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Why is my dog shaking

Why is my Dog Shaking

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Why is my Dog Shaking?

Dogs shake, shiver and tremble for various reasons ranging in severity. Your dog may be shaking from something less serious like excitement, old age or anxiety. Alternatively, you dogs shaking could be a symptom of something more serious like poisoning, kidney disease, or injury.

In this article we will talk about all of the possible reasons for your dogs shaking, trembling or shivering

Less Severe Causes for Dog Shaking

Dog Shaking Because of Cold

The most common reason that your dog may be shivering is because it is cold. A healthy dog’s temperature is higher than a human’s body temperature so it can be difficult to tell if your dog is cold just by touching. For this reason, it is important to make sure your dog isn’t left out in the cold for long periods of time. Its equally important to ensure your dog always has access to warm areas.

Although dogs have fur, they can still feel the cold. Small dogs and dogs with shorter hair feel the cold more than bigger, harrier dogs. There are many options of jumpers and jackets that can help protect your dog against the cold and stop your dog shivering.

If you notice your dog is shivering with the cold take him inside to the warmth as soon as possible. Dogs left outside in cold weather for extended periods of time may catch hypothermia. A dog with hypothermia will show signs of shaking or severe shivering. If you suspect that your dog may be shaking due to hypothermia call your vet immediately.

Dog Shaking with Excitement

Another possible reason that your dog is shaking is excitement. Some dogs get over excited when they see their owner and start to shake as a result. Puppies tend to have less control over their excitement and it is common to see puppies shaking with excitement while playing or greeting their owner.

Your dog shaking with excitement is perfectly natural and is nothing to be worried about. Although, it is best not to encourage excited behaviour as this over-excitement can lead to misbehaviour down the line.

Dog Shaking because of Fear or Anxiety

Dogs shake when they are scared or anxious. Anxiety in dogs is increasingly common and comes about for various reasons. 

Although dogs shaking with anxiety isn’t an immediate cause for concern, anxiety can negatively affect your dog’s life. With separation anxiety and noise anxiety in dogs, your dog may become progressively worse if continually exposed to the stimulus of their anxiety.

The best treatment for shaking due to anxiety is to boost your dog’s confidence with a canine behaviorist.

Dogs Fake Shiver for Attention

When a dog is shaking or shivering, there owner will usually make a fuss about them to find out the reason behind their shivering. Because of this some dogs shake purely for attention.

Dogs can in fact fake shiver. Dogs love attention and if your dog makes the connection between shivering and getting extra attention, you may have a fake shiverer on your hands.

Medical Conditions Indicated by Dogs Shaking

Distemper in Dogs

Your dogs shaking could be caused by distemper. Distemper is most common in young dogs. It is caused by a virus that can occur in puppies that have not received their necessary vaccinations.

Distemper causes tremors in dogs which look like your dogs are shaking or shivering. Distemper can also include other symptoms like coughing and gagging, fever and nasal discharge.

To treat the virus that causes distemper in dogs, keep your dog well rested and comfortable and restrict strenuous exercise while your dog’s immune system fights the virus.

Dog Shaking due to Nausea

Dogs visibly shake when they are nauseous or if they have thrown up. Nausea in dogs can be brought on for a variety of reasons and so it may be difficult to pinpoint the exact reason your dog is shaking.

Common reasons for nausea in dogs include sudden change in diet, motion sickness or anxiety. But if you suspect your dog is shaking from nausea and are unsure for the reason, it is best to consult a vet, as nausea could also be a sign of a more critical medical condition.

Generalised Tremor Syndrome in Dogs

Generalised tremor syndrome in dogs is also commonly known as shaker syndrome. Shaker syndrome involves head and body tremors in dogs.

Dogs affected by shaker syndrome develop tremors at about 1 years of age. These tremors are typically rhythmic,  involuntary movements that look just like your dog is shaking. Tremors can vary in severity, but in serious cases it can impact your dogs quality of life by preventing them from eating or even walking.

Generalised tremor syndrome is most commonly seen in smaller dogs. More specifically, small white dogs like West highland terriers and Maltese.

Shaker syndrome can easily be treated with a vet prescribed steroid called Prednisone.

Prednisone works by suppressing your dog’s immune system and can start working just a week after your dog start treatment.

Seizure Disorders in Dogs

Shaking is one of the most noticeable symptoms of epilepsy in dogs. Epilepsy is an inherited seizure disorder.

As well as shaking, a dog with epilepsy may whine, salivate and may show signs of restlessness and nervousness.

Dog Shaking from Poisoning

Many items that can be found around the house and garden can be dangerous if ingested by dogs. Shaking is a common symptom of kidney failure in dogs which could be brought on by dog poisoning.

As a dog owner it is very important to become informed of what your dog can and can’t eat to help prevent poisoning in the first place, but also so that you know what to do if by chance your dog does accidentally eat something toxic.

Items commonly associated with poisoning in dogs include chocolate, garden and house plants that are toxic to dogs and rat poison.

If you suspect your dog ingested something toxic, contact your vet immediately.

Muscle Weakness in Dogs

Dogs hind legs may tremble as a result of muscle weakness due to old age. Age related muscle weakness and shaking is common in old dogs.

Myasthenia gravis in dogs is another muscle weakness related reason that would make your dog shake. Myasthenia gravis is a disorder that affects impulses from your dog’s nerves to their muscles. This causes your dog’s muscles to become weak and can cause them to shake.

Other Causes of Shivering and Trembling in Dogs

Dog Shaking off Excess Water

Dogs sometimes shake after a bath or being out in the rain to remove excess water.

For a dog, removing excess water is very important. Water left on a dog’s body evaporates and cools the dog’s body. This can sometimes cause hypothermia which could potentially be fatal.

It takes a lot less time and energy for a dog to shake off excess water than to leave themselves to dry naturally so a dogs natural instinct is to shake off excess water.

SImilarly, a wet dog might also shiver while the excess water on its body is evaporating.

Dog Shaking in Pain

Shivering and shaking could be a sign that your dog is in pain. On top of serious conditions which we mentioned above, shivering could be a symptom of physical pain. If you suspect your dog is shivering or shaking due to a physical injury you should inspect your dog for a physical injury. If the shivering is accompanied by other abnormal behavior, contact your veterinarian immediately.

When Should i see a Vet if my Dog is Shaking?

If your dog is shaking and you can’t pinpoint the exact reason for it, it is best to consult your vet for a professional opinion.