Why is My Dog Shaking?
If you notice your dog shaking and shivering, you may move to grab his fuzzy sweater or turn up the heat in your house. But being cold isn't the only reason why your dog might be shaking. Though shivering can help your dog regulate body heat, some reasons for shaking can be related to overall physical or emotional health.
Here are eight underlying issues that may be the cause for why your dog is shaking.
Unfortunately, there are some canine diseases with shaking as a symptom. These can include stroke, neurological disease and kidney failure. Another possible medical reason for shaking is Addison's Disease, an endocrine disorder. Because shaking can be a manifestation of a serious medical issue, it's important to make an appointment with your veterinarian if shivering and tremors don't go away after a few minutes.
Some shaking can actually be seizures, caused by epilepsy or another neurological condition. If the shaking is occurring regularly but can't be traced to another cause, it might actually be a series of minor seizures that should be checked by a medical professional.
Another extremely serious reason for your dog to shake is that he has ingested something with toxins, like chocolate, lawn and garden chemicals or antifreeze.
Shaking is a first sign that something is really wrong, and is usually followed by increased lethargy and vomiting. If you can put on your detective hat and locate any potential toxin that your dog could have eaten, you'll be able to get emergency care more quickly and possibly save your dog's life.
READ MORE: 8 Human Foods That Are Dangerous for Dogs
If your dog is truly hurting, he may begin to tremble. This could be the result of pain from a recent injury or from a chronic condition. Look for other signs of pain, like excessive whining or barking, a loss of appetite or aggressive behavior. If you spot these other indications of pain, a vet checkup is a good idea.
We've all seen our pets get anxious when fireworks or a thunderstorm cause loud noises. Sometimes, a dog can hear a booming sound or rumble that you can't, and will react in a similar manner.
Regular fear-based reactions could mean that your dog would benefit from an anti-anxiety medication. If the fear-based shaking is only occasional, try moving your pet to an inside room, playing white noise and providing a soft, comfortable place to wait it out.
Does your dog shake all over when she sees her leash—and thus, anticipates a walk? Or does your pet start to wiggle when it's almost time for dinner? Some canines simply show their enthusiasm through movement. If you can tie the shaking to a specific event, time or object, you can probably rule out a medical emergency.
7. Learned Behavior
Once, when your dog was shaking and uncomfortable, you cuddled him closely or talked soothingly to her. You might even have given treats, thus rewarding the shaking behavior. Now, your dog shakes simply to see if he or she can get the same loving reaction and special reward from you. You'll have to commit to stopping the reward in order to stop the shaking.
8. Being Small
Some small breeds randomly shake for no obvious reason. If shivering is a regular behavior for your toy or tiny breed, it may just be part of his or her genetic makeup and there's no way to stop it.
Have a Veterinarian Check Your Shaking Dog
If your dog suddenly begins to shake after never doing it before, seems tired or aggressive or just isn't acting like normal, it's a good idea to schedule a veterinary checkup. But in some cases, shaking can indicate an emergency.
Contact us at the first signs of shaking to find out whether you should bring your dog in for immediate care.
About Dr. Natalie Waggener
Dr. Natalie Waggener has 17 years of experience in emergency work and general practice in Rhode Island, Florida and Massachusetts. She has a special interest in dentistry, wellness care and rehabilitation therapy. She is currently licensed in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island.