Why is My Dog Shaking?

Why is My Dog Shaking?

Our dogs are prone to all kinds of issues from time to time, ranging from colds to injuries of the joints, and most of these issues are as easy to diagnose as they are to treat.  A more complicated symptom your dog may experience is shaking, which can be caused by a wide range of issues including infections, neurological conditions and even simple old age.  Shaking should always be taken seriously, because it can indicate something serious, although it can also be quite benign.

Always Seek Out Advice from a Veterinarian

Before we go over the most common causes for shaking, it’s important to emphasize that any unusual or sudden shaking that concerns you is a good reason to visit a veterinarian as soon as possible.  Because shaking can have so many causes, with some of them being signs of severe health problems, it’s better to be safe than sorry and allow a vet to examine them to both solve the issue and rule out any serious danger.

What are the Common Causes for Shaking in Dogs?

Shaking can be caused by factors that are ultimately harmless, or they can indicate a serious disease or medical emergency.  Again, the only real way to know the cause is to visit a veterinarian, but here are the most common reasons why a dog may end up shaking for any given period of time.

Reason #1: Excitement

Dogs are excitable animals, and simply coming home from work can send them into a fit of pure ecstasy.  It’s far from unusual for a dog to shake when they’re excited, as their happiness can cause all kinds of effects felt throughout the nervous system.  This type of shaking is accompanied by other indications of excitement such as wagging their tail, being extra affectionate and jumping.  Rarely is this any cause for concern.

Reason #2: Cold

Of course, dogs are prone to getting cold just like we are.  So, it’s not surprising that a dog can shiver when exposed to cold temperatures, especially for a prolonged period of time.  It’s important to pay attention to how your canine responds when out in the cold, as exposure to low temperatures can be just as detrimental to their health as it is to ours.

Reason #3: Fever

A dog who has a high fever is likely to shake, just as we do, as the body works hard to eliminate the infection from the body.  If your dog begins to shake, you should monitor them very carefully and consider taking them to an emergency vet clinic.  The higher the fever, the more they may shake, and a very high fever can be extremely dangerous.

Reason #4: Anxiety 

Shaking is often a sign of anxiety in your dog, and may even be the only symptom that is on display, since canines are experts at hiding their distress from other animals, including their owners.  Shaking is actually one of the most common signs of anxiety in dogs, and one that should be taken seriously.  If your dog is distressed to the extent that they are shaking, you’ll want to identify the source or cause of their anxiety and do what you can to eliminate it.  Dogs are sensitive creatures who can experience acute anxiety episodes over seemingly benign circumstances such as their owner being away, a thunderstorm or a change in their daily routine.

Reason #5: Distemper

Canine distemper is a potentially serious virus, with tremors being a very common symptom.  This virus attacks the respiratory, nervous and respiratory systems that often lead to tremors.  Other symptoms include pus-like discharge from the eye, vomiting and diarrhea.  It requires immediate treatment which can be acquired through a veterinarian.

Reason #6: Generalized Tremor Syndrome (GTS)

Generalized Tremor Syndrome is a mysterious condition that seems to affect certain dog breeds more than others but can occur in just about any dog.  Nobody knows the cause behind GTS, but it usually presents itself before a dog turns 2 years of age.  Steroid-based treatments are often successful at managing the tremors associated with the condition.

Reason #7: Nausea

Shaking can be an indicator that your dog is very nauseous and about to vomit.  Nausea can cause a response throughout the nervous system that results in shaking that often becomes less severe after the dog has successfully thrown up.

Reason #8: Old Age

Tremors are somewhat common in senior dogs, especially affecting the legs.  This is an idiopathic condition, which means that it’s diagnosed when all other common causes for shaking have been ruled out.  The exact cause is unknown, but it is benign.

Reason #9: Pain

A dog can shake when they’re in pain, just like humans do.  If you suspect that your dog is in pain, take them to a veterinarian to know the severity of the pain and how to best treat it.  Other symptoms of pain can include limping, lethargy and panting.

Reason #10: Seizures

Shaking can indicate a seizure, which can result from all kinds of underlying causes ranging from genetically inherited neurological issues to infections, and even dehydration.  If your dog is having a seizure, this is considered a medical emergency, so try to take your dog to an emergency vet clinic as soon as possible.  Epilepsy in dogs can often be managed with medications.

Reason #11: Consumption of Toxins

Poisoning commonly results in shaking, as it can be a sign that the kidneys or liver are failing.  If your dog has consumed a poisonous substance, take them to an emergency veterinarian clinic immediately, and waste no time in getting them there.  If taken in soon enough, the vet may be able to rid their bodies of the toxin they have consumed.

Treating Shaking Conditions in Dogs

Again, the only way to treat shaking in dogs is to take them to a veterinarian.  Even if you suspect that a dog’s tremors are caused by something benign such as excitement or chilly weather, you never know if a more serious underlying condition is present.  Treating the shaking requires treating the underlying cause, and each cause has a unique treatment method whether it involves medications or changes to their routine.  

Your veterinarian will first run blood and urine tests to look for any indicators of issues pertaining to their nutrient levels and potential indications of infection or other type of illness.  They may refer your dog to a neurologist who can determine whether or not the shaking is neurological.  This can include a spinal tap procedure along with advanced imaging scans.

If your dog’s shaking is not due to an underlying condition, your vet will likely start them on a prednisone treatment, which is a corticosteroid that can treat inflammatory conditions as well as nervous system conditions such as tremors.  Typically, symptoms resolve within 1 to 2 weeks.  From there, immunosuppressive medications may be prescribed if the symptoms are not alleviated from prednisone alone.

Chill Paws Has a Range of CBD Products to Meet Your Dogs Needs

Chill Paws carries wide array of CBD-infused products formulated specially for dogs of all breeds and sizes, which introduce lab-tested hemp and clean, dog-friendly ingredients into their body.  Cannabidiol (CBD) attaches to cannabinoid receptors throughout your dog’s body to allow regulatory actions to occur which may have an impact on tremors and their underlying causes.  Once again, we strongly recommend speaking with a veterinarian  about incorporating CBD into your canine’s routine in an effort to manage their symptoms alongside whichever treatments your veterinarian prescribes. 

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