As devoted dog parents, our priority is always to ensure the well-being of our furry companions. That is why it can be distressing to observe them experiencing tremors or shivers.
Understanding what triggers these reactions is crucial to provide the best care, whether the shaking is minimal or as intense as a full-blown seizure. Dogs may shake for various reasons, from natural excitement to underlying health problems.
Knowing why your dog is shaking can help you assess the situation and take appropriate action. This article will examine the most common reasons why dogs shake, giving you greater insight into your dog's health.
Common Causes of Shaking in Dogs
1. Fear or Anxiety
Fear and anxiety are the most common culprit behind shaking in dogs. Triggers such as loud noises, unfamiliar individuals or animals, and changes in their surroundings may cause dogs to tremble due to stress or fear. Dogs that have experienced abuse, neglect, or abandonment may also be more susceptible to stress-induced shaking.
To alleviate anxiety and fear in your dog, you can create a stable and secure environment, establish a routine, and show them love and affection. For more severe cases, behaviour modification may be necessary with the help of a professional behaviourist. Providing a safe space to retreat, positive reinforcement, and regular exercise can also help reduce a dog's anxiety.
Medications prescribed by a veterinarian, as well as natural remedies, may be used in severe cases. Fear and anxiety are complex issues that may require professional assistance. So don't hesitate to reach out to a behaviourist if you believe your dog's shaking is fear or anxiety-related.
2. Pain or Discomfort
Shaking or trembling in dogs can be a sign of discomfort and pain, particularly in their limbs. Some common symptoms that may accompany pain in dogs include whimpering, whining, and growling.
If you believe your pup is experiencing pain, it's crucial to take them to the vet immediately. There are several reasons why dogs may experience pain, including:
- Arthritis: This is a common cause of joint pain, especially as dogs age.
- Injuries: Pain can result from various injuries, including broken bones, sprains, and strains.
- Dental issues: Gum disease and tooth decay can cause discomfort and pain for dogs.
- Skin conditions: Skin conditions like hot spots and infections can cause itching and discomfort in dogs.
- Internal issues: Internal conditions like organ disease and cancer can also cause pain in dogs.
Getting a professional medical opinion is essential if your dog is shaking due to pain. Your veterinarian can diagnose the root cause of the pain and provide a treatment plan to alleviate it. With the proper treatment, your dog can regain their happiness and energy.
3. Excitement or Joy
Shaking in dogs can signal excitement or joy and is usually characterised by a wagging tail, jumping, or excited barking. The best way to determine whether a dog is quivering due to excitement is to observe if they have relaxed body language and a playful demeanour.
It is important to distinguish between excitement-related and fear-related shaking so as to deal with each of them appropriately. Fear-related shaking should be addressed with calming and reassuring methods, while excitement-related shaking is normal and healthy and can be encouraged through play and exercise.
For instance, if your dog shakes after you come home or after playing, it's likely a sign of excitement. Enjoy your dog's happy behaviour and encourage it with play and affection. On the other hand, if your dog shakes in new or unfamiliar situations, such as at the vet, it's more likely a sign of fear or anxiety.
Reduce your dog's stress by providing a familiar toy or blanket, using positive reinforcement techniques, and seeking the help of a professional behaviourist if needed.
4. Aging or Arthritis
In dogs, trembling or shaking can also be a symptom of aging or arthritis. As canines grow older, their joints may become rigid and painful, causing them to shake or tremble, particularly after resting or inactivity.
Arthritis is a prevalent source of joint discomfort in senior dogs and can contribute to shaking. You may observe your aging dog trembling more frequently or for extended periods, but it is a normal part of the aging process and should not cause alarm.
However, if you observe sudden or intense changes in your dog's trembling behaviour, it is best to visit a veterinarian to eliminate any potential health problems. There are several ways to manage shaking caused by aging or arthritis in dogs. They include:
- Pain management through medication and supplements.
- Regular low-impact exercise to keep joints flexible and reduce pain.
- Maintaining a healthy weight to reduce joint stress and discomfort.
- Assistive devices, such as ramps, elevated food and water bowls, and orthopaedic beds, to increase comfort and decrease pain.
- Alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, massage, and physical therapy, can help manage pain and improve mobility in older dogs.
Working with a vet, you can develop a suitable management plan for your aging dog to enable them to live a happy and comfortable life despite the effects of aging and arthritis.
5. Low Blood Sugar or Hypoglycaemia
Shaking in dogs can be caused by hypoglycaemia, a condition where the blood sugar level drops too low. The symptoms of hypoglycaemia include shaking, weakness, and confusion.
The cause of hypoglycaemia in dogs can be due to missing a meal, overexertion, or medical issues such as diabetes or liver disease. To help your dog if you suspect hypoglycaemia, you can follow these steps:
- Provide a quick source of sugar, like honey, corn syrup, or sugar water.
- Give your dog a small meal or high-carbohydrate snack.
- If your dog's shaking persists or if you cannot raise their blood sugar level, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
It is essential to keep track of your dog's blood sugar levels, especially if they have a medical condition that makes them vulnerable to hypoglycaemia. By working with a veterinarian, you can create a management plan to keep your dog's blood sugar levels in a healthy range and prevent hypoglycaemia-related shaking.
6. Overheating or Heatstroke
Heatstroke occurs when a dog's internal temperature rises too high and causes symptoms like heavy panting, a fast heartbeat, and shaking. It can happen when a dog is exposed to high temperatures for a long time, engages in intense exercise, or has a thick coat that makes it hard for them to regulate their body temperature. If you suspect your dog is suffering from heatstroke, the following steps can help:
- Cool environment: Move your dog to a cool place, like a shaded area or a room with air conditioning.
- Hydration: Offer your dog water to help lower their body temperature and rehydrate.
- Cool towels: Place cool, damp towels on your dog's body, especially their head, neck, and paws.
- Contact vet: If your dog continues to shake or their body temperature doesn't go down, seek veterinary care immediately.
Heatstroke is a serious condition that can be fatal if not treated promptly. To prevent heatstroke in your dog, it's important to provide plenty of shade and water on hot days, avoid prolonged exposure to high temperatures, and limit intense exercise during hot weather. Additionally, you can consider shaving your dog's coat in the summer to help them regulate their body temperature more effectively.
To sum up, shaking in dogs can stem from multiple reasons. It's crucial to determine the cause of the trembling to give your canine baby the best care and management. If your dog's shaking is persistent or severe, a visit to the veterinarian is necessary. The vet will perform a comprehensive examination to diagnose the cause and give you management and treatment suggestions.
The following are some actions you can take to lessen your dog's shaking and make them comfortable:
- Create a peaceful and secure atmosphere: Minimise exposure to triggers that induce fear or anxiety and make a safe space for your dog.
- Feed a nutritious diet: Offer a balanced and healthy diet to keep your dog healthy and avoid issues like hypoglycaemia.
- Exercise regularly: Encourage regular physical activity and exercise to maintain your dog's physical and mental wellness.
- Seek veterinary attention: Regular vet check-ups can detect and treat any underlying health issues causing your dog to shake.
By recognising the common causes of shaking in dogs and taking proactive measures to keep your pup healthy, you can reduce the frequency and severity of shaking and ensure a happy and comfortable life for your furry friend.