Why Is My Dog Shaking? And, How Can I Support Their Trembles and Tremors?

If you notice your dog shaking often and ask yourself why is my dog shaking, you are probably worried that something is wrong. However, many dogs shiver when they’re excited or happy. For instance, your dog may be shaking because they are excited and want to let you know they are so glad you’ve returned home, have something new to show you, or are very interested in a toy.

The main reason dogs shake with joy is because it feels fantastic! When dogs shake, their bodies release endorphins, and their heart rate increases. As a result, they can feel euphoric and more energetic after a good shiver.

That being said, dogs can shake for a variety of reasons. For example, they can get cold and need to get their fur fluffed out, or they could be afraid and trying to create intimidation. But sometimes, when your dog is shaking, it is a sign of something more severe like injury, pain, old age, hormones, or stress and anxiety.

Whichever category your dog falls into, we’ll show you how to tell the difference between the different causes of shaking in dogs and how to help your dog stop shaking.

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Why Is My Dog Shaking? Injury and Pain

It may seem like a simple question, Why is my dog shaking? This seemingly simple behavior can indicate something more serious, or at the very least, uncomfortable. A dog’s body language can be challenging to interpret, but one of the most common signs of pain in dogs is shaking or tremors. While shaking and trembling can seem like a relatively minor issue, it’s important to note that this could be a sign of more severe problems such as cancer or other illnesses.

Shaking and trembling are often seen in dogs with degenerative joint disease or arthritis, one major cause of pain-related trembling. Often, older dogs will shiver their hind legs when they sit and get up to move around. This is because the pain in their joints causes them to favor using one leg over the other.

Another possibility is that your pet is hurting because of an injury. This might include a minor scratch or more severe damage like a broken bone, especially if the dog isn’t putting weight on that leg and appears to be favoring it instead. Dog shaking due to pain from an injury may include limping and noticeable swelling around the joint or limb. Since dogs are stoic animals who don’t always express pain outwardly, you might not notice these signs until they start favoring their leg or limping on their paw.

If you’ve noticed your dog shaking and suffering from pain, try to pinpoint the issue; it’s best to address this issue immediately. You can try treating the pain at home first before taking your dog to the vet. Tremors that occur around the head, face, and neck could be more severe than just a sign of pain. Another reason for trembling could be a neurological problem like seizures.

Why Is My Dog Shaking? Seizure Disorders

Shaking is one of the first symptoms of a seizure in dogs. Seizures can affect dogs in several ways, including tremors, muscle cramps, involuntary urination, and defecation. While the disorder is not necessarily painful for the dog, it can cause injury if the animal is left to thrash about or if objects are knocked over during an episode. Seizures in dogs are caused by many of the same factors that cause seizures in humans. These include injury to the brain, inflammation of the brain, lack of oxygen to the brain, certain poisons (such as lead), and tumors of the brain or central nervous system.

Treating your dog for seizures can be very difficult, as there is no known cure for epilepsy. If your dog is having a seizure, stay with them and keep them safe. Do not place anything in the mouth of the dog. If your dog is unconscious, monitor its breathing. If they stop breathing or you see blood or foam coming from their mouth, call your veterinarian immediately.

Many medications can help control the severity and frequency of the seizures. Still, you must take your dog to the veterinarian immediately if you notice any unusual behavior in them, even if it doesn’t seem that serious at first. Treatment for seizures typically involves medication that helps control the frequency and severity of episodes. In some cases, your puppy may require surgery to remove or alleviate an underlying cause such as a tumor.

Seizures are common among older dogs but can also be seen in younger dogs. They may also be a symptom of other disorders such as epilepsy or liver disease. In addition, seizures can also occur in response to certain illnesses or injuries.

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Why Is My Dog Shaking? Generalized Tremor Syndrome

The main symptom of Generalized Tremor Syndrome (GTS) is trembling. This can be seen in the eyelids, lips, limbs, and other areas. GTS is a genetically inherited condition that affects many dogs. It is more common in a small dog such as a Poodle or Maltese but can happen in any size dog.

Tremors caused by generalized tremor syndrome occur because the body’s central nervous system is not getting the messages from the brain about muscle coordination efficiently or adequately. This means that the muscles cannot contract and relax at their optimal level of efficiency, which causes trembling in these particular dogs. Symptoms of a dog having generalized tremor syndrome include loss of balance, inability to stand on four legs, and tremors. Some dogs will be more severely affected than others depending on the genetic defect passed down from the parents. Dogs with this syndrome will likely develop seizures.

It is essential to understand that generalized tremor syndrome is a syndrome and not a disease. The syndrome occurs when a dog’s nerves are exposed to excess dopamine. This can happen when a dog is in stressful situations or excited.

A diagnosis of generalized tremor syndrome means the dog has a specific collection of signs which point to the syndrome being present. Some dogs diagnosed with GTS do not show all of the signs, and some dogs can have more than one condition causing their tremors or seizures. However, if a dog has one or two characteristic symptoms, it is still possible to have GTS.

The good news is that for most dogs diagnosed with GTS, there is an underlying cause that you can manage effectively. The majority of cases are found to be due to idiopathic epilepsy (spontaneous seizures), malformation of the brain, or problems with blood flow to the brain. 

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Why Is My Dog Shaking? Old Age

As he ages, your dog may develop a tremor, usually in his hind legs. It’s normal for older dogs to have some stiffness and pain in their joints. This can cause the hind leg muscles to tighten up, which leads to trembling.

Tremors are most common in large breeds of dogs, such as Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Doberman Pinschers. But any breed can develop tremors with age. If you notice that your dog’s shaking seems worse when he’s awake than when he’s asleep or that his legs shake when he stands up, these are signs that it may be due to normal aging. There’s no need for concern if you notice this with an otherwise healthy older dog. This type of trembling is common as a dog ages and isn’t usually related to pain.

Adult dogs with advanced arthritis may shake their hind legs when they get up from a resting position or exercise. The shaking usually stops once they’re on the move or after they’ve walked around a bit.

Trouble walking can occur for many reasons, so it’s essential to look for other symptoms such as limping or difficulty standing up or lying down. Constantly-shaking legs can also be due to heatstroke or a sign of neurological disease. If your dog is having trouble walking, first make sure he’s not overheated by putting him in an cool location with clean water. If symptoms don’t improve within 30 minutes, take him to the vet right away.

Suppose your dog is shaking his leg because of pain. In that case, it could be a sign of several different conditions that require veterinary care — hip dysplasia, arthritis, or neurological issues such as spinal cord disease or sciatica are just a few possibilities. Your vet can assess your dog and prescribe medication if necessary. Most of the time, dog tremors in older pets are simply signs of aging. But sometimes, tremors are a sign of a more severe problem. It’s essential to understand the difference between normal and abnormal tremors to get your pet the help he needs.

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Why Is My Dog Shaking? Stress

Shaking is a symptom of anxiety and stress. It’s an involuntary response to being scared — like trembling in humans. The body is trying to release energy quickly to make the dog more mobile. When you pet your dog, its endorphins are released, which helps calm it down. So feel free to give your puppy some love.

Many things in life can cause stress for dogs and humans alike: illness, injury, surgery, moving to a new home, changing routine, etc. In these situations, dogs become stressed because their routine has been altered, and this causes them to feel nervous and sometimes tremble or shake.

The good news is that many dogs will shake only during the initial stages of a fear response, and then it stops. The bad news is that some dogs continue to shake for extended periods even after the fear has subsided. Shaking is not a behavior that we can train away, but training ourselves as a dog owner to be aware of our dog’s stress signals does help us to understand when our dogs are experiencing stress and what we can do about it.

For instance, we all know that dogs respond to people and other animals in various ways. Some dogs are shy; others are bold. Some are friendly; others are aggressive. Each dog has a unique personality, and it is your responsibility as a dog owner to understand how your dog will react and act accordingly. We also know many different situations can cause stress in dogs: loud noises, strange places, unfamiliar people, seeing other dogs or animals, being restrained by leashes or harnesses, or being left alone.

Suppose your dog is shaking, trembling, or has tremors. In that case, it is important to distinguish if it is one of the above reasons or it is related to anxiety or separation anxiety.

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Why Is My Dog Shaking? Anxiety and Separation Anxiety

Just like humans, dogs can experience a range of emotions. Some feel happy and excited, while others find themselves feeling sad, angry, or overwhelmed. Dogs who are subjected to stressful situations can have a difficult time coping. This can lead to feelings of anxiety that may manifest as excessive chewing, loss of appetite, trembling, pacing, panting, hiding, or even urinating or defecating indoors. In some cases, this behavior may result from a medical illness such as heartworm disease or an adrenal gland disorder.

The trembling associated with this anxiety is usually confined to the mouth, lips, and chin area and accompanied by panting and drooling. Some dogs also break into a sweat during bouts of anxiety tremors. If your dog is trembling in this way, his temperature may rise slightly.

Separation anxiety is a canine condition in which your dog becomes excessively distressed when you leave him alone. He may bark, whine, pace, or destroy things as he waits for you to return. Some dogs will only exhibit this behavior when left alone; others are affected regardless of whether a person is leaving or entering the house.

Even though separation anxiety is one of the most commonly diagnosed problems in dogs, there are multiple causes besides just a simple desire to be with their owners. For example, your dog may be suffering from the aftereffects of a traumatic event, such as being hit by a car while running loose on the road. Or he may have developed separation anxiety because his needs have not been met. Dogs become anxious and insecure when they feel that they are being neglected or abandoned by their owners.

Suppose your dog’s separation anxiety is severe enough to cause sleeplessness and loss of appetite. In that case, he may develop other dog health issues and become seriously ill if his anxiety is not addressed correctly. Suppose as a pet parent you notice these signs and symptoms in your pet. In that case, it’s time to seek professional help from an experienced animal behaviorist or trainer who can suggest strategies for curbing this behavior.

Treating your dog’s anxiety the right way can make all the difference in the world. It can even save your dog’s life!

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Treating Your Dog’s Shaking, Trembling, and Tremors

While shaking can result from injury and pain, seizures, GTS, old age, stress, and anxiety, it isn’t always an indication that your dog is uncomfortable. For instance, shaking can also happen if they are cold or nervous. Therefore, it is essential to understand the underlying causes to get the proper treatment.

If your dog is shaking for an extended period, the first thing to do is make sure that your dog’s environment isn’t contributing to its shaking. If your dog is experiencing a medical condition, you should seek the advice of a veterinarian. If your shaking dog is due to something else, you should consider a more therapeutic option like creating a calming environment for your dog to help them relieve pain, anxiety, and stress.

A calming dog bed is a perfect addition to your dog’s “space” to create the ideal calming environment. While each dog is unique, most will benefit from the same treatment. For instance, the Cuddle Bed Plus is the original, patented dog bed that provides your dog with the right amount of support, comfort, and security to support your dog during trembles or seizures.

The patented design cradles your dog in comfort and keeps them from sliding down the bed while they sleep. Also, a Cuddle Bed Plus is made of premium quality materials (cotton or faux suede) and comes in a variety of sizes so you can find the perfect fit for your dog, no matter their size. One tip, make sure your calming dog bed is certified by the Humane Society and recommended by veterinarians to provide your dog with a healthy sleeping experience.

For additional support in their calming environment, or if you are looking for something more portable, you should consider a calming spray. They come in various formulas to address specific symptoms related to stress, anxiety, travel, and nausea. Sprays allow you to calm your dog immediately after an injury or during a seizure because they are portable and easy to store. Also, if you want more immediate treatment for the shakes or trembles, consider calming treats. You can give your dog a treat before a stressful situation or leave home to help reduce the tremors and relieve anxiety.

When a dog trembles or shakes, it’s usually a sign that something isn’t right. Whether it’s a mild case of anxiety, the onset of old age, or a more serious medical concern, it’s essential to understand why your dog is shivering. Then, take the necessary steps to treat the shaking or underlying causes.

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