If you have a habit of noticing each and every new thing your dog does, surely trembling is on your radar. Trembling in a dog can be a sign of anything from excitement to a possible medical condition, so it's important to never, ever brush the motion off.
A shaking dog may simply be cold, unsurprisingly. If you're outside with your dog in inclement weather and notice that she's trembling, it may be high time you brought her back into the warmth! If the poor cutie is shaking indoors, keep her away from windows and cold drafts. To be on the safe side, always consult a veterinarian regarding your dog's trembling, especially if it's excessive and persistent.
Not unlike in people, canine nervousness often manifests itself in physical ways. If your poor dog is full of anxiety for whatever reason, whether during a car ride to the veterinarian or a thunderstorm, she may start trembling. This often indicates that your pet is full of uncertainty and simply doesn't know what to do with herself. You may also observe other classic signs of anxiety along with the trembling—crouching down, excessive salivation, rapid panting and whimpering.
Enthusiasm and Excitement
In some cases doggies tremble out of pure, unadulterated excitement. Maybe you were away from home on business for a long week and your dog just can't contain her happiness upon seeing you walk through the front door. If your dog shakes in this type of scenario, it's probably a good thing. She also may bark loudly, and perhaps even wet herself—uh oh. Well, it's the thought that counts.
Allergies and Medical Conditions
Trembling is also frequently a symptom of various allergies medical conditions in canines, including chronic renal failure, neurological disorders, joint/muscular issues, and canine distemper. Schedule a routine veterinary checkup for your doggy in order to determine whether or not her shivering is medically related.
When a pooch trembles, it may indicate the consumption of something poisonous. For example, tremors are a common sign of poisonous plant ingestion, such as of the common morning glory, black walnut, yew, castor bean or amaryllis. It can also be a sign that your pup accidentally got her paws on a type of "people" medicine, and then actually ate the stuff. Antidepressants are just one type of medication that can bring on dangerous results in dogs, from trembling and confusion to irritability and vomiting. If you have any reason to think that your dog's quivering is related to ingestion of a hazardous substance, get emergency veterinary attention for her.
Common to Breed
Chihuahuas and Dachsunds are prone to trembling more than other breeds as they are less tolerant to cold. Though all the other reasons why dogs tremble would still apply to these breeds, it's important for owners to be aware of their breed's sensitivity to certain conditions that would cause them to shake.
By Naomi Millburn
ASPCA: Top 10 Human Medications That Poison Our Pets
ASPCA: Fear of Riding in Cars
ASPCA: Black Walnut
ASPCA: Morning Glory
Berkeley East Bay Humane Society: Separation Distress and Separation Anxiety in Shelter/Rescue Dogs [PDF]
ASPCA: 17 Poisonous Plants
About the Author
Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.