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Dogs are adorable creatures. They do many things that tend to fascinate us, and for a good reason. They’re playful, friendly, and mischievous and we love all that about them. They are like family to us, and we love them more than we can put into words. We’ve gotten so used to some of their behavioral traits that we don’t even question whether it’s normal or not anymore. Why do dogs shake their fur? We may see it as something they just tend to do from time to time, but is that all it is? Here are a few reasons why he might be shaking his fur.
- He’s stressed - When dogs get stressed, they try to shake the feeling off as if it were something physical. It can also be seen as a surge of adrenaline after a particularly stressful situation. The shake helps your canine companion to press the reset button on his brain. When he shakes his fur in this instance, he’s trying to alleviate the built-up stress in his system and start over. Watch his reactions on different occasions to get a clear idea of what might be stressing him out. If he shakes his fur right after you’ve stopped petting him, chances are that the interaction stresses him out a bit. Identify the stressors in his environment by paying attention to him and try to remove as many stressors as you can.
- They’re going through a wind-down - If you’ve noticed your dog shake his fur right after you had a pretty intense play session or after a rigorous activity, he’s likely to be winding down. Shaking his fur, in this instance, means that he’s ready to relax and flex his muscles. It could even signal that he’s feeling friendly and ready to be petted. It’s a common way dogs use to tell their humans that playtime was a lot of fun, but now he wants to relax.
- They might be uncomfortable - Is your dog favoring one ear over the other? Having issues with his skin? Emotional discomfort isn’t the only reason why dogs shake their fur. The action could also indicate physical discomfort. It could be a sign that their skin is itching due to allergy-related issues or that they might have something lodged in their ear, like mites or debris. It’s safe to take them to the vet as soon as possible if you see him shake his fur and also scratch his ear while doing it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do dogs keep shaking their fur?
Dogs shake their fur for a few different reasons. One of the main reasons is to dry off after getting wet. A dog's coat is designed to repel water, but it can become waterlogged if the dog gets completely submerged. Shaking helps to remove the excess water and dry off the coat more quickly. Another reason dogs shake their fur is to remove dirt, dust, or other debris that may have become lodged in their coat. This is especially important for dogs with long or thick fur, as dirt and debris can become tangled in their coat if not removed regularly. Dogs may also shake their fur as a way to release excess energy or tension. If your dog has been running or playing, it may shake its fur as a way to "reset" and calm down. Lastly, dogs might shake their fur as a way to communicate with other dogs or humans. A shake can mean “I'm happy” or “I'm ready to play”. Excessive shaking or scratching can be a sign of a skin condition, parasite infestation, or other health problem, and in that case, it is recommended to seek vet advice.
Why do dogs shake their fur when not wet?
Dogs can shake their fur even when they're not wet. As I mentioned before, shaking their fur is a natural way for dogs to remove dirt, dust, or other debris that may have become lodged in their coat. This behavior is also a way to release excess energy or tension. Dogs may also shake their fur as a form of self-grooming. Just like cats, dogs have a natural inclination to keep themselves clean and well-groomed, and shaking their fur is one way they do this. In addition, Some dogs may shake their fur as a way to communicate with other dogs or humans. A shake can mean “I'm happy,” “I'm ready to play,” or even "I am getting ready for my grooming session". It's also possible that your dog is shaking their fur due to an itch or discomfort caused by something like dry skin, flea or tick bites, or a skin infection. If your dog is shaking their fur excessively or seems to be in discomfort, it's best to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.
Why do dogs shake their bodies after you pet them?
Dogs will often shake their bodies after being petted as a way to release pent-up energy or tension. Petting a dog can be a very calming and soothing experience for them, but it can also stimulate them and make them feel more excited or energized. Shaking their body is a way for dogs to "reset" and release that energy, similar to how shaking their fur dries off wet coat and release dirt or debris. It's also a way for dogs to communicate and indicate that they are ready to play or that they are done with being petted. Some dogs will shake their bodies to signal that they're ready to move on to the next activity, whether that's going for a walk, playing fetch, or simply resting. Another thing to consider is that dogs have a natural inclination to groom themselves, and shaking their coat is one of the ways they clean their fur and also their body. Also, dogs will shake their body as a way of indicating that they are happy or content. Shaking is a way for them to release happy or playful energy.
Why do dogs shake their fur after sleeping?
Dogs will often shake their fur after sleeping as a way to wake up and become alert again. Just like humans, dogs experience deep sleep cycles in which they may move around and even dream. When they wake up, shaking their fur can be a way for dogs to become more fully awake and alert and to help them become aware of their surroundings again. It's also a way for them to clean themselves up, as sleeping may cause their fur to be matted, and shaking their fur helps to fluff them back to their normal condition. Shaking their fur after sleep also serves as a way for dogs to stretch their muscles and loosen up any stiffness or tension that may have built up while they were sleeping.
Are dogs stressed when they shake?
Dogs can shake for many different reasons, and not all of them are related to stress. As I mentioned earlier, shaking can be a natural way for dogs to release excess energy, dry off after getting wet, or remove dirt and debris from their coat. It can also be a form of self-grooming, communication, or simply a way to wake up after sleeping. However, in some cases, shaking can be a sign of stress or anxiety. Dogs may shake as a result of experiencing a traumatic event or if they are in an unfamiliar or uncomfortable environment. They can also shake if they are in pain or discomfort. Dogs may also shake due to separation anxiety, fear, or nervousness. This can happen when they are left alone, when they are taken to unfamiliar places, or when they encounter new people or animals. In these cases, shaking may be accompanied by other signs of stress or anxiety, such as whining, panting, trembling, or hiding. It's important to note that dogs can also experience general anxiety, and this can also be manifested in shaking. You can also see other signs, such as destructive behavior, house soiling, loss of appetite, excessive barking, etc.
When should you be concerned?
It is important to be able to differentiate between fur shaking and just plain trembling. The two can mean really different things, and if your dog is trembling uncontrollably, then you should take him to the vet to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
Shaking, trembling, twitching -- if you’ve been observing these behaviors in your dog, take note since while the causes of these symptoms are varied, all of them necessitate medical attention. Discover the three most likely reasons for dog shaking and what steps you should take.
1. Ingesting Poison
Among other symptoms, such as vomiting or diarrhea, dogs who have ingested poisonous substances may shake and tremble as a result. There are many common household items that can be poisonous to dogs and cause an adverse reaction, including chocolate, poison for small rodents, medications intended for humans, kitchen or bathroom cleansers, and some plants. If your dog may have ingested poison and is shaking, call your vet or animal poison control immediately for advice on how to treat the problem and to determine if a visit to the vet’s office is necessary.
2. Canine Distemper
Like the flu, this virus-caused disease spreads easily through contact with blood, urine, and saliva. Shaking can be one symptom of canine distemper, along with other respiratory symptoms like sneezing, coughing, and a runny nose. Canine distemper is most common in dogs in kennels due to the close quarters. This is one sickness that can be easily prevented: a canine distemper vaccine that wards off the disease is available, even for puppies.
3. White Dog Shaker Syndrome
While the causes of this syndrome are unknown, the main symptom is tremors and shakes. Generally most common in small dog breeds, note that despite the name, this syndrome can affect dogs of any fur color. Steroids can be used to treat white dog shaker syndrome, and with treatment and minor adjustments to your dog’s lifestyle, they can live a happy life with this disease.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is my dog's lower body shaking?
There could be a variety of reasons why your dog's lower body is shaking. Dogs may shake their lower body when they are cold as a way to warm up. Dogs may shake their lower body when they are excited or energetic, especially when they are greeting someone or preparing to play. Dogs may shake their lower body when they are feeling anxious or fearful, especially if they are in a new or unfamiliar environment. If your dog is shaking their lower body excessively or if the shaking is accompanied by other signs of discomfort or distress, it may be a sign that they are experiencing pain. In some cases, shaking can be a sign of an underlying health condition, such as an infection or a neurological disorder. If your dog's shaking is persistent or if you are concerned about its health, it is always a good idea to consult with a veterinarian for a thorough evaluation. They can help identify the cause of the shaking and provide appropriate treatment if needed.
When should I be worried about my dog shaking?
As I mentioned before, it is normal for dogs to shake their lower body occasionally, especially when they are excited or feeling playful. However, you should be concerned if your dog's shaking is persistent or if it is accompanied by other signs of discomfort or distress. If your dog's shaking is accompanied by other symptoms, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, or difficulty breathing, it is important to consult with a veterinarian as soon as possible. These could be signs of an underlying health condition that requires prompt medical attention. Additionally, if your dog's shaking seems to be causing them pain or discomfort, or if it is severe enough to disrupt their normal activities, it is important to seek veterinary care. Your veterinarian will be able to identify the cause of the shaking and recommend the appropriate treatment.
How can I soothe my dog’s shaking?
There are several ways you can try to soothe your dog's shaking, depending on the cause of the shaking. If your dog is shaking due to cold, try providing them with a warm and comfortable place to rest, such as a bed or crate with blankets or a heating pad. You can also try dressing your dog in a sweater or coat to help keep them warm. If your dog is shaking due to excitement or anxiety, try calming them down with soothing words and gentle petting. You can also try using a calming scent, such as lavender or chamomile, or playing soothing music to help them relax. If your dog is shaking due to pain, it is important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible. Your veterinarian will be able to identify the cause of the pain and provide appropriate treatment. If your dog is shaking due to an underlying health condition, your veterinarian will be able to recommend the appropriate treatment to manage the condition and help alleviate any shaking. In general, it is important to remain calm and patient when trying to soothe your dog's shaking. Providing a calm and reassuring presence can often help your dog feel more relaxed and secure.
What are the early signs of kidney disease in dogs?
Shaking is not typically a sign of kidney disease in dogs. Kidney disease is a common condition in dogs that can occur due to a variety of causes, including age-related decline, infection, and certain medications. Early detection and treatment of kidney disease can help improve your dog's quality of life and potentially extend its lifespan. Dogs with kidney disease may drink more water and urinate more frequently due to an excess of waste products in their body. They may lose weight despite eating a normal diet due to a decreased appetite and decreased absorption of nutrients from food. Dogs with kidney disease may vomit due to the accumulation of toxins in the body. They might also become lethargic and have a decreased interest in exercise and play due to the build-up of toxins in the body. A dog with kidney disease may have bad breath due to an excess of waste products in the body. If you notice any of these signs in your dog, it is important to consult with a veterinarian as soon as possible. They can perform a thorough examination and diagnostic tests to determine if your dog has kidney disease and recommend the appropriate treatment. Early detection and treatment of kidney disease can help improve your dog's quality of life and potentially extend its lifespan.
What are the first signs of heartworms in dogs?
Shaking is not typically a sign of heartworms in dogs. Heartworms are long, thin worms that are transmitted from one animal to another through the bites of mosquitoes and live in the heart and blood vessels of infected animals. Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that affects dogs and other animals. The first signs of heartworms in dogs may be subtle and may not appear until several months or even years after infection. Some early signs of heartworm disease in dogs may include coughing, exercise intolerance, loss of appetite, and lethargy. If you notice any of these signs in your dog, it is important to consult with a veterinarian as soon as possible. They can perform a thorough examination and diagnostic tests to determine if your dog has heartworms and recommend the appropriate treatment. Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition, but it is highly preventable and treatable with prompt medical care. If you are concerned about your dog's health or behavior, it is always a good idea to consult with a veterinarian. They can provide you with valuable guidance and help ensure that your dog stays happy and healthy.
More on Dog Health
My Dog Is Shaking: 8 Possible Reasons
Dog Diseases and Symtoms: A to Z
How to Know If Your Dog Has Anxiety
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.