Why does my dog shake?

(Picture: Getty)

When our pets shake it’s easy to pass it off as a sign of them being too cold but there are other causes of cats and dogs shaking, trembling or shivering.

It can be hard to spot the difference as dogs particularly shake for all sorts of reasons – it could be due to excitement at seeing you, because of pain, old age, or nausea.

But sudden shivering and trembling may be symptoms of something serious – like kidney disease, poisoning, or injury.

So, if your dog suddenly starts trembling or shivering, it’s important to take note of other symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting, or limping. In this case, you should talk to your vet right away.

(Picture: Getty)

One reason that your dog might shake might be, similar to humans, as a form of temperature control. When you get a fever, your body’s thermostat is reset to a higher temperature. When the temperature attempts to drop back down to normal, shivering occurs in order to restore the new, elevated temperature set point.

If your dog has a fever, they may shiver to create body heat; you can check if your dog running a temperature by feeling their nose. If it’s wet and cool, that’s a good sign they’re healthy, if it’s dry and hot that could mean they have a fever.

According to the Pet Health Network , shaking can be a sign of a m edical disease such as kidney failure or hormonal imbalances. Neurological disorders and muscle diseases commonly cause trembling as well.

A variety of toxins cause trembling as one of the earliest neurological symptoms. Some examples include chocolate, antifreeze, and snail bait.

In older dogs, trembling may be caused by muscle weakness.

Shaking is also common for smaller dogs but doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong with them. If it persists, you might want to see a vet.

If you do notice out of character trembling, observe your pet’s other behaviours, take their temperature – the average temperature of a healthy dog is 101 °F or 38 °C.

You should see a vet if:

  • The trembling continues for more than an hour or two
  • You observe any other symptoms such as lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, laboured breathing, etc
  • You identify a potential toxin in the environment that your dog may have accessed