Why Is My Dog Shaking? 9 Reasons Behind The Trembling And Quivering Dog

We all love it when our dogs happily wag their tails. We feel thrilled when our furry companion excitingly stands up on his paws as we pick up his bowl of food. Every other expression our dog displays helps us foretell his mood. And as a new pet parent, interpreting the dog’s behavior always sounds exciting.

However, being unable to predict certain aspects of a dog’s behavior, such as the constant shivering, leave a pet owner anxious and frustrated.

Shivering, trembling, and quivering make us worry about our pet’s health. Dogs shiver for a great many reasons. Fear, anxiety, excitement, and seasonal colds can cause a dog to shiver. Occasionally, an underlying health issue may cause your dog to shiver uncontrollably. If other unusual symptoms follow shaking, it’s best to consult a vet.

And before you seek help from a consultant, it’s best to rule out every other reason that may justify the shaking behavior.

1. The Chilly Weather

The windy and chilly weather is often a primary culprit behind a shaking dog. Although a dog’s body is covered in a fur coat, the animal feels cold when the outside temperature is 50°F. Slim dogs having thin coats and low body mass, such as greyhounds, whippets, and Dobermans, are also sensitive to cold.

A heavy downpour, a windy night, or a slight drop down in temperature may cause your canine friend to shiver. Some dogs don’t have enough mass to insulate their body. In that case, shivering boosts blood flow and keeps the body warm.

2. Shaking Off The Water

Do you know dogs can shake off 70% of the water from their furs in just 4 seconds? Dogs enjoy bathing and splashing. These activities trap water inside their thick furs. A quick shake is all they need to dry off all the moisture locked in their furry coat. So, if your dog is shaking and trembling after a bath, it is an involuntary reflex against cold.

3. Excitement

Joy and excitement are some positive reasons behind shaking. Young pups and high-energy dogs are more prone to trembling when they feel a surge of excitement and happiness. You might have noticed your pooch shake during playtime or when they found something interesting during a walk.

Dogs also get excited when they see their owner at the end of the day. Under such circumstances, a shake is a dog’s response to release excess energy. If your dog quivers after hearing exciting or thrilling news, you have nothing to worry about. The trembling will subside once the dog calms down.

4. Stress And Anxiety

Dogs love to relax in their personal space. Changes in their living environment or an unknown visitor in their territory may cause their whole body to tremble with fear.

In response to fear, the amygdala releases adrenaline (the Fight-or-flight hormone). As high-level adrenaline rushes through the dog’s system, the muscles prepare the body to either fight or run away from danger. The sudden activity of the muscles causes the dog to shake and tremble.

Thunderstorms, fireworks, and loud noises are some everyday things that may trigger the shaking response. Panting and whimpering are also stress indications for your dog.

To calm down your dog, all you have to do is remove the cause of stress. You can also help dogs manage their anxiousness by staying calm because they can sense your tension as well. If you remain relaxed about a stressor, they will soon begin to adapt to the situation.

However, if it experiences anxiety due to a frequently occurring event, then consulting a behaviorist or a vet will help you find the right solution.

5. Pain And Discomfort

Trembling, shaking, and winning are signs that your dog is in pain. Injuries, weak muscles, infection,  and chronic illness are some leading causes of dog pain. The pup will constantly shift positions to show his discomfort and misery. Besides shaking, whining, crying, and excessive drooling are common symptoms in a dog in constant pain.

Older dogs who often suffer from pain-related tremors also experience shaking, followed by a list of other symptoms. Aging dogs will whimper, lose their appetite, and breathe heavily to show discomfort and pain.

6. Low Blood Sugar Level

The blood sugar level in dogs also fluctuates, causing their muscles to twitch. When dogs have low blood sugar levels, their muscles will not have enough glucose. And so the muscles of the dog won’t contract or relax properly. Usually, it occurs in toy, small breed dogs, and young puppies. There could be many reasons behind the low sugar levels in dogs.

  • The dog is diabetic and receives a lot of insulin.
  • Your dog consumed xylitol. It is synthetic sugar often found in sugarless foods and is considered harmful for pups.
  • Pancreatic tumor is also a cause of low blood sugar in dogs.

Loss of appetite, confusion, lack of coordination, and fatigue are symptoms you need to look out for before consulting a specialist.

7. Canine Distemper

Distemper is caused by a virus attacking the dog’s organs. This contagious virus disrupts a dog’s respiratory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems. The initial symptoms of canine distemper include sneezing and coughing. However, if the virus spreads to the dog’s central nervous system, your canine friend will have tremors and seizures. Some other signs that indicate the beginning of your pup’s distemper include

  • High temperature,
  • Lethargy,
  • Low appetite,
  • Runny nose.

Distemper appears in young puppies, especially those who have not been fully vaccinated. As the condition can be fatal, you must consult a veterinarian. The vet will prescribe antibiotics and a proper diet to help prevent the disease from worsening.

8. Generalized Tremor Syndrome (GTS)

Initially, GTS was detected in small white dogs, but it may affect dogs of all sizes, breeds, and ages. The actual cause of this disorder is still unidentified, and a vet will help you with the diagnosis.

9. Toxins And Poisons

Certain substances consumed by humans are highly poisonous to the dog. Chocolates, cigarettes, xylitol, cannabis, nuts, and caffeine are toxic for dogs.

Although different products will have other effects on the dog’s general health, tremors, twitching, and shaking are signs that your dog might have consumed a toxic substance.

When Should I See The Vet?

There are a lot of reasons why a dog shakes and quivers. It can either be the changing weather or a scary moment. Dogs also shiver with health issues such as kidney problems, inflammatory brain conditions, Addison’s disease, low blood sugar levels, and low calcium levels.

If it is just the weather or a potential stressor causing your dog to shake and shiver, there is nothing to be worried about. Keep your pup warm and cozy, remove the source of stress and train your canine friend to cope with his anxiousness.

However, if shaking is followed by other unusual symptoms such as lethargy, limping, diarrhea,  vomiting, drooling, panting, or lack of appetite, you need to see the vet immediately.

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