Why Is My Dog Shaking in Pasadena, CA?
If you have noticed your dog shaking, you may have wondered at the cause. Some causes may seem obvious, like cold weather, whereas others can be less obvious. There are many different causes for shaking, shivering, and trembling in dogs. These causes can range from changes in their environment to minor or even major health issues. To help your dog, you need to know the root cause.
Causes of Shaking in Dogs
The first step to helping your dog is to determine the cause of your dog’s symptoms. The environment, emotions, and health problems can all cause shivering, shaking, and trembling. It is your job as a pet parent to help your pup manage their symptoms, and the best way to do this is by figuring out which of these may be the cause.
Within the environment category, there are two interrelated categories: weather and temperature. Both can cause a dog to tremble, shake, and shiver. Despite their fur, dogs can still get cold.
Weather and temperature can cause minor problems like shivering but can also cause more serious health problems like frostbite. Other health problems caused by the environment can be things like hypothermia, colds, the flu, and even respiratory infections.
Emotions can also be a common cause of shaking, trembling, and shivering in dogs. Common feelings that may cause shaking in dogs are anxiety, excitement, fear, or stress. Pay attention to what is going on at the moment in the dog’s surroundings. Your dog may be excited. If they are at attention and wagging their tail, they are more than likely feeling positive and happy. They may shake their body out of excitement and joy.
If they seem to be cowering, barking, or their tail is tucked beneath them, they are likely anxious or afraid. Additionally, stress can cause trembling, shaking, and shivering. If your dog starts shaking in similar situations, then the shiver may be a stress reaction.
Health issues can also cause shaking. These issues range from minor to major problems, but all shaking and shivering should be taken seriously once temperature and emotions are ruled out.
Old age is the most common and least serious of these issues. Dogs sometimes begin to shake as they age. It often is a sign of being fatigued, or could even be a sign of arthritis. If your older dog seems to be shaking or in pain, contact your veterinarian for possible solutions.
Pain is another cause of shaking. If your dog is shaking out of pain, you know that the feeling must be miserable for them. Additionally, seizures are very serious and can cause shaking in dogs. If you suspect a seizure, call an emergency vet immediately.
Lastly, illness can cause shivering and shaking. Many illnesses have shaking, shivering, or trembling as a symptom. If your dog has other symptoms, talk to your vet to try and get a diagnosis.
Caring for Dogs Who Are Shaking
Once you have determined the cause of your dog’s shaking, it is time to treat it. It may take more than one try to find the right treatment for your dog.
Treating Anxiety in Dogs
Anxiety is somewhat normal in dogs. It is most often caused by fear, aging, and separation. Anxiety caused by fear may be caused by loud noises, strange people, new or strange places and environments, and specific situations.
Anxiety caused by age is often caused by Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome. As a dog’s memory, learning, perception, and awareness start to decline, your dog may become anxious more often. The confusion caused by these changes leads to anxiety and sometimes fear.
Anxiety caused by separation affects about 15% of all dogs. Due to their pack nature, dogs can be anxious if left home alone for too long. You may see your dog begin to act differently once left alone for too long. They may become destructive, use the bathroom inside the house, or begin to shake out of anxiety when you are about to leave the home.
Treating anxiety requires figuring out the specific triggers your dog has. Once you and your vet know these triggers, you can decide about what to do.
Excitement is a normal reaction when dogs are happy. There is nothing wrong with your dog’s excitement. However, if your dog is acting extra excited and hyper, there are things you can do to calm them down.
The first step is to remain calm. You do not want to react negatively, angrily, or frustrated. These reactions will train your dog that excitement is bad. You don’t want that. If you’d like your dog to calm down, you also do not want to be exciting them even more by acting excited as well. Remain calm, don’t engage too much, and your dog will likely calm down sooner than later. If possible, take your dog outside to run out some of that extra energy.
Help Your Dog Overcome Fear
Fear is a natural response to fear stimuli. If fear is the cause of your dog’s shaking, you will want to determine what it is they are afraid of. Once you know what they are afraid of, you can work on training and desensitizing them to that fear.
Stress can be caused by a variety of situations. The key to helping your dog deal with stress is to determine what is causing it. Talk to your vet about possible causes and what to do about them.
Similar to anxiety, fear can be caused by loud noises, separation, other animals or people, and confusion. Medication is also available for anxiety related fear in some cases.
Pain can cause shivering, shaking, and trembling. If you suspect your dog is reacting to pain, check with your vet. In most cases, gentle care and time will help. However, for serious injuries, you may note limping or jerking movements. If your dog is having trouble breathing, they may be in pain. Contact your vet for more information on what to do if your dog seems to be in any sort of pain. Remember, your dog only had you to rely on when they are hurting. It can be very stressful for them and may cause your dog to shake even more.
Many illnesses have shaking, shivering, or trembling as symptoms. Contact your vet if you suspect illness. Some illnesses are more serious than others. Just like with humans, someone with medical knowledge can help you determine what is wrong and how to treat it. This is another reason it is important to contact your vet in these cases.
As your dog ages, they may struggle with strength. This struggle may look like shivering or shaking. Old age may also bring arthritis and pain. Your vet can recommend medication if your dog is suffering from arthritis.
Talk with Your Vet About Seizures
If you suspect a seizure, call your vet or an emergency vet. They can help you treat your dog, determine the cause of the seizure, and make plans for future preventive treatment.
Temperature & Weather
If the temperature or weather is the cause of your dog’s shaking, the first thing to try is to avoid putting your dog outside during times that weather is happening. You may have to take your dog for a walk but make it quick.
Temperatures of 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower are dangerous and can cause frostbite. If left untreated, frostbite can turn to hypothermia.
The treatment for both hypothermia and frostbite begins with warmth. You need to immediately try to warm up your pet:
- Build a fire in the fireplace or turn up the heat in your house
- Wrap your pet in blankets and hold them
- If they are wet, get them dry as quickly as you can
If their temperature does not improve, they need to be taken to the nearest emergency vet for assistance.
Talk with Your Vet About Dog Shaking
Whether your dog’s shivering, trembling, or shaking is caused by emotions, health, or their environment, seeking help from a vet is one of the important steps. Hopefully, this has helped you narrow down the options to discuss with your vet.
To talk with your Altadena Pet Hospital veterinarian about why your dog is shaking in Pasadena, call (626) 798-0738 or book an appointment online!