iStock_000007345679_MediumChances are that if your dog is shaking, he or she is not enjoying Taylor Swift’s latest album. Dogs may shake, shiver, and tremble for many reasons. Some of them are no big deal, and others can be more serious. Learn about the more common reasons you might see a quivering canine.

Physiological Issues

Shaking can be a normal physiologic response to certain situations. Dogs may shake if they are:

  • Cold
  • Excited
  • Nervous
  • Stressed/anxious
  • If you can pinpoint one of these stimuli as a cause for your pet’s trembling it is probably nothing to be too worried about. The shaking should subside when the cause is removed and not be frequently recurring.

    If you find that your pet trembles frequently, however, it is best to get him or her examined. There could be an underlying problem that needs to be addressed, or perhaps he or she could benefit from anti-anxiety or stress-reducing techniques.

    Pain and Weakness

    Many dogs will shake when in pain. This may include pain from an injury, but can also include internal pain from a disease or even chronic pain like arthritis.

    Pets who are suffering from an orthopedic problem, such as arthritis, may also experience loss of muscle tone. This results in weakness that can cause shaking, usually of one or more limbs.

    Medical Problems

    White Dog Shaker Syndrome – This syndrome, despite its name, can be seen in any breed or color of dog. It results in full body tremors and is usually seen in young, small breed dogs.

    Low Blood Sugar – This can cause seizures and coma if untreated and is most often seen in small breed puppies or diabetic patients.

    Low Calcium – This problem is most frequently seen in nursing dogs.

    Distemper – This viral disease is thankfully less and less common with widespread vaccination. However we still do see dogs, particularly puppies who have not been vaccinated fully, with this disease that can cause seizures and tremors.

    Toxicity – Exposure to many toxic substances including chocolate, nicotine, and snail bait may cause trembling or shaking.

    Addison’s Syndrome – Dogs that have Addison’s disease have a problem with their adrenal glands that does not allow them to have enough natural cortisol in their bloodstream. Many also have electrolyte abnormalities. These deficiencies result in decreased energy, frequent digestive problems, trouble gaining weight, a finicky appetite, and trembling.

    Seizures – Seizure activity may cause shaking of only certain body parts or full out tremoring as in a grand mal seizure.

    Shaking to a certain degree is a part of being a dog. When shaking and trembling are happening frequently or intensely, however, the cause needs to be determined. If you have a trembling dog for any reason other than pure happy-dog reasons, we need to know. Pets can’t talk and tell us what is going on, and symptoms such as shaking can be very helpful as we try to provide the best possible care for your pet.