Your Dog is Shaking – What You Need to Know!
9 November, 2016
dog shaking

Dogs love to shake to release pent up energy or even just to get our attention!  There is the good shaking when your dogs want to let out some adrenaline, dry themselves off, or get moving after they have awakened from a nap.   But, there are many reasons your dog might shake or shiver that can be a sign of something else.  Therefore, it is important to understand and recognize the difference.

Below are some reasons why your dog might be shaking and what to do about it:

Your dog might shake from stress or fear

Your dog might shake out of fear or some other anxiety.  New situations, thunderstorms, a visit to the vet, fireworks are some of the common triggers that can spark anxiety. Unlike the happy shakes, this automatic response to stress may be accompanied by panting, chewing on furniture, and other anxious behavior. Your dog may hide, growl, or display signs of aggression as well.  Usually this behavior is short-lived.  However, if chronic anxiety is a problem and a medical condition has been ruled out, you might want to see a behaviorist. Or you can also try a Swaddleshirt which can help reduce anxiety.

Muscle fatigue or exhaustion can cause your dog to shake

Just as our legs might be shaky after a long run, a dog’s legs might shake after exertion. This type of trembling is often confined to the legs and resolves after a period of rest.  If this happens often, the trembling is severe or it happens with no apparent cause and happens too often after a walk or a form of exercise, it could be something other than muscle exhaustion and you should take your dog to the vet.

White Dog Shaker Syndrome is a treatable illness that could cause your dog to shake

White Dog Shaker Syndrome is a serious illness that could cause your dog to shake or tremble. These movements are very different from the happy shakes and can usually be ruled out as anxiety-related since they’re not a reaction to specific stress. White dog shaker syndrome can cause full body tremors in young dogs. Treated with steroids, such as prednisone, your dog should start to improve within a couple weeks.

Your dog might shake because he has eaten or swallowed something toxic. 

If your dog is shaking and you have reason to think that your dog might have been exposed to any type of toxin, take your dog to the nearest emergency clinic immediately. If your dog has been poisoned, early treatment might save your pup’s life.

Canine Distemper can cause your dog to shake

Canine Distemper is a virus that is usually accompanied by fever, coughing, and nasal discharge, can also cause seizures and tremors. Puppies that haven’t been fully vaccinated are at greatest risk. You should see your vet immediately if you notice symptoms or suspect your dog has been exposed to distemper. There’s no cure, but your vet can manage symptoms and help prevent secondary infections with intravenous fluids and antibiotics until your dog’s immune system fights off the virus.

Chronic kidney disease can cause your dog to start shaking

Dogs with chronic kidney disease or renal failure can be symptom-free for a very long time; then suddenly you might notice that your dog seems to drink and urinate more frequently. Other signs, including shaking, might follow as the damage progresses rapidly. While you can’t cure it, you can manage renal disease with therapy and treatments allowing you to offer your dog the best quality of life possible.

Senior dogs can shake just from old age

Unfortunately, aging dogs tend to have disorders that cause trembling and cognitive deterioration. You can’t reverse the decline, but you can work with your vet to find therapy and treatment that will help reduce discomfort and support your sweet pup during the senior years.


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