Why is My Dog Shaking? 8 Reasons Explained

Many pooches will shake or tremble, no matter the weather. Little breeds like Chihuahuas are known for shaking. While a dog shaking is sometimes normal, it can also be a warning sign. Your vet will be able to tell you whether or not there is a cause for concern, but sometimes, the cause of the shaking can be tricky to pinpoint.

8 reasons why your dog might be shivering, shaking, or trembling:

1. It’s cold outside!

Some dog breeds like Dobermans or Greyhounds do not have a lot of fat on them and can easily get cold. For a dog shivering is a way of creating body heat and is a normal response to a low body temperature. If your dog has a fever, then they might also shiver to try and reset their body’s thermostat.

2. Your dog is in pain

Trembling is often a symptom associated with pain. Although not common in all dogs, some dogs will start to shake if in pain. This can be a result of chronic painful conditions or acute trauma such as an accident or fall from a height.

3. Your dog is anxious, scared, or excited

If your dog experiences strong emotions, this can make them shake. If you notice that your dog’s trembling starts during specific situations (like when visiting the vet or when guests arrive at your home), then your dog’s shaking might be due to an emotional response. In some cases, behavioural training can help socialise your dog and keep them calm in these situations.

4. Some dogs just shake

You may have noticed that some small dogs like Miniature Pinschers or Yorkies seem to just tremble all the time. Experts aren’t sure exactly why this happens. The point is that some dogs are renowned for shaking and nobody really knows why.

5. Muscle Weakness

Muscle weakness or muscle atrophy can cause trembling, especially in the hind legs. This is often due to age and is common in older dogs.

6. Generalised Tremor Syndrome

You should be concerned if your dog’s trembling is a new issue and if it goes hand-in-hand with other symptoms and changes in your dog. If your dog has recently started trembling, then chat to your vet about it. He or she may assess your dog’s muscle tone and might diagnose the issue as GTS (Generalised Tremor Syndrome). This is treated with corticosteroids.

7. There is an underlying medical issue

There are several diseases and medical conditions that can cause shaking in dogs:

  • Kidney disease
  • Seizures
  • Canine Distemper
  • Neurological conditions

It’s a good idea to keep track of your dog’s behaviour and any changes in their appetite and activity levels. You should also check their stool and urine. If your dog keeps shivering and this is a recent issue, accompanied by other symptoms, you should contact your veterinarian.

8. Your dog has eaten something poisonous

Toxins such as chocolate or rat poison can cause shaking in dogs, as well as seizures. If your dog starts trembling after eating something, then you need to immediately see your vet.

What to do when your dog shakes

The treatment for shaking will depend on the cause of the issue. If your dog is excited or cold, then the treatment could be calming them down or getting a blanket, if this doesn’t help, then phone your vet.

There are some warning signs to watch out for when it comes to shaking. Call your vet immediately if you notice any of the following:

  • Your dog is shaking with other symptoms such as anxiety, diarrhoea, vomiting, or limping.
  • Your dog starts shaking after eating something.
  • Your dog is stressed while shaking – pay attention to other symptoms such as lip licking, stress panting, or ears that are back as these are signs that your dog is in distress.

If your dog is injured or sick, then your vet will need to use medical treatments to help. Your vet might also prescribe massage, rest, or in some cases, even surgery.

As mentioned, it all depends on the cause.

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Remember, if you are worried about your dog shaking, then the best thing to do is see your vet. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Yours in not-so-average pet advice,

The Petinsurance.co.za Team