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My dog is shaking: why?

Seeing your dog trembling can worry the owner of the animal when he doesn't know the reason why. Sometimes normal, sometimes a sign of an underlying disease, trembling in dogs is due to a wide variety of causes. In order to adopt the right attitude to relieve a trembling dog, it is necessary to be able to identify the cause of the tremor because it can, in some cases, be very serious. It is therefore essential to look for any accompanying symptoms.

Trembling dog: physiological causes


Some dog breeds, especially short-haired ones, are particularly sensitive to cold. But any dog, even with a thick and long coat, can suffer from extremely low temperatures. In any case, the animal will start to tremble to a greater or lesser extent without this justifying any concern on the part of the master. Simply warm the dog up and it will stop shaking.

Another non-threatening cause of trembling in a dog is fear. This can be caused by the sight of an unusual animal or a loud noise. The explosion of firecrackers and the passage of a supersonic plane are often factors that trigger a tremor following a feeling of fear. This manifestation is not serious, because the animal calms down very quickly, especially if its owner takes care to reassure it by talking to it and by caressing it.

There are other physiological causes of trembling such as :
  • Joy: a dog trembles on its legs when it sees its master come back each evening,
  • Stress: A dog may tremble when experiencing a stressful situation such as being in the waiting room of the veterinarian, in a crate or on a plane trip.
Stress tremor is common in small dogs and puppies of all breeds. This is known as trembling dog syndrome, for which the veterinarian may prescribe medication.

Tremors are often caused by different emotions and are also common in older dogs simply because their muscles lose their tone as they age.

With the exception of the Trembling Dog Syndrome, a physiological cause is considered to be normal and therefore not serious. In fact, it is enough to divert the dog's attention by playing a game to stop the trembling.

Tremor in dogs: an illness in cause


Sometimes, tremor in dogs is due to a serious pathology that must be diagnosed as soon as possible.

A treatment is absolutely necessary, or even an emergency hospitalization depending on the case. These pathological causes lead to other symptoms than tremors such as :
  • A loss of visual acuity,
  • Urinary incontinence,
  • A lack of appetite,
  • Slimming,
  • A great general tiredness.
  • A perceptible suffering,
  • Tremors,
  • Excessive salivation,
  • Moaning,
  • Vomiting and other digestive disorders.
As regards canine pathologies causing tremors, we find for example :
  • Cellular globoid leukodystrophy, more commonly known as Krabbe disease, which affects the peripheral and central nervous system,
  • Canine distemper for which there is no treatment,
  • Epilepsy, whose seizures are very recognizable,
  • Parvovirosis or hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, a fatal viral disease,
  • Canine typhus, a fatal disease in a third of cases.
All these diseases are serious. When a dog shakes for no apparent reason (fear, cold, stress, joy), it is strongly recommended to entrust him to a veterinary service.

Tremors in dogs: intoxication or poisoning involved


We are not always suspicious, but some foods that are intended for humans and that we willingly (wrongly) share with our pets can be very dangerous for their health. Dogs, for example, should not eat raisins or chocolate because they have a certain degree of toxicity for the animal.

Even more serious are the plant protection products that are used in the garden or with which houseplants are sometimes treated, which are very toxic for the dog.

The highest level of toxicity is reached with rodenticides, also known as rat poison. If ingested, the dog is poisoned. The consequences are catastrophic because without urgent care, death is inevitable.

Following the ingestion of an unsuitable food or in the hours following its poisoning, the dog presents quite revealing symptoms, such as :

A tremor in the dog may be a reaction to medication. It is best to consult the veterinarian as soon as possible so that he can change the dosage of treatment or prescribe another drug that the animal may tolerate better.

If there is the slightest doubt, the owner whose dog is trembling and suddenly seems quite ill should not hesitate to go to the vet with his little companion. The specialist may prescribe additional tests such as a blood test, a urine analysis, an ultrasound for example. In case of intoxication or poisoning, it is necessary to act urgently.