Why is My Dog Shaking? When to Seek Help

Why is My Dog Shaking? When to Seek Help

Seeing your dog shaking or trembling can be alarming, especially if they also seem sick or anxious. However, there are many different reasons why dogs shake, and not all of them are necessarily caused by a medical issue.

Dogs will commonly shake to dry themselves off, calm themselves down after stress, and express their excitement or anxiety. Dogs will also shake when they are cold, sick, or experiencing pain.

In this article, we will be describing many causes of shaking in dogs. We will also be explaining when dog owners should take their dogs to the vet for shaking.

12 Causes for Shaking in Dogs

There are many causes of shaking in dogs. Here we will be describing what these different types of shaking look like and the reason behind each.

1. Your Dog is Drying Off

Dogs often shake after getting out of a bath, pool, or coming inside from the rain. When doing this, dogs will shake their bodies to dry off. This type of shaking in dogs is completely normal, and they do this instinctually.

dog shaking in Silver Spring, MD

2. Your Dog is Excited

Dogs will sometimes shake when they are excited about something. This could either appear as a trembling type of shake or a shake similar to drying off when they are wet.

The key to figuring out if your dog is shaking due to excitement is to look at their body language. Do they appear happy and energetic? Are you about to do something that your dog absolutely loves such as going to the dog park? If so, then your dog is likely just excited. Most of the time this type of exciting behavior is nothing to worry about.

3. Your Dog is “Shaking Off” Stress

Dogs sometimes “shake off stress”. Dogs will do this after stressful or overstimulating events to calm themselves down. This is a normal behavior, and dog owners do not need to worry about it when it occurs.

4. Your Dog is Feeling Anxious

Dogs will often tremble and shake when they are feeling anxious. The best way that you can tell if your dog is anxious is by looking at their body language. Other signs of anxiety in dogs besides shaking can include:

  • Lip licking
  • Excessive drooling
  • Whites of eyes showing (whale eye)
  • Having accidents
  • Hair standing on end
  • Ears pinned back
  • Crouching low to the ground
  • Attempting to hide

It is normal for dogs to experience anxiety on occasion. However, it is a good idea to consult with your vet if your dog is experiencing anxiety frequently.

5. Your Dog is Cold

Just like humans, dogs will often shiver when they get cold. This is more common in dogs with short and thin coats than in dogs with thick coats of fur. If your dog starts to shiver after being outside, then this is a sign that the weather is too cold for them. Dogs may benefit from sweaters, coats, and booties in these situations.

6. Your Dog is Getting Old

Dogs will often start to shake more often in their elderly years. Older dogs have a difficult time heating their body up when they get cold, leading them to be more susceptible to the cold. Additionally, some elderly dogs experience more anxiety and pain than younger dogs do. All these factors could potentially cause shaking.

7. Your Dog is Experiencing a Problem With Their Ears

Ear problems will commonly cause dogs to excessively shake their heads. Most commonly this type of shaking in dogs is caused by ear infections. However, any kind of ear problem can potentially cause dogs to shake their heads.

8. Your Dog is Experiencing Pain

Dogs can shake when experiencing pain. This shaking will likely appear to be more of a tremble. Other signs of pain in dogs to look out for include:

  • Limping
  • Sitting, standing, or laying down with a strange gate
  • A sudden onset of aggressive or withdrawn behavior
  • Lethargy
  • Flinching when touched

If you suspect that your dog may be experiencing pain, then it is recommended that you take them to their vet as soon as possible.

9. Your Dog Ate Something Toxic

Dogs will sometimes shake or tremble when they are experiencing poisoning by eating something toxic. Some other signs of toxicity in dogs include:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea (may or may not contain blood)
  • Seizures
  • Lethargy and difficulty walking
  • Unexplained bleeding
  • Unusual looking stool

If your dog is showing signs of poisoning, contact your nearest emergency vet immediately.

10. Your Dog Has Low Blood Sugar

Like humans, dogs tend to tremble when they have low blood sugar. This is more common in puppies than adults. It can be a true emergency so if they will not eat and they are getting weak or not responding, rub a small amount of Karo syrup or honey on their gums and call an emergency veterinarian immediately.

11. Your Dog is Sick

Some illnesses can cause trembling in dogs, especially in severe illnesses. Canine distemper can cause shaking in dogs. You should take your dog to the vet immediately if you suspect that they have a serious illness, especially if they are a puppy, elderly, or have other medical conditions and their shaking is new.

12. Your Dog Has Generalized Tremor Syndrome or is Experiencing Seizures

Sometimes dogs will shake due to having seizures or generalized tremor syndrome. These usually appear as uncontrollable shaking, and both conditions require a diagnosis from a vet.

When to See a Vet

You should take your dog to the vet for shaking if they:

  • Have had a seizure (potential emergency)
  • Are showing signs of poisoning (emergency)
  • Are showing signs of hypothermia (emergency)
  • Are showing signs of illness or pain
  • Are showing signs of having generalized tremor syndrome
  • Are showing signs of having an ear infection or another ear problem
  • Are showing signs of extreme and/or chronic anxiety

Dog Shaking in Silver Spring, MD

If you have noticed your dog is shaking more often in Silver Spring, MD, contact Apex Vets. Our veterinarians can see what the root cause of your dog’s shaking is and see how we can help. Contact us today.