Why is My Dog Shaking, Shivering, and Trembling?

If your dog is shaking, there may be various causes including pain, cold, or stress. In this article, we will discuss the potential causes of tremors in a dog and the possible solutions.

Why is My Dog Shaking, Shivering, and Trembling

What happens to a dog when it shakes?


Shivering can be caused by a number of things, both internal and external, including cold temperatures, epilepsy, or intoxication. It is an uncontrollable bodily reaction.

When a dog shakes, the underlying cause can vary greatly depending on the situation. These causes can include psychological factors like fear, anxiety, stress, or even a heightened state of excitement due to excessive joy. Let's explore what happens to a dog when it shakes in each of these scenarios.

Is my dog shivering due to the cold?


When dogs are cold, they react similarly to how humans do, producing involuntary muscle contractions to warm up, resulting in them shivering. This is because their physiognomy is very similar to ours.

Our dog is able to reduce the feeling of cold by taking advantage of the heat created by the movement of their muscles while shivering. It is important to remember that dogs typically have a higher body temperature than humans and, although they are covered in fur, they can still be susceptible to cold temperatures.

Sometimes the trembling happens when the dog is wet, which is natural since the fur coat that shields the dog from the cold is wet and the body starts to generate heat through these muscle spasms.

In short, if your dog is shivering due to cold temperatures, you can take him to a warmer environment and avoid exposing him to moisture or drafts. This will help prevent the shivering.

Shaking may also be a sign of stress or fear in dogs


Shaking in dogs can also be caused by fear and/or stress, a behavioral and psychological issue. For instance, at Christmas when firecrackers go off, their heightened senses make the sound and feeling much more intense than what we experience, resulting in trembling. Therefore, this type of reaction is not uncommon during this time of year.

Nervousness is one of the main reasons why a dog can start shaking, which can happen in a variety of situations that can cause our pet stress, such as when we leave the house or when we have been away for a long time and our dog is very excited to see us.
Related: How Long Can You Leave a Dog Alone in The House?
If our dog is shaking due to excitement, we can help prevent it by teaching them relaxation techniques. In a short time, we should see a decrease in trembling. Fear trembling, however, can be harder to eliminate, and it may be beneficial to seek out an ethologist for assistance.

You must be gentle and calm, without being aggressive, when dealing with a dog that is shaking with fear. Avoid looking them straight in the eyes, and don't force them to come out of their hiding place. Instead, use relaxation techniques and talk to them in a soft and reassuring manner.

Shaking can be a sign of pain


Conversely, there are medical issues that can cause pain, resulting in trembling or shaking. Osteoarthritis or muscular pain caused by an injury can cause trembling in our pet, particularly in certain areas like its limbs. The only way to put an end to such tremors is to treat the underlying issue, with a suitable medication to ease the pain.

Muscle spasms or tremors can also be caused by more serious diseases such as parvovirus, epilepsy, or poison ingestion. When poison is ingested, the dog may exhibit additional symptoms beyond shaking, such as vomiting, panting, depression, or other strange behaviors.

If we suspect that our dog may be in pain, have a pathology, or has been poisoned, we should take them to the veterinarian. There is no home remedy that can effectively treat this kind of tremor, so it is essential to address the root cause in order for it to go away.

Other causes of a dog shaking


Dogs can shake while they sleep. This is a normal occurrence, usually because they are dreaming about something that makes them excited or nervous. It is also common for them to pant, growl, or bark while dreaming.

The cold can be another reason why our dog shivers during sleep, which we will know if the ambient temperature is very low. This could happen more often before, when it was more normal that they sleep in the garden, or in more rural areas where this is still done. In this case, we can cover him with a blanket.

Despite the reasons already mentioned, it is possible that our dog has a drop in blood sugar that would cause these shakes. This is something that happens mainly in active puppies and is solved by providing food to our dog or honey for a faster rise (better in these cases).

My puppy is shaking, what should I do?


When it comes to a puppy, we must be extra cautious due to their weaker and underdeveloped immune system. Any health issues they encounter can be more severe compared to those of an adult dog.

If our puppy is shivering, we must make sure he is not cold, has been properly nourished, and his emotions are in check. As previously stated, puppies can experience glucose drops if they don't eat every 3-4 hours. To counteract this, providing them with honey can help boost their glucose levels.

If our puppy is shaking and we don't know why, the best thing to do is to seek professional help from a veterinarian. If we have a good relationship with our vet, we can also call them and explain the problem. We won't be providing any tips or methodologies in this case.

It is highly recommended that you seek out the advice of a specialist when it comes to handling puppies as they are very fragile and any viral issues can have serious, even fatal, outcomes.

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