If your dog has recently started trembling, you’re probably wondering why. Unfortunately, the reasons for shaking are not always easy to pinpoint. A dog could shake for many different reasons; however, if we pay attention, there are usually signs to help us figure out why. It could be caused by excitement, nervousness, fear, or an underlying health issue. So, why is your dog shaking, and when should you talk to a vet? To help us get a better idea if we should be concerned or not, let’s look at the common reason why canines shake.
Why Is My Dog Shaking?
Your dog might be shivering due to a number of reasons. It could be from excitement, old age, breed type, fear, body temperature, or after eating something toxic. Some reasons are more common than others, and generally don’t need serious treatment or vet assistance.
Because there are so many reasons why your dog might be shaking, it’s essential to understand the concept of shaking before determining the cause. Many times your dog won’t need medical assistance, but other times they might need to be seen by a vet immediately. Let’s look at the reasons for this behavior and find out if your buddy needs to go to the vet or if you can help.
When Is Shaking Normal for Dogs?
Usually, shaking in dogs is normal, and you won’t have to be too concerned about it. Solutions can be as easy as monitoring their emotions or making sure they’re warm in the winter. The best way to approach normal shaking in dogs is to understand what causes it.
Emotional situations can trigger some dogs to shake. Excitement is just one emotion that may be causing your dog to tremble.
It can be helpful to pay attention to their behavior and patterns when they start to shiver to get a better understanding of the cause. If they begin to shake when they see you grab their leash or when they see other dogs, then it’s probably doing so out of pure excitement.
Sure, dogs have fur, but that doesn’t mean they’re immune to the cold. Some dogs have thinner coats than others or they don’t have enough body fat to keep them warm, especially in winter. It is common for dogs to shake when the temperature drops.
If it’s cold out and your dog is shivering, try warming them up with a blanket or sweater. If you have an outdoor dog, you can let it inside on cold days or make sure they have a warm sleeping area. Or a simple dog house with some bedding can provide adequate warmth during cold weather.
For indoor dogs, if their bed is on a tile or wood floor, try adding a rubber mat or a blanket underneath for extra insulation. After all, who would want to lay on the cold floor in the dead of winter?
When Is Shaking Abnormal?
Unfortunately, not all trembling in dogs is normal. Your pet might be trembling because of an underlying health issue, pain, or stress. To assess the situation accurately, let’s discuss some of the more common reasons for abnormal shaking in dogs.
Shaking that is caused by pain is more common in older dogs. When old age begins to settle in dogs, they can develop aches and pains in their joints and muscles.
Pain tremors don’t usually require medical treatment. Still, if you feel it’s affecting your dog on a larger scale, you should speak to a vet. There’s never a reason a dog should live in pain.
When humans get high fevers, they also get the shivers. Dogs are no different. Symptoms of a fever include shivering, vomiting, coughing, warm ears, warm nose, and lethargy.
Unless you know the reason for their fever, it’s best to ask a vet to determine the cause.
Anxiety or Fear
Is your dog trembling during a firework celebration or thunderstorm? Do they shake when they meet new dogs or people? Do they start to shake at first sight of the vet or groomers?
Stressful situations or loud noises could be causing your little buddy to shake. Shivering can be a result of a dog’s nervous system reacting to an adrenaline rush caused by moments they find stressful. Separation anxiety is another type of fear that could result in trembling. Separation training can help ease this type of phobia.
If your dog is on the shyer side, it’s possible they feel anxious in new environments and social situations. Exposing your dogs to new settings often can build their confidence and help them become more secure.
Becoming a good socializer doesn’t happen overnight. This might take some time and dedication, but with your patience and guidance, they can get there!
If your dog has a medical issue like distemper or kidney disease, it could be the cause of their trembling.
If you have a generally healthy dog that starts shaking unexplainably, you should take them to the vet as soon as possible. A trained veterinarian can prevent most medical issues from becoming worse.
Atrophy in canines, or muscle weakness, can cause trembling. Atrophy is usually seen in the hind legs and is age-related. Muscle weakness is most common in dogs older in age.
Ingested Something Toxic
Dogs can be very sneaky, especially when it comes to eating things they’re not supposed to. They will often shake if they have just ingested something toxic.
Chocolate, chemicals, or poisonous plants can all be the reason your dog is trembling. If your dog ate something poisonous, they might also show symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting. If you suspect your dog ate something toxic, you need to immediately contact your vet or animal poison control.
Do Some Dogs Shake More Than Others?
As odd as this might sound, some dog breeds are more likely to shake than others. For reasons not yet defined, shivering for smaller dog breeds appears to be a regular part of their life.
There are a few theories on why, but none hold any evidence or reliable proof. If you own a smaller breed, like a chihuahua or teacup, you might notice them trembling from time to time.
Besides breed size, certain dog breeds without undercoats, such as greyhounds, whippets, and boxers are more susceptible to get cold and shake.
An undercoat is what it sounds like––a coat under their exterior, or visible, coat. Dog breeds with undercoats tend to have coarse, long hair that hides their undercoat.
When Should You Go to the Vet for Dog Shaking?
When pets begin to shake, the best thing to do first is to rule out any temperature and emotional triggers.
If it’s cold, help them get warm. If they are in a stressful situation, calm them down as best as you can. Also, you want to be diligent and eliminate anything that might be the source of their shaking.
If the trembling hasn’t stopped, try checking their temperature. According to AKC.org, the average temperature for a dog is between 99.5 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
By now, you should have a better sense of what your dog may be dealing with. If you still don’t know the reason, you should take your pet to the vet, especially if:
- They are shivering for more than one hour.
- You believe they ingested something toxic.
- Their shakes are accompanied by other symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, difficulty breathing, or loss of appetite.
Unless you know for sure why your dog is trembling, there should be a layer of concern. If it’s abnormal for your dog to shake, you should consider seeking help from a vet.
Final Thoughts on Why Dogs Shake
As you probably have noticed by now, your dog might be trembling for several reasons. Instead of asking yourself, “why my dog is shaking?” make sure you consider their environment, behavior, body temperature, and additional symptoms.
Stressful situations, especially for dogs who rarely socialize, can trigger trembling. These conditions include loud noises, like fireworks and thunderstorms, meeting new people or dogs, and visiting the veterinarian, among other things. If you sense that your dog is trembling because of a health issue or poison, take them to the vet immediately. View more here.