Having a dog can be an incredibly fulfilling experience—they provide loyal companionship and unconditional love. But when our pup is trembling and shaking, it’s natural to feel concerned and worried.
There are many reasons why a dog may shake or tremble, ranging from normal behavior to serious medical conditions. Some common causes of shaking in dogs include cold or chills, anxiety, pain or illness, poisoning or toxicity, neurological conditions, age-related tremors, and more.
From physical ailments to psychological distress, we’ll discuss the 10 most common causes of trembling and shaking in dogs so you can seek help from a veterinarian if needed. Let’s understand why your furry friend might be feeling a bit uneasy.
1. Cold and Chills
Shaking or trembling in dogs is often due to cold and chills. If it’s been a particularly cold day, your dog may start to shiver when they come back inside; the same could be true if your pup gets caught out in a bit of a shower. A good indicator that your pet is feeling the cold is if their body temperature drops; this will be especially noticeable in short-haired breeds or puppies that have yet to mature.
To keep your furry friend safe and warm, make sure they always have access to shelter, and don’t leave them outside for prolonged periods during colder months. If you notice they are shaking but can’t identify any external causes, seek professional advice from your vet.
2. Anxiety and Stress
If your beloved pup is exhibiting episodes of trembling or shivering, it may be due to anxiety and stress. Dogs can become overwhelmed by new environments, loud noises, or unfamiliar people; responding with signs of fear and apprehension. While tremor-like movements are natural for dogs in certain contexts, such as excitement after seeing their owner after a long time apart, excessive or frequent shaking can be an indication of ongoing stress.
It’s essential to take the time to understand your dog’s behavior so that you can provide them with the support they need when faced with potentially stressful situations.
3. Pain and Illness
Pain and illness can be sources of great distress for many dogs, leading to trembling that owners can luckily diagnose and help out with. Dogs’ vision, hearing, muscle senses, and sense of balance may all be subdued when faced with certain illnesses or pain, as the canine brain starts to shut down these functions to cope better. Vomiting, fatigue, confusion, and disorientation often accompany trembling due to an affliction, making it essential for owners to be aware and act immediately.
Symptoms left unchecked will eventually lead to more serious conditions; common signs could include shaking head-to-toe or just a single limb due to a muscular strain. It’s also important to note that behavioral issues could surface when animals try to compensate in any way possible for how they feel. Unless pet owners know how and understand why their dog is trembling, they should visit a veterinarian posthaste!
4. Poisoning and Toxicity
Poisoning and toxicity can be a cause of trembling in dogs. Unfortunately, many common household items can be toxic to a dog if consumed, such as cleaning products, lawn care products, and certain types of human food. Pets should always be supervised when outdoors to avoid accidents or exposure to toxic materials.
If you suspect your pet has been poisoned or exposed to a toxic substance, seek emergency medical help from your veterinarian or an animal poison control center immediately. Depending on the toxin ingested, symptoms can range from minor irritation to organ damage and death. Prevention is key when it comes to protecting your pet from poisoning and toxicity-related trembling.
5. Neurological Conditions
Neurological conditions are some of the most concerning causes of trembling in dogs. Unfortunately, a tremor can be a sign of any number of diseases that affect the nervous system. These conditions may involve inflammation, infection, dysfunction, or even an issue with the dog’s brain. In some cases, these neurological issues can be due to trauma or have an unknown cause. If your pup has been shaking more than usual, it’s important to seek veterinary advice as soon as possible to start a proper diagnosis and treatment plan for your furry friend.
Veterinarians will perform neurological tests for balance and coordination among other things to determine the underlying cause of trembling in dogs and help provide the best care possible for your pup.
6. Age-Related Trembling
Age-related trembling is a common issue in our canine companions. As dogs age, they tend to experience more and more difficulty with stability, which can lead to trembling. This is especially true of older dogs who suffer from arthritis or similar issues with joint health.
Aside from joint health, age-related trembling can result from neurological issues such as inflammation of the nerves or nerve degeneration due to aging. Your senior dog’s trembling may also be a reaction to stress or anxiety – after all, mental well-being can be just as important as physical health! If your older pup has been trembling more frequently lately and it does not seem related to other causes of trembling, be sure to get an expert opinion about any underlying conditions that could be causing it.
7. Canine Distemper Virus
Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) is an incredibly contagious, highly infectious virus that affects dogs of all ages. Common symptoms include coughing, nasal and eye discharge, fever, lack of appetite, vomiting, and trembling or shaking. The weakened immune response associated with CDV can also cause seizures in some older dogs.
Canines are largely exposed to the virus through contact with wild animals—like raccoons, skunks, and foxes—or other infected pets they come into contact with. It’s important to make sure your pet is properly vaccinated against CDV, as it’s one of the widely accepted vaccinations for both puppies and adult dogs. If your dog presents any combination of these symptoms and you suspect a CDV infection, it’s wise to seek a professional veterinarian for immediate care and treatment.
8. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is a common but potentially serious ailment that can affect dogs. Although it commonly affects young puppies and small-breed dogs, any age or breed of canine can suffer from the condition. Signs of hypoglycemia include trembling, loss of consciousness, weakness, and even seizures. Even mild cases of hypoglycemia–which may present primarily with trembling–require prompt medical attention to avoid complications such as coma or death.
Pet owners need to recognize the signs of hypoglycemia and contact their veterinarian if they suspect their dog is experiencing it. Early care helps ensure that their pup has a full recovery and remains healthy in the future.
9. Addison’s disease (adrenal gland dysfunction)
One possible cause of trembling in dogs is Addison’s disease, sometimes known as primary adrenal insufficiency or hypoadrenocorticism. This condition occurs when the dog’s adrenal glands fail to produce the hormones cortisol and aldosterone. Without these hormones, which are essential for regulating the body’s electrolyte balance and other metabolic processes, a dog may experience excessive trembling, lethargy, weakness, loss of appetite, dehydration, and other symptoms associated with extreme stress or illness.
It is important not to overlook Addison’s disease as a cause of shaking in dogs as it can slowly become life-threatening if left untreated. Fortunately, this condition can be easily managed with medication that replaces deficient hormones.
10. Vestibular disease (inner ear disorder)
Vestibular disease is a common inner ear disorder in which dogs suffer from a sudden loss of balance and coordination. It may appear as if the dog is suddenly disoriented or having difficulty standing or walking, and they sometimes even fall over. In addition to shaking, other symptoms may include a head tilt, eyes moving quickly from side to side, pacing or rubbing of the head against carpets and walls due to a vertigo-like feeling.
Although these symptoms are usually temporary, dogs can have permanent vestibular issues if their disease progresses. If you think your dog may be experiencing this condition it’s important to take them to their vet as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment.
In conclusion, shaking and trembling in dogs can be caused by a variety of factors ranging from medical issues to heightened emotions. It’s important to remember that, in many cases, trembling can be completely normal for your pup. However, if the shaking is sudden or lasts for more than a few minutes, it’s best to get your dog checked out by a vet as soon as possible.
They will be able to assess their condition and suggest any necessary treatments or lifestyle changes that might help with their well-being. Ultimately, it’s all about understanding the cause of your furry friend’s tremors and addressing the underlying issue accordingly.