Why is My Dog Shaking? Most Common Reasons
If you have recently started to notice that your dog is shaking, there are all manner of reasons why this could be the case. These range from the mild and perfectly normal to the more serious and even life-threatening. Knowing these causes of shaking is important is being able to distinguish between these two extremes.
A few possible reasons why your dog is shaking include excitement, pain, cold weather, or old age. And it can be more commonly seen in certain types of pooches – particularly smaller ones like chihuahuas. If you are ever in doubt, it is worth getting in touch with your vet. In some situations, it can be the ingestion of toxins which is causing the shivering in your four-legged friend. With all this in mind, we are going to take a more in-depth look at some of the possible reasons why do dogs shake.
Possibly the most obvious one to put your finger on, many dogs shake due to the cold weather conditions. Just like humans when they get especially cold, it happens in order to generate some extra heat to the body area. This is especially likely to happen to dogs with thinner coats or lower fat content such as Greyhounds or Doberman, and less likely in bigger and shaggier hounds. As they don’t have so much protection, they can feel cold even when you feel that the weather is relatively mild outdoors. In humid or rainy conditions, dogs are even more likely to feel cold. One way that you can combat this is by getting them a jacket or winter coat to wear whenever the two of you head outdoors. The shaking should stop once they warm up, so try letting your pooch warm up by the fire if you have one at home. If the shaking doesn’t stop, you should speak to your vet to ensure that there isn’t something more serious at work.
Generalized Tremor Syndrome (GTS)
As we mentioned at the start, some types of (generally smaller) dogs are just known for their shaking when there doesn’t seem to be much of a reason why. Even the experts can’t agree on exactly what is causing the problem at the moment. Perhaps it is that these pooches tend to get colder easier or they suffer from increased levels of anxiety. However, if your dog has started shaking when they never have before or it is accompanied by other behavior changes, this is the time when you should be a little more concerned.
Generalized Tremor Syndrome (GTS) was first identified in small dogs such as Maltese and West Highland White Terriers, but it can happen in dogs of all size and breed. While nobody knows the exact causes, symptoms first tend to manifest themselves between 9 months and 2 years. Treatment usually involves corticosteroids, and results can be seen within just a week. Obviously, this is best left to your vet to identify and state the right treatment course.
If you have ever found yourself shaking with nausea, you can empathize with what your dog is going through. There are a few possible causes of dog shivering including eating too much, motion sickness, or a reaction to medication. In more serious cases, it may be that your dog has ingested some sort of toxin, or they could be suffering from a kidney or liver condition. There are other indicating signs which point to nausea including lip smacking, excessive swallowing or salivating, yawning, and vomiting. Treatment for nausea depends on what has caused the issue in the first place, but you obviously need to act fast if you suspect that some sort of poisonous substance has been ingested by your pooch.
Dogs can get hugely excited for what seems like the smallest of reasons, but in their enthusiasm, they can often start shaking. It may be that you are about to feed your pooch or take them out for a walk, but you are likely to see other signs including jumping up and down, barking and running around in circles. If overexcitement becomes a problem in your pooch, it may be something that you need to train out of them. And you can do so by remaining calm and not adding to their excessive excitement.
Fear or Anxiety
These two are another couple of common reasons of why my dog is shaking – and both come in the same ballpark. Often, there is a specific reason which you can identify such as going to the vet or strangers coming around to your house. If your dog has been traumatized in the past, there may be some underlying issues which are harder to get rid of. Teaching your dog to feel relaxed can help out significantly, but you may need to see a certified dog behavior specialist to do so. It could be that simple training helps the issue, or your pooch may need to be prescribed with some medication. Or if you know what is causing the fear or anxiety, you could try to reduce your dog’s exposure to these stimulants.
Old Age and Pain
Again, these are another couple of causes of dog trembling which go hand-in-hand. When dogs get older, they often develop pain in their either their hind or their front legs. While this may not affect how they walk, it could manifest itself as shaking when they are standing up. And while there isn’t much that you can do about your dog getting older, you can get them some sort of pain relief medication if this is required. Again, your vet is the best person to speak to in this situation.
There are certainly more serious and scary reasons out there that are causing your dog to shake, and one of them is the ingestion of toxins or poisons. Some of these can include household plants or objects which are harmless to humans but harmful to canines. Even something like chocolate can poison your dog if it has been eaten in high quantities. If you suspect that your dog has been poisoned, there are a few other signs to look out for including weakness, disorientation, vomiting, and diarrhea. This is an emergency situation and you need to speak to your vet immediately if you suspect that this is the case.
Diseases or Medical Reasons
This obviously covers a whole host of possibilities, but an underlying medical problem could be the issue. A few potential causes of the shaking include distemper, kidney disease, and seizure disorders. It is likely that you will see some other symptoms as well, so look out for things like a change in activity level, loss of appetite, differences in bathroom habit etc. If your dog’s shaking has come on suddenly and it is accompanied by other symptoms, you should have them checked over by your vet. If there are any medical issues, it is better to get the treatment started sooner rather than later. Many medical issues that may cause shaking are treatable, but some are more serious, which is why it is so important that you monitor your pooch’s health closely at all times.
Prevention and Treatment
Preventing your dog from shaking will depend on the specific cause of the issue. If, for example, it is caused by coldness, you can get them some warm clothing to wear outdoors and keep the heat up a little bit higher at home. Other actions that you can take include keeping your dog out of stressful situations, staying on top of their medical care, ensuring that they get enough physical activity, and keeping any potentially poisonous substances well out of their reach. It is important that you watch out for any other symptoms that accompany the shaking if there are no obvious causes for it.
As for treatment options, these also depend on the underlying issue. If your dog is shivering from coldness, the treatment could be as simple as letting them lie by the fire to get warmed up again. If they are feeling stressed or anxious, you can try calming them down. However, there are some treatments which you are not going to be able to take care of yourself. Again, it is worth reiterating that you should look out for any accompanying symptoms such as limping, vomiting, diarrhea or lethargy. Also, if it appears that they have ingested some unusual substances.
As we have seen, there are plenty of different root causes which could explain why your dog is shaking. These range from the easily explainable and non-serious to the more serious. Often, you can tell the difference between the two. And for some breeds, it is just something that happens, and it is not a great cause for concern. However, if you can’t easily explain your dog’s shaking or you suspect that they have ingested something that they shouldn’t, it is important that you seek the appropriate medical assistance as soon as you can.
- Dog Shivering and Trembling: Causes and Treatments – Pets WebMD
- Why Do Dogs Shake, Tremble or Shiver – Cesar’s Way