If you’ve ever seen your dog trembling or shaking, it can be quite a worrying sight.
Many pet owners may not understand why their furry friend is exhibiting this behavior and wonder if they should be concerned.
In this article, we’ll examine the reasons why dogs shake and when it’s potentially cause for alarm.
Should I be worried if my dog is shaking
Shaking or trembling in dogs can be a perplexing phenomenon for pet owners. It’s important to understand what may be causing the behavior and when it is a cause for concern. Most of the time, shaking or trembling in pets is not a sign of something serious, but there are occasions when it is a symptom of an underlying issue requiring medical attention.
Understanding why your dog is shaking or trembling can be critical in ensuring their wellbeing. Shaking can indicate fear or anxiety, excitement, pain or illness, and a variety of other issues. It’s important to be able to recognize when the behavior is normal and when it’s something more serious that requires action from you as a pet owner.
Common Reasons for Dog Shaking
Normal physiological reasons
1. Shaking off excess water
Shaking off excess water is a normal behavior for dogs, and it can be seen after they take a dip in the pool or after they get a bath. This type of shaking is not cause for alarm and is simply your pet’s way of ridding themselves of any extra moisture on their skin and fur.
2. Shaking to dry themselves
Shaking can also be used as a way for dogs to dry themselves. This behavior is usually seen after they come out of the water or are exposed to heavy rain. Dogs will normally shake their body and fluff out their fur in order to quickly pull moisture from their coat and dry off.
Cold or fear-induced shaking
1. Shaking due to low body temperature
Shaking can be a sign that your pet is cold and their body temperature has dropped below normal levels. When this happens, your dog may shiver or shake as a way to generate heat and warm up their body.
2. Shaking as a response to anxiety or stress
Shaking can also be an indication of stress or anxiety in dogs. This type of shaking is usually seen when a dog encounters a stressful situation such as being in a loud, crowded space, meeting unfamiliar people or animals, or being confronted with something that causes them to feel afraid.
Medical reasons for shaking
1. Pain or discomfort
Shaking can also be a sign of pain or discomfort in dogs. This type of trembling can occur as a result of an injury, arthritis, or any other source of physical pain. It is important to take your dog to the vet if this type of shaking persists, as it could be an indication that medical attention is needed.
2. Neurological disorders
Shaking can also be a symptom of certain neurological disorders in dogs. These conditions involve damage to the brain or nervous system, and can cause tremors or seizures. Common neurological disorders seen in dogs include epilepsy, canine distemper, encephalitis, and stroke.
3. Metabolic imbalances
Metabolic imbalances can also cause shaking in dogs. These conditions involve a disruption in the body’s normal balance of hormones, electrolytes, and other substances that are necessary for proper functioning. Examples of metabolic imbalances include hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), hyperthyroidism, and kidney disease.
4. Side effects of medication
Shaking can b a sid fact of some medications or veterinary treatments, and it is important to monitor your pet closely when they are on any medication. Common medications that can cause shaking include anticonvulsants, corticosteroids, and anti-anxiety meds. If you notice that your dog is shaking after starting a new medication or treatment, contact your vet immediately for further advice.
Signs That Indicate Concern
Excessive or continuous shaking
Excessive or continuous shaking in dogs can be a cause for concern and should be evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible. This type of shaking can indicate an underlying medical issue such as pain, injury, metabolic imbalance, or neurological disorder.
Other accompanying symptoms
1. Lethargy or weakness
Lethargy or weakness may accompany excessive or continuous shaking, and can be another cause for concern. If your dog is exhibiting these symptoms in addition to their shaking, it is important to seek medical advice from a veterinarian as soon as possible. Lethargy or weakness can indicate an underlying medical issue such as pain, injury, metabolic imbalance, or neurological disorder.
2. Lack of appetite or changes in eating habits
In addition to excessive or continuous shaking, a lack of appetite or changes in eating habits can also be a cause for concern. If your dog is not eating or appears to have lost their appetite, it could be an indication of an underlying medical issue such as pain, injury, metabolic imbalance, or neurological disorder.
3. Vomiting or diarrhea
Vomiting or diarrhea can also be a sign of an underlying medical issue in dogs that is causing them to shake. Vomiting and diarrhea can be caused by a variety of factors such as infection, parasite infestations, toxin ingestion, metabolic imbalances, and gastrointestinal disorders.
4. Lameness or difficulty walking
Lameness or difficulty walking can also be a sign of an underlying medical issue in dogs that is causing them to shake. Lameness or difficulty walking can be caused by a variety of factors such as trauma, muscle strain, joint injury, arthritis, neurological disorder, and metabolic imbalances.
Changes in behavior
1. Aggression or uncharacteristic irritability
Aggression or uncharacteristic irritability can also be a cause for concern in dogs that are shaking. If your dog is exhibiting aggression or uncharacteristic irritability, it could be an indication of an underlying medical issue such as pain, injury, metabolic imbalance, or neurological disorder.
2. Restlessness or inability to settle
Restlessness or an inability to settle may accompany excessive or continuous shaking, and can be another cause for concern. If your dog is exhibiting these symptoms in addition to their shaking, it could indicate an underlying medical issue such as pain, injury, metabolic imbalance, or neurological disorder.
3. Increased clinginess or need for attention
Increased clinginess or a need for more attention can also be a cause for concern in dogs that are shaking. If your dog is exhibiting increased clinginess or needing more attention than usual, it could be an indication of an underlying medical issue such as pain, injury, metabolic imbalance, or neurological disorder.
Steps to Take if Worried About Dog Shaking
Observe the behavior
If you are concerned about your dog shaking, it is important to observe their behavior and take note of any changes. Pay attention to patterns in their behavior such as when the shaking occurs and how long it lasts.
Check for other signs of distress
In addition to observing the behavior, it is also important to check for other signs of distress that could be associated with your dog’s shaking.
Contact a veterinarian
If you are worried about your dog’s shaking, it is important to contact a veterinarian as soon as possible. Your vet will be able to examine your dog and determine the cause of their shaking. They may recommend diagnostic tests such as blood work or x-rays to identify any underlying medical issues that are causing the shaking.
Provide necessary information to the veterinarian
Before visiting the veterinarian, it is important to gather all necessary information that can help in diagnosing your dog’s shaking. This includes providing any relevant medical history such as details of any recent illnesses or injuries, and any medications that your dog is currently taking.
Follow any recommended examinations or tests
If your veterinarian suspects an underlying medical condition is causing your dog’s shaking, they may recommend a variety of examinations and tests to diagnose the issue. This could include blood work, x-rays, ultrasounds, MRI scans, and more.
Prevention and Management Techniques
Provide a warm and comfortable environment
Providing a warm and comfortable environment for your dog can help reduce shaking due to stress or anxiety. Ensure that your dog has plenty of space to move around in a safe and secure area. Make sure they have access to food, water, and other necessities such as toys or blankets.
Reduce stress and anxiety triggers
It is important to identify and reduce any stress or anxiety triggers that may be causing your dog’s shaking. Common triggers include overcrowded areas, loud noises, unfamiliar environments, and changes in routine. If possible, avoid exposing your dog to these triggers or provide them with a safe space away from the stressful situation.
Regular veterinary check-ups and vaccinations
In addition to observing your dog’s behavior and identifying any triggers that may be causing their shaking, it is important to ensure that your dog is receiving regular veterinary check-ups and vaccinations.
Proper nutrition and exercise
Providing proper nutrition and exercise is an important part of keeping your dog healthy and preventing shaking due to stress or anxiety. A balanced diet with high-quality ingredients is essential for optimal health. Additionally, regular exercise opportunities are important for keeping your dog physically fit as well as providing mental stimulation.
Utilize calming techniques and tools
There are a variety of calming techniques and tools available to help reduce your dog’s shaking due to stress or anxiety. These include utilizing essential oils, providing soft music, using adaptogens such as Ashwagandha, and providing interactive toys that can help redirect their attention away from the stressful situation.
Shaking can be caused by a variety of issues, ranging from medical conditions to stress and anxiety. If your dog is shaking, it is important to first collect all necessary information and consult with your veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment options.