Anxiety and cold temperatures are some common reasons why your dog could be shaking. But there are other medical conditions that can cause the shakes and tremors. Read on to know what these conditions are and if these need visits to the vet!
Why is My Dog Shaking?
Why is my dog shaking? Is my dog scared or unwell? These are some common concerns dog owners have. Shaking and trembling in dogs could be due to many reasons. Anxiety, excitement, nervousness or just feeling cold can be some of the temporary reasons for shaking in dogs.
Cold and anxiety
Feeling cold is one of the most common causes for dogs to shake. Many owners could mistake the shaking for dog anxiety. But if you feel cold yourself and the temperatures outside are near freezing, dog anxiety can be ruled out! Dogs which do not have thick fur coat are more prone to feeling cold than those with a lot of fur. And since dogs tend to be warmer than humans, you may not realize your dog is feeling cold just by touching him or her!
Sometimes, anxiety also could be the answer to your query on why is my dog shaking! Loud noises, fireworks, lightning and thunder or any other noises that the dog is not familiar with can cause the shaking. Some pets that have been rescued or have a background of abuse are prone to anxiety and shaking.
Using a Thundershirt can help your dog feel warm and cozy while calming down any anxieties. Surveys show that Thundershirts can improve symptoms of anxiety and nervousness in 80% of the pets. The gentle pressure the Thundershirt puts on the dog can help release soothing hormones like endorphins and ease the pet’s anxiety.
Medical conditions that can cause your dog to shake
If you are asking yourself why is my dog shaking even when it is not cold or he or she is not anxious, here is a list of other possible causes. Some medical conditions listed here are quite common in dogs and possibly the reason why your dog is shaking. The veterinarian is the best person to talk to when you notice excessive shaking in your dog. Appropriate diagnosis at the right time can help your dog get back his happy woofs!
Aging: Senior dogs are at risk for a condition called Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD). CCD is similar to Alzheimer’s or dementia that humans are prone to. Just as in Alzheimer’s, a protein called beta-amyloid starts to build up in the brain cells that lead to plaques. As plaques increase, dogs begin to lose muscle coordination. It can lead to progressive memory loss as well. Disturbed sleep, disorientation, and tremors or shaking could possibly indicate CCD. If you suspect your dog could be suffering from CCD, take him or her to the vet as soon as possible so that accurate diagnosis and treatment can begin. Medications can help control some of the symptoms and improve the quality of life of your best pal. Keeping the pet warm with a Thundershirt can help alleviate his or her anxiety.
Addison’s disease: Although not very common, Addison’s disease or hypoadrenocorticism is a serious medical condition in dogs that can cause shaking and trembling. The condition results when the body stops producing a hormone called “corticosteroid”. Symptoms can be vague initially. Muscle weakness, lethargy, and shaking are some signs of Addison’s disease. Dehydration, diarrhea, pain in the abdomen, and nausea can follow. If not treated immediately, dehydration can be fatal. Taking your dog to the vet as soon as you notice the combination of these symptoms is necessary to begin treatment as soon as possible. Hormone injections or drugs can help treat this condition.
Distemper: Are you noticing a lot of coughing and sneezing along with fever in your dog? It is possible that it could be a viral infection called distemper. Vaccines against distemper exist but puppies and adolescents who have not yet been vaccinated are at high risk for distemper.
Other symptoms include shaking, loss of appetite, lethargy, and nausea. Vaccines are the best option to protect your dog from this nasty condition since there is no particular treatment. Some dogs can develop seizures when the virus infects the brain.
Shaker syndrome: Shaker syndrome, also called as generalized tremor syndrome (GTS), is a condition in dogs that causes the whole body to shake. Usually noticed in younger dogs between 9 months to 2 years, the tremors are due to inflammation and damage to brain cells. The exact cause of GTS is not known. Although smaller dog breeds are said to be more prone to GTS, it can occur in any breed.
Along with tremors, difficulty walking and problems with coordination are also indicative of GTS. Treatments are with steroid injections.
Poisoning: Chocolates and gums may be your favorites but can kill your furry friends! Not all foods that humans eat are safe for dogs. Chocolates, chewing gums, and cigarette can be toxic to dogs causing seizures and muscle tremors. Other symptoms of poisoning from such toxic foods could include drooling, diarrhea, vomiting, and disorientation. Taking your pet to the vet right away if you suspect poisoning is absolutely necessary.
Seizure disorders: Seizures or epilepsy is common in humans as well as dogs. Symptoms are shaking, drooling and foaming at the mouth, stiffening, and loss of consciousness. Dogs can fall over and make paddling motions. Although not fatal, the falls can sometimes be dangerous, particularly if the dog falls onto a sharp or hard object. Your vet is the best person to prescribe a treatment course if epilepsy is diagnosed in your pet.
Kidney ailments: Kidney conditions are seen in one in ten dogs according to an estimate. There could be many reasons for kidney failure in dogs. Some of them include infection in the kidneys called glomerulonephritis, bladder obstruction, kidney stones, certain cancers and other genetic causes. Blood in urine, loss of appetite, shaking, weight loss, and vomiting are typical signs of kidney failure. Treatments are long-term and involve supportive care with appropriate nutrition, hydration, and medications.
In some dogs, shaking could just be a learned behavior. Since owners tend to pick up or cuddle their pets more when they notice them shaking, dogs could just learn to do this more often to seek attention. If you are still not sure of the answer to 'why is my dog shaking?', it is time for a visit to the vet!