My Dog Is Trembling – Is This a Symptom of an Illness?

Sometimes dogs seem to shiver and shake all over, worrying their owners. Here are a few reasons why your dog may be trembling.

• Dogs get cold and shiver just like we do, especially those with very short hair. That’s why you see so many Chihuahuas in sweaters, and why the little dogs seem to be shaking all the time.

• A trembling dog can also be a dog experiencing pain. If your dog seems to hesitate before doing a normal activity, it might indicate that something hurts. A sore back or an upset stomach can make a dog shake.

• A fearful dog is a shaky dog. If your pet is scared or nervous, she may tremble all over and run to hide. There are many dogs that are anxious by nature, and shake often.

• Shaking and trembling that doesn’t stop can indicate something more serious than a tummy ache. Diabetes and kidney disease, among other serious medical conditions, can cause shaking in a dog’s legs. Trembling paired with weakness could mean that there is damage or illness in the brain or spine. Poisoning can also cause shaking, which is usually followed by seizures.

Now that you know some of the common causes of trembling and shaking in your dog, you might be wondering how to tell one from the other.

• If you are feeling cold, and your dog is shivering, she’s probably chilly. They feel the chill in the air just as much as we do, so you might want to pick up a doggie sweater. They come in several sizes, are not pricey, and keep your pet more comfortable. You can also help by letting your dog in the house when it’s cold, or at least providing a warm place for her to go. A bed that is out of the wind and up off the cold ground is ideal, and providing some blankets or an old comforter will give her something to burrow under.

• We all know our dogs well, so you’re probably aware already if you have a dog that is prone to nervousness and anxiety. A dog that is nervous will shake when she feels threatened or scared, but won’t show any other signs of a problem. Dogs can have an anxiety disorder just like people can, and there are treatments and medications available for them, too. There is no reason for your dog to be a nervous wreck all the time.

• Dogs are great at pretending that everything is fine, even when they are in pain. It is up to you as the owner to spot the subtle signs that your dog may be hurting. In addition to shaking, your dog may seem hesitant to move and refuse to jump or climb stairs. Obviously, limping and moving stiffly are indicative of pain, and a dog that normally knocks you down for his supper who won’t come eat is probably hurting. Take him to the vet, who can offer many different kinds of medications and treatments so your pet won’t be hurting.

• When the shaking is due to something more serious, there are often some other signs of an underlying problem. Vomiting and depression are often noticed in dogs with kidney or brain disease and diabetes. These conditions can also cause your dog to drink excessive amounts of water.

If you notice any of these last signs and symptoms in your dog, in addition to trembling, take him to a vet. These diseases respond best to treatment when they’re caught early.

Also, if you are worried or the shaking doesn’t seem to have a cause (or just won’t stop), take him to the vet just in case. It is better to get a clean bill of health than to possibly miss something serious.

The next article in this series will discuss coughing in dogs, and the common causes of it.

The article will hopefully help you learn to notice possible serious conditions in your pet before they get out of hand.

Most of us think of our dogs as loved ones, and anything we can do to keep them from getting sick or hurt is well worth the extra reading. Noticing a problem and getting your dog to a vet in time to stop a serious problem is priceless. 

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