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9 Reasons Why Your Dog is Shaking & What To Do

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Reviewed By: Dr. Joel Robertson

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As a dog owner, it can be concerning to see your furry friend shaking uncontrollably.

While some shaking may be harmless and normal, frequent and excessive shaking can be a sign of an underlying health issue.

In this article, we’ll explore nine possible reasons why your dog may be shaking and provide helpful tips on what to do to keep your dog healthy and happy.

1. Anxiety or Fear

9 Reasons Why Your Dog is Shaking & What To Do

Dogs can shake due to anxiety or fear caused by various situations such as loud noises, unfamiliar people or places, separation anxiety, or even traumatic events. When dogs get anxious or fearful, their bodies experience a physiological response, causing them to shake.

This shaking is a way for dogs to release energy and cope with their anxiety or fear.

If your dog is shaking due to anxiety or fear, there are several things you can do to help. The first step is to remove your dog from the stressful situation if possible.

Then, try to soothe your dog with a comforting voice, gentle petting, or providing a quiet and familiar space. You can also try to distract your dog with toys or treats to focus their attention away from the source of their fear or anxiety.

In some cases, professional help may be necessary to manage your dog’s anxiety or fear. A veterinarian or professional dog trainer may recommend medications or training techniques to help your dog overcome their anxiety or fear.

Remember, it’s essential to provide your furry friend with a safe and comfortable environment to help reduce stress and anxiety.

By understanding your dog’s behavior and taking the necessary steps to address their anxiety or fear, you can help them lead a happy, healthy, and stress-free life.

2. Cold Temperature

Dogs can shake due to cold temperatures, just like humans do. When dogs are exposed to cold temperatures, their bodies try to regulate their temperature by shaking, which generates heat and can help them get warm.

Dogs with short fur or those that lack a layer of body fat are more susceptible to the cold and may start shaking to keep themselves warm.

If you notice your dog is shaking due to the cold, there are a few things you can do to help. First and foremost, make sure your dog is kept warm and dry.

You can do this by providing your dog with a warm and dry place to rest, such as a cozy bed, and by keeping them away from cold and damp areas. You can also consider putting a dog sweater or jacket on your furry friend to provide them with extra warmth.

Another thing you can do to help your dog warm-up is to provide them with warm and nutritious food. Keeping your dog well-fed and hydrated is essential when they are dealing with the effects of cold weather.

In severe cold weather, it’s best to limit your dog’s time outdoors and keep an eye on them for signs of hypothermia or frostbite, such as lethargy, pale gums, or bluish skin.

If you suspect your dog has hypothermia or frostbite, seek immediate veterinary care as it can be life-threatening.

By keeping your dog warm and well-fed, and monitoring their behavior during cold weather, you can help prevent your furry friend from shaking due to the cold.

3. Pain or Discomfort

Dogs can shake due to pain or discomfort stemming from an injury or illness. Sometimes, shaking or tremors can be a sign of pain or discomfort, especially if the shaking occurs in a specific part of your dog’s body.

Common causes of pain for a dog may include arthritis, muscle strains, gastrointestinal problems, or dental issues.

If you suspect that your dog is shaking due to pain or discomfort, it’s crucial to schedule a visit with your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause of the issue.

Your veterinarian can assess your dog’s condition and prescribe medication as required to relieve your dog’s pain and discomfort.

In the meantime, there are steps you can take to help your furry friend. For instance, you can try to make them as comfortable as possible by providing them with a warm, cozy, and quiet space to rest.

You must avoid putting undue strain on any painful areas of your dog’s body by limiting their activity level and preventing them from jumping up and down from furniture or stairs.

You can also help your dog feel better by providing them with the appropriate medication or other pain management methods suggested by your veterinarian. This may include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), physical therapy, or other therapeutic interventions.

By identifying the cause of your dog’s shaking and taking the necessary steps to address the pain and discomfort, you can help ensure that your furry friend remains healthy and happy.

4. Generalized Tremor Syndrome

Generalized tremor syndrome (GTS), also known as “white shaker dog syndrome,” is a neurological condition that can cause dogs to shake or tremble uncontrollably.

The exact cause of GTS is unknown, but it is believed to be linked to autoimmune or inherited disorders. Small dog breeds are more commonly affected by GTS.

If you suspect that your dog is shaking due to GTS, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian can run diagnostic tests to rule out other potential causes of your dog’s shaking and confirm a diagnosis of GTS.

While there is no known cure for GTS, there are medications that can help manage the condition and reduce shaking. Treatment may involve the administration of corticosteroids or other immunosuppressive drugs. It’s important to note that treatment may take some time to work, and the dosage may need to be adjusted over time.

In addition to medication, there are other steps you can take to help manage your dog’s GTS symptoms.

For example, you can reduce your dog’s activity levels and avoid exposing them to stressful situations that may worsen their shaking. It’s also essential to ensure that your dog is eating a healthy and balanced diet to support their overall well-being.

By working closely with your veterinarian and following their recommended course of treatment, you can help your furry friend manage the symptoms of GTS and enjoy a happy and healthy life.

5. Seizures

Dogs can shake due to seizures, which are uncontrolled bursts of electrical activity in the brain. Seizures can be caused by several factors, such as infections, brain defects, injuries, or abnormal levels of electrolytes.

Seizures can cause several different symptoms, including shaking, loss of consciousness or coordination, drooling, and urination.

If your dog is experiencing seizures, it’s crucial to take action immediately. Protect your dog from injuring itself by moving it away from dangerous objects and providing a soft surface to lie on.

Do not try to restrict or hold down your dog during a seizure, which could cause them to panic and make the seizure worse. Stay calm and monitor your dog during the seizure to ensure that it ends safely.

After the seizure, it’s important to take your dog to the veterinarian for a comprehensive evaluation. Your veterinarian can recommend specific tests to identify the underlying cause of the seizures and prescribe appropriate treatment, which may include anti-seizure medications.

In addition to medical treatments, there are several steps you can take to reduce the risk of seizures in your dog. These include keeping your dog on a regular eating schedule to avoid sudden changes in blood sugar levels, providing a low-stress environment, and avoiding exposure to toxins, such as chemicals or poisonous plants.

By staying alert to the symptoms of seizures and taking prompt action, you can help your dog stay healthy and comfortable. Work closely with your veterinarian to identify the underlying cause of your dog’s seizures and to develop an effective treatment plan to manage the symptoms.

6. Old age and Muscle Weakness

Dogs can shake due to old age and muscle weakness. As dog’s age, their muscles and joints may weaken, causing them to shake or tremble.

This shaking can make it difficult for older dogs to walk, climb stairs, or perform other daily activities that they used to do with ease.

If you suspect that your dog is shaking due to old age and muscle weakness, it’s important to make your furry friend as comfortable as possible.

Provide your dog with a warm, soft, and padded bed to prevent them from slipping or falling. You may also consider providing your dog with a ramp or steps to help them navigate up and down stairs or to get on and off furniture.

It’s also important to provide your dog with low-impact exercise to help strengthen its muscles and maintain its physical health. Short walks or simple stretching exercises may be appropriate for older dogs to help reduce muscle atrophy and keep them in good physical condition.

In addition to exercise, it may be helpful to provide your dog with a high-quality diet that is appropriate for their age and health condition. This may include foods that are high in protein and low in fat, which can help maintain muscle mass and reduce the risk of obesity.

If you notice any changes in your dog’s shaking or other symptoms, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian.

Your veterinarian can assess your dog’s condition, identify any underlying health issues, and recommend appropriate treatment or management options to help your dog stay healthy and comfortable.

7. Poisoning or Toxicity

Dogs can shake due to poisoning or toxicity caused by exposure to a variety of chemicals and substances. These include household cleaners, pesticides, medications, and certain plants.

Poisoning or toxicity can cause a wide range of symptoms, including shaking, drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea.

If you suspect that your dog is shaking due to poisoning or toxicity, it’s important to act quickly. Remove your dog from the source of the poison or toxin immediately and take them to a well-ventilated area with fresh air.

Call your veterinarian or a pet poison control hotline, such as the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, for guidance on how to proceed.

In some cases, you may be instructed to induce vomiting if the poisoning occurred within the last hour, but this should only be done under veterinary supervision. Do not give your dog any medications unless explicitly directed to do so by your veterinarian or poison control center.

Your veterinarian may perform diagnostic tests to determine the extent of the poisoning or toxicity and recommend appropriate treatment, such as decontamination, treatment for symptoms, or hospitalization. In severe cases, emergency treatment may be necessary to save your dog’s life.

Preventing poisoning or toxicity is key to keeping your dog safe. Store all chemicals, medications, and other potentially harmful substances out of reach of pets. Be aware of any poisonous plants in your home or yard and remove them if necessary. Avoid using pesticides or other chemicals around your pets.

By taking steps to prevent poisoning or toxicity and acting quickly if exposure does occur, you can help ensure your furry friend stays healthy and safe.

8. Hypoglycemia

Dogs can shake due to hypoglycemia or low blood sugar levels, which can occur when there is an imbalance in blood glucose levels. Hypoglycemia can occur in dogs of all ages, but it is especially common in puppies and small toy breeds.

If your dog is shaking due to hypoglycemia, it’s essential to resolve the issue quickly.

Providing your dog with a small amount of easily digestible food, such as a tablespoon of honey or syrup, can help raise blood sugar levels quickly. It’s important to avoid giving your dog large or fatty meals, as they can aggravate hypoglycemia.

If your dog continues to show signs of hypoglycemia, such as shaking or lethargy, it’s important to take them to a veterinarian. Your veterinarian can perform diagnostic tests to confirm the diagnosis of hypoglycemia and recommend an appropriate course of treatment.

Preventing hypoglycemia can be achieved by ensuring your dog eats a balanced and regular diet, avoiding excess exercise or playtime, and providing your dog with frequent and small meals throughout the day.

It is critical to ensure that puppies or small toy breeds eat small amounts of food every few hours to avoid hypoglycemia.

By being aware of the signs of hypoglycemia and taking quick action to resolve the issue, you can help your furry friend remain healthy and happy.

Working closely with your veterinarian to monitor your dog’s blood sugar levels and make dietary adjustments as necessary, can prevent hypoglycemia and ensure your pup has a healthy and happy life.

9. Kidney or Liver Disease

Dogs can shake due to kidney or liver disease, which can cause a variety of symptoms including shaking or tremors.

These diseases occur when the liver or kidneys are damaged and cannot function correctly. The toxins that are normally metabolized by these organs can build up in the body, causing symptoms such as shaking.

If you suspect that your dog is shaking due to kidney or liver disease, it’s important to take action immediately. Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to ensure an accurate diagnosis and an appropriate course of treatment.

Your veterinarian may recommend tests such as bloodwork or ultrasound to assess the extent of damage to these organs.

Treatment may involve dietary changes, medication, or other interventions to support your dog’s liver or kidney function. Restricting levels of salt and protein intake is crucial, as it can reduce the load on the liver and kidneys.

Your veterinarian may also recommend supportive care, such as intravenous fluids, to help manage symptoms and improve your dog’s overall health.

It’s essential to monitor your dog closely for any changes in its behavior or general health after diagnosis. This can help catch any potential issues early, which makes treatment more effective. Keep up with any appointments and follow-up tests recommended by your veterinarian to ensure your dog’s continued health.

By working closely with your veterinarian and giving your dog the appropriate care and support, you can help manage the symptoms of liver or kidney disease and ensure that your furry friend gets the care and attention they need to stay healthy and happy.

In Conclusion

If you notice your dog shaking, it’s important to take action and determine the cause.

By understanding the potential reasons behind your dog’s shaking, you can better address any underlying health concerns and ensure your dog stays healthy and happy.

From anxiety and stress to medical conditions like hypoglycemia or distemper, there are many possible causes of canine shaking.

By monitoring your dog’s behavior and keeping an eye out for any other concerning symptoms or changes in behavior, you can help keep your furry friend healthy and provide them with the love and care they need.

Please take the time and leave a comment below if this article helped you, or you have any additional questions.

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