though their coat of fur always helps!

If your older dog starts shaking, don’t panic! Many causes of tremors are not urgent, but you should have your vet double-check if shaking is a new issue for your pup. It never hurts to make sure, especially when your fur baby’s health and comfort are at stake. Besides, treating the problem behind trembles isn’t terribly difficult; it’s all about a change in routine and lots of TLC for your sweet senior buddy.

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8 Reasons Why Is My Dog Shaking and Breathing Heavy

21-09-2021 · Consult your veterinarian right away if you feel your dog is shaking as a result of this syndrome. 6. Fever. When your dog is shaking from the cold even though he is in a warm setting, he may have a fever. In an attempt to elevate his body temperature, your dog is shaking. If feasible, use a rectal thermometer to take your dog’s temperature.

21-09-2021

why is my dog shaking and breathing heavy

Why is my dog shaking and breathing heavy? Let’s start by defining the phrase ‘Shake,’ and what I mean when I say it. I’m talking about dogs who shiver or tremble despite being in complete control of their bodies. In this article, I am going to talk about Why is my dog shaking and breathing heavy.

Your dog has full control of his body if he is making eye contact and responding to you while shaking; unlike dogs who lose control during a seizure.

Why is my dog shaking and breathing heavy

Your dog could be shaking for a variety of causes, some of which are simple to fix, or your dog’s shaking could suggest a medical problem. Later in this chapter, I’ll go over those potential medical complications. Knowing why your dog is shaking gives you more confidence in making an informed decision regarding his health.

Now, here are the top four most prevalent causes of dog shakes, as well as what you can do to assist and calm your dog during these tough times.

Your dog is shivering

It’s not uncommon, especially in short-coated breeds. When a dog feels cold, he shakes his body to generate heat by moving his muscles. It’s simple to give your dog some warmth to help him stop shivering. Provide a warm atmosphere for your dog, as well as a warm bed and blanket.

2. Your dog is frightened or anxious.

Shaking is a common side effect of adrenaline release. Adrenaline is released by the adrenal glands in dogs to assist them to cope with the scenario.

Any form of environmental change can cause dog anxiety or panic, including thunderstorms, fireworks, air travel, automobile rides, vet appointments, grooming parlors, meeting strangers, and loud noises.

Hold your dog close and tell him that there is nothing to be afraid of with love and care. He’ll soon feel protected and cherished, and his trembling will stop.

3. Your dog is Thrilled

Your dog is trembling in expectation of something happening, whether it’s dinner, chasing a squirrel, seeing you after a long day alone, or playing; whatever the cause, your dog is trembling in anticipation of something happening. There’s no need to be anxious; once the thrill has passed, your dog will stop shaking.

4. Learned Behavior

Your dog has learned that shaking gets him the desired response from you, whether it’s a display of affection and attention or a tasty treat. Ignore the shaking and instead treat your dog with affection and attention when he is not shaking to stop this dog habit.

Distribute your love, attention, and goodies out throughout the day and evening so your dog learns he doesn’t need to shake to get what he wants.

Now it’s time to discuss some of the other reasons why dogs tremble.

If your dog is shaking uncontrollably, figure out when it started, if there are any symptoms, and which sections of the body are affected. All of these are indicators that you may be dealing with a potentially serious health issue. Some dogs, for example, will shake if their blood sugar is severely low or just before a seizure.

Some of the reasons why dogs shake are scary in this part, but they will help you distinguish between healthy canine behavior and indicators of a serious sickness, as well as what to do if you suspect a medical condition.

1. Poisoning

Chocolate, poisonous plants, cigarettes, insecticides, tainted food, and other dangerous items ingested in large quantities can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and uncontrollable shaking in dogs. Get your dog to an emergency hospital right away if you suspect poisoning.

2. Distemper

Distemper is a virus that is commonly observed in puppies and dogs who have not been vaccinated before reaching adulthood. Fever, coughing, and nasal discharge are common symptoms, and they can also induce tremors and convulsions.

Puppies who have not been fully vaccinated are more likely to contract the illness. If you observe signs or suspect your dog has been exposed to distemper, contact your veterinarian right once.

3. Kidney Disease

Dogs can go for lengthy periods of time without showing any signs of illness. There is cause for concern if your dog suddenly starts drinking and urinating more regularly.

Other symptoms, like shaking, may appear like your dog’s condition worsens. Consult your veterinarian right away to discuss therapy and treatment alternatives, for answering why is my dog breathing heavy and shaking.

4. Addison’s disease

GGI difficulties, loss of energy and strength, and little or no appetite, as well as shaking, are all symptoms of this condition in dogs. Addison’s disease is frequently misdiagnosed, which can lead to more serious complications. Consult your veterinarian if your dog appears to be chronically unwell and malnourished.

5. White Dog Shaker Syndrome

It’s a dangerous sickness that affects little dogs like Maltese and West Highland White Terriers, causing them to shake and develop full-body tremors.

Because this Syndrome is not a response to specific stimuli, anxiety-related dog behaviors are ruled out. Consult your veterinarian right away if you feel your dog is shaking as a result of this syndrome.

6. Fever

When your dog is shaking from the cold even though he is in a warm setting, he may have a fever. In an attempt to elevate his body temperature, your dog is shaking. If feasible, use a rectal thermometer to take your dog’s temperature.

If your dog’s temperature rises above 104 degrees, take him to the clinic right away. A temperature of 104 degrees or above is considered a medical emergency.

why is my dog shaking and breathing heavy

7. Pain

Pain might be indicated by shakiness. Restlessness, changes in behavior, enlarged pupils, excessive sleeping, hiding, limping, excessive licking or biting, increased vocalization, in need of attention, poor coat, vacant look, glazed expression, and decreased appetite are all signs that your dog is in discomfort.

Discomfort symptoms in dogs are difficult to detect and vary depending on the origin of the pain. Because most dogs are very skilled at disguising pain, by the time you identify a problem, your dog is usually in a lot of pain.

If your dog is shaking and exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above, take him to the veterinarian right once.

8. Advanced Age

Aged dogs, unfortunately, are more susceptible to shaking and degradation. Standing and walking might be difficult for senior dogs due to weak muscles and a touch of arthritis. These symptoms cannot be reversed, but you can speak with your veterinarian about various therapies and treatments to help your dog feel better.

Take away

Dogs tremble for a variety of reasons. It’s critical to figure out why your dog is shaking, especially if there’s a health issue. The sooner a disease or condition is identified, the sooner it may be treated.

Adrenaline is released by the adrenal glands in nervous, anxious, or enthusiastic dogs to prepare their bodies to flee or deal with the circumstance that is creating the excitement.

If your dog continues to shake in a warm setting, he could be suffering from a fever or another illness unrelated to the cold. If you’re not sure, have your dog checked out by a veterinarian before concluding the shaking is normal dog behavior.

Take your dog to the vet if he shakes for no apparent reason. If your dog’s shaking isn’t consistent, it could be a sign of a behavioral issue. Do you have a dog with normal behavior, medical issues, or behavioral issues, like why is my dog shaking and breathing heavy while sleeping?

If your dog is acting normally, use these four suggestions to assist and comfort him. If you’re having trouble with your dog’s behavior, hire a professional trainer who specializes in positive, reward-based training. Consult your veterinarian right away if you feel you have a medical condition.

I hope you enjoyed this article on why is my dog shaking and breathing heavy, especially the part about why dogs shake, and that you learned something useful.

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4 Reasons Why Your Dog is Shaking and Not Eating/Drinking

20-07-2020 · Is your dog suddenly shaking and not eating anything that you give him (even his favorite treats)? Find out what's causing this change in behavior.

20-07-2020
Scared Dog

A dog shaking and not eating or drinking is definitely a sign that something could be seriously wrong and often times will require vet attention. While sometimes the reason is simple and not too serious, it’s always best to take your dog to the vet if you see this behavior lasting for more than a few hours. Below are some of the most common reasons as to why your dog is shaking and not eating or drinking.

1.Your Dog is Suffering from Illness

An illness could be the reason why your dog keeps shaking and is not eating or drinking, and some of these illnesses can be life-threatening if not treated quickly. Canine distemper, generalized tremor syndrome, liver disease, and kidney disease are all possibilities. Fleas, ticks, intestinal worms, and neurological issues might be the culprit.

Other medical issues such as a fever might also be causing these symptoms in your dog. The most common reason for a fever in dogs is kennel cough, which is similar to the human flu. Kennel cough is an infection that will go away by itself after about a week. You should never give your dog human antibiotics or other medications in hopes to resolve the issues because that could cause more damage.

2. Your Dog Has an Upset Stomach

An upset stomach could be causing your dog not to eat or drink and to shake, and it’s something that should resolve by itself after a few hours. Upset stomach could be caused by numerous things such as eating too quickly, eating something your dog shouldn’t have, and going through some motion sickness.

Your dog also could have an upset stomach if they have to take medications as many medications can cause nausea. There are more serious reasons for an upset stomach that could require vet attention, such as your dog eating a toxic plant or other toxic materials. If you suspect toxins are the cause, you should take your dog immediately to the vet to be checked out because it could be life-threatening.

3. Your Dog is Super Stressed or Anxious

A dog shaking that isn’t eating or drinking could simply be too anxious or stressed out. Even small changes you might not think about could cause stress or anxiety in your pet. If you have moved to new surroundings, you could see the stress of that situation play out with your dog not eating. Dogs also can get motion sickness, so if you have been traveling with your pet you should be aware of that. Motion sickness in dogs, just like in people, will result in your pet not wanting to eat anything.

4. Your Dog is Cold

Certain dog breeds like chihuahuas and greyhounds can be sensitive to the cold. In addition to their body shaking and trembling, you may also notice signs and symptoms like cold ears, lethargic movements, and whining. In this instance, a warm coat will do the job. A dog raincoat may also be appropriate for dog walks so that your dog’s fur and coat doesn’t get wet.

What Do You Feed a Sick Dog with No Appetite?

A dog that has no appetite is difficult to feed because they don’t want to eat anything. There are certain foods that might help your dog so the focus should be on these types of foods. Pumpkin and sweet potato are both high in fiber and can help ease digestive issues, such as an upset stomach. Canned pumpkin will work well or you can add up to four tablespoons of pumpkin to some dog food to entice eating.

Shredded chicken or chicken and rice are mild foods that are often found in dog food. It’s easy to eat and process so it’s a good starting point. You also can use baby food, specifically, the baby food that has meat chunks in it. Baby food is also a great way to feed your dog medications if the shaking and not eating was caused by an illness or other medical issue.

Disclaimer: The content on MyPetChild.com is for informational purpose only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian when in doubt.
knowswhy.com

Another reason that these small little dogs tends to shake can be a medical condition as well. This medical condition is known as hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia means that one has low blood sugar. If one does not have high enough blood sugar they will have problems regulating body temperature and this can also cause the little dogs to shake. If one does have a small dog that tends to shake, it …

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If you are like most people and have seen the small little dogs and have noticed that from time to time they tend to shake a bit, have you ever wondered why that is? It is not uncommon to notice one of the many breeds of dogs shaking and trembling and people often wonder what causes this phenomenon to happen. There are a few different reasons that causes these adorable little dogs to shake and one of the most obvious reasons is their size. Since these dogs are so small they do tend to have less body fat and this can cause for them to have some trouble when it comes to regulating their body temperature. Ã’šÃ‚ Having a small amount of body fat can mean that these little guys can get cold faster and are more prone to the elements than dogs of a larger breed. This is also when people may tend to see the smaller dogs dressed in small sweaters and protective clothing, it is not trying to be cute and fashionable it is because their owner is aware that will get colder faster.

Another reason that these small little dogs tends to shake can be a medical condition as well. This medical condition is known as hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia means that one has low blood sugar. If one does not have high enough blood sugar they will have problems regulating body temperature and this can also cause the little dogs to shake. If one does have a small dog that tends to shake, it would be best to have the pet checked out to be sure that they do not have this medical condition. There are however many home remedies that one can do if their pet does indeed have this medical condition, but always wise to speak with their vet first. There may be other causes for little dogs to shake as well, but these are the 2 most common.

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Why Do Dogs Shake?

You must forgive me for my frustration at not being able to get to the scientific bottom of answering the question of why do dogs shake. "Dogs shake because it's just something some of them do" leaves me - almost - shaking with disappointment. From the vets and behaviour experts I have asked this question of, the most common consensus has been that shaking is most often as a result of a build ...

An unusual encounter with a middle aged Terrier back in the Summer of 1998 gave me an interesting insight into the dog body language of shaking / or shivering dogs. I set my gaze on this small, but friendly dog and observed as she stood shaking, as if petrified or very cold.

At first glance, it was my assumption that the dog was extremely nervous about something. But no. As I got to know the dog better, a more confident and bold animal you would struggle to meet. So why was she shaking? James Hunt explores more...

Stress is a complicated emotion. It can manifest itself in many different forms. I've sometimes caught my legs shaking furiously as I've sat in my seat on a warm day at a football match. Nerves, anxiety, call it what you will, my sub-conscious display of what can only be described as stress body language would indicate I might be a nervous person. But it's not that simple, is it?

Why Do Dogs Shake?

I happened to be shaking at a particular time under a particular circumstance but this stress behaviour would not be applicable to my more general personality. So when we come to the question of why dog dogs shake, we must delve a little deeper.

What The Studies Of A Dog's Nervous System Have To Tell Us About Why Dogs Shake

Dogs of any breed, size or type can suffer from stress. In fact, a certain amount of stress is necessary for a healthy life. Hunger begets a form of stress that motivates us to find food, a healthful activity. However, a pet dog that receives a doting owner's petting and praise on demand all weekend tends to build an insatiable "appetite" for constant social gratification.

Later, left alone on weekdays, the dog is frustrated by an unsolvable, hence frustrating, problem: it cannot find its “emotional food”. Whether this condition results in problem behaviour depends on the stability of the dog's nervous system and how the animal behaves to relieve tensions that will always arise from frustration. For example, a chewing problem develops in the orally oriented animal. The tension relief is manifested by chewing up objects that smell and taste of the owner, or things that, to the dog, are symbolic of the owners.

Developmental Neurophysiology and Behaviour

Each puppy is born with and develops a nervous system that is unique in many ways. Both genetic and environmental factors produce these individual variations. Some important developmental yardsticks may be applied to the canine nervous system to explain many kinds of behaviour.

Article continues below >>

Why Do Dogs Shake?

Turnover of RNA (ribonucleic acid, a vital chemical messenger in the memory process) in a pup's brain does not reach adult rates until 22 weeks of age. This helps explain why a puppy may have "accidents" during its house-training program, or why training pups to simple "Come," "Sit" or "Stay" commands is best conducted in brief sessions no longer than 5 minutes. This may also bear on the 13 to 16-week-old pup's behaviour, when it apparently does not recognize, growls at, or runs from visitors with whom it had friendly previous contact or a pup who starts barking at objects previously ignored. In this case, the optic tract also may not have reached maturity.

Why Do Dogs Shake?

Mammals normally born blind but reared without light until maturity develop apparently normal eyes that are "nerve blind" due to failure of the optic tract to develop normally - a good reason not to shake puppies as punishment. Stimulus deprivation of various sorts produces animals with comparatively lighter and less precisely structured brains, according to Russian studies in the 1950s.

Puppies drastically restricted from sensory stimulation and exercise in special cages from weaning until maturity failed to avoid painful burns on their noses from matches or pin pricks, while normally raised puppies quickly learned to avoid them. The deprived pups appeared to feel the pain, but did not learn to associate it with the match or the pin. Even more bizarre, these deprived puppies spent more time close to the human experimenter after being burned or pricked than before the painful stimulus. This was not the case with normally reared puppies.

This work may explain why so many behavioural problems are experienced with puppies bred and reared in the restrictive environments of "puppy mills," where litters are reared in stacked cages and then shipped to pet shops, where they spend more time in cages.

Shaking, in particular, could be the physical manifestation of:

  • Fear
  • Nerves
  • Extreme or mild stress
  • Anger
  • Rage
  • Reaction to cold temperature
  • Excitement
  • Mental stimulation
  • An attempt to loosen muscles or relieve minor discomfort from a minor physical impact
  • Simply attempting to shake out water or debris from coat

It is known that tremoring and shaking can be common physical traits in smaller breed dogs. However, the reasons as to why this is the case appears to have baffled vets and behaviour experts for now.

Like the small Terrier I met in 1998, the dog was shaking to a point that a neutral observer would conclude she was very upset or stressed about something. It was only upon further inspection and getting to know the dog that it became apparent she displayed none of the usual traits associated with fear, anxiety, nerves or even extreme excitement.

Of course, I asked the dog's owner; why does your dog shake like that?

His reply; "oh, that's just something she's always done. When she is thinking, she tends to shake."

Do dogs shake because, for some of them anyway, 'that's just something they do?"

Could that really be an adequate explanation for this particular display of dog body language?

Well, adequate it most certainly isn't, but it does perhaps give some comfort to owners of dogs that shake for no apparent reason. It may well be the case that there is no specific behavioural or mental reason why certain dogs shake. It certainly isn't always the case that a dog is fearful, cold or even excited about something.

In more serious cases, shaking could be the sign of illness, including Distemper. But for a dog who seems to shake at random times and has done so from an early age, it is much more likely to be 'something they just do'. You must forgive me for my frustration at not being able to get to the scientific bottom of answering the question of why do dogs shake. "Dogs shake because it's just something some of them do" leaves me - almost - shaking with disappointment.

From the vets and behaviour experts I have asked this question of, the most common consensus has been that shaking is most often as a result of a build up of energy rather than fear or indeed reaction to cold.

Dog Upset Stomach and Shaking

In some cases, dogs shaking with an upset stomach can be a sign of pain. There are many gastrointestinal conditions in dogs which can cause abdominal pain. Often shivering will be accompanied by other signs of pain such as whining, stretching, heavy breathing, panting, a distended abdomen and growling. If your dog appears in pain, see your vet ...

Dog Shaking

If your dog developed an upset stomach and is shaking, you may be worried by these events. As if seeing your dog vomiting wasn't worrisome enough, now you must also be concerned about the additional shaking. So why is your dog shaking?

There may be various possibilities, but as always, only your vet can really determine the exact underlying cause for your dog's shaking after having an upset stomach. A good place to start if your dog is shaking after vomiting, is to perform a quick health check-up. Following are some guidelines.

Quick Health Check-Up

Start by checking the color of your dog's gums. They should be a healthy bubble gum pink. Then, press on the gums, how long does it take for them to return to their normal color? The color should come back very quickly. According to veterinarian Ron Hines, the color should preferably come back within 1.5 seconds and no more than 2 seconds. Pull the skin over your dog's back to check for signs of dehydration. In a well hydrated dog, it should spring back immediately. Take your dog's rectal temperature. Normal temperature in dogs is between 100.5 and 102.5.

If you notice pale gums, a delay in capillary refill time (the time it takes for the gums to return their normal color after you press on them) a delay in your dog's skin springing back or an abnormal temperature, see your vet immediately. If your dog checked out fine, here are few possible causes for his shaking and upset stomach, but consider that these may still warrant a vet visit.

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Not Feeling Good

This is often seen in small dogs who are more likely to easily shiver. Min pins and Chihuahuas for example are known to shiver a lot whether they are excited, frightened or simply in discomfort, explains veterinarian Denise Colgrove. These dogs aren't necessarily in pain, but may feel uncomfortable. The shivering may occur before vomiting or having a bout of diarrhea and may continue if the dog is still not feeling too well. Typically, the shivering is off and on, off and on, as when they are cold. These dogs may stop shivering once they start feeling better and the nausea subsides.

Glucose Imbalance

While it's true that not feeling well is enough to cause shaking in small dogs before, during or after having an upset stomach, it's also important to consider that small dogs and young puppies are also prone to developing a glucose imbalance. Basically, in small dogs their blood sugar levels may drop low especially if they haven't eaten for some time. According to veterinarian Dr. Fiona, in a small dog, blood sugar levels can drop low pretty significantly when they go as long as 6 hours without eating.

To remedy this, you can rub about 1/2 teaspoon of karo syrup, corn syrup, honey or pancake syrup (make sure these don't contain any artificial sweeteners) on the dog's gums or let the dog lick your fingers. This should perk the dog up and reduce the shivering within about 10 minutes if that's the problem, but should the shivering continue and the dog appear lethargic, see your vet at once.

A Sign of Pain

In some cases, dogs shaking with an upset stomach can be a sign of pain. There are many gastrointestinal conditions in dogs which can cause abdominal pain. Often shivering will be accompanied by other signs of pain such as whining, stretching, heavy breathing, panting, a distended abdomen and growling. If your dog appears in pain, see your vet as it can sometimes be suggestive of serious conditions such as bloat, pancreatitis or an intestinal blockage.

Exposure to Toxins

[adinserter block="5"]The inquisitive nature of dogs along with their past as scavengers may predispose them to ingesting things they aren't supposed to. There are several toxins that can cause tremors and shaking in dogs. For example, chocolate, xylitol, snail baits are just a few products that may lead to muscle tremors.

Symptoms of exposure to toxins may vary but usually include tremors, weakness, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea and seizures. If you suspect your dog ingested something potentially toxic, call your vet right away or call the Animal Poison Central at 888-426-4435 (a consultation fee applies).

Sign of Kidney Failure

Often seen in elderly dogs, kidney failure is known for causing affected dogs to feel under the weather and sick to their stomachs. The shaking in a dog with kidney failure can be due to weakness or little control over electrolytes such as potassium and calcium which are known to affect muscle function, explains veterinarian Dr. Dan. Unless the dog has kidney stones, kidney failure is not painful per se but affected dogs will often feel tired and their stomach may be upset.

As seen, there are just a few of various causes of dog shaking with an upset stomach and these can range from mild to even life-threatening. If the shaking doesn't subside and your dog presents accompanying symptoms, it's always best to play it safe and see the vet.

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Why Do Dogs Shake On Car Rides

Some dogs have heightened sensitivity and as such the motion from car rides can affect them more than others. This is due to the fact that physical stimuli such as sight and smell are more potent for these hypersensitive dogs. The resulting shaking can be an effect of the increased awareness of the world around them. Encouraging the Behavior Getting to the root of the issue is a good first ...

As the weather gets warmer, many of us start planning road trips and vacations. And of course we want to bring our furry companion along for the fun, right? The problem is that your pooch may not exactly be thrilled for a ride in the car. Have you ever noticed that he or she shakes when taking a drive? If so, you are not alone. Many other dog owners have experienced the same situation with their dogs as well. And like those other owners who may have wondered why dogs shake during car rides. Also, is there any hope that you can help your furbaby enjoy riding in the car?

You may not be surprised to learn that just like humans dogs can get carsick. If your pup is one of the many affected by this it is not as uncommon as you may think. This form of motion sickness is more commonly seen in younger dogs or puppies. Due to the fact that dog's ear structures are used for balance, the less developed ears of younger canines are more prone to being affected. A lot of pups afflicted by this can outgrow the problem as their ears develop fully. Some traumatic experiences in your pup's life can also contribute to their shakiness on car rides. If the only times they have ridden in a car were when they were leaving their mother, going to the vet, or getting groomed, this may be the issue. Your dog may be associating the car ride as a form of punishment since previous rides resulted in such negative experiences. To help alleviate some of their anxiety try taking them on a short ride to the park or to get a new toy. Positive associations can help your pup learn to enjoy the ride. This may take a little time and understanding on your part but can ultimately result in a less stressed furbaby. 

Another likely cause behind your dog shaking in the car could be the simple fact that he or she is more sensitive. We all know that canines use their senses as a means to explore the world around them and also to communicate. Some dogs have heightened sensitivity and as such the motion from car rides can affect them more than others. This is due to the fact that physical stimuli such as sight and smell are more potent for these hypersensitive dogs. The resulting shaking can be an effect of the increased awareness of the world around them.

Getting to the root of the issue is a good first step in helping resolve whatever issue your pup has with riding in cars. You can work with your vet or trainer to determine the best way to proceed in getting your furbaby more comfortable traveling at an unnatural rate of speed. Well, it is certainly unnatural to your dog to be moving at sixty miles per hour. That's almost 3 times as fast as an average dog can run. One option may be travel treats. You can begin by giving your pup his or her favorite treat when they first get into the car. Then continue treating them intermittently on the trip when they are exhibiting more calm behavior. This type of encouragement can eventually lead your dog to think of a car ride as fun and rewarding. Start with short trips and work up to longer rides around town. There are multiple 'calming' options available for dogs as well. You may consider something such as a doggie car seat or travel harness. Many dogs are less anxious if they feel that they are more secure inside the car. This can also serve as added protection for your pup in the case of an accident or a sudden stop. None of us want our furbabies thrown around the car, causing extra undue anxiety. 

If you are planning a long trip and want to take your furbaby along it may be a good idea to see how they do on a shorter trip first. Especially if your pup has never ridden in a vehicle before. Getting them used to this new experience in smaller doses, so to speak, can help to avoid the anxious shaking and possibly them vomiting as well. If you see that maybe your pooch just is not a fan of car rides, looking into boarding may just be a better option. The comfort and safety of your dog are important, even if that means them not being on the road trip with you.

While the phrase 'shake, rattle, and roll' is typically a fun idea, this is not true when it comes to your pup and car rides. Doing what you can to make them feel safe and secure is an integral part of being a dog owner. So spend some time learning about what you can do to make a relaxing Sunday drive as enjoyable for them as it is for you.

Why Do Dogs Shake and Tremble?

There are many reasons why your dog might shake, including excitement and more serious issues like sickness. Find out why dogs shake with Purina.

If your dog has just been for a swim or has gotten wet out on their walk, they’ll shake themselves to get rid of the excess water. In this case, shaking is completely normal and is actually good for your dog as it can help to prevent hypothermia.

Chihuahua shaking is extremely common and they’re one of the breeds that shake and tremble the most. There are numerous reasons why your chihuahua might shake, but one of the main ones is because of their small size.

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