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Why Does My Dog Shiver or Shake?

I have 2 dogs in my house that shiver, one is a young dog with a very fine coat and nearly bare underbelly and the other is an old dog who is a collie cross with a short medium coat.

The reasons why they shiver could be very different as one is young and the other old and so let us take a look at why dogs shiver

Many things may cause our dogs to shiver or tremble. It could be that the shivering starts when you get home and it is a result of joy that you’re home, dogs can shiver with excitement. They can also shiver from a somewhat more serious condition such as toxic poisoning. It is important that we look into the most common reasons a dog shivers or shakes?

A few of the more common causes of shaking, shivering, trembling, or tremors in dogs include:

Distemper. This is caused by a virus, and occurs most often in puppies and adolescent dogs that haven’t been fully vaccinated. It’s a common cause of tremors in dogs. Another sign that your dog may have distemper will be an eye and nose discharge, a fever and coughing.

Treating distemper generally involves supportive care while your dog’s immune system fights the virus. A vet may prescribe antibiotics, airway dilators, physical therapy, and /or fluids to help manage dehydration.

Generalized Tremor Syndrome (GTS).

This was first noticed in small, white dogs such as Maltese terrier and West Highland white terriers. It canhowever occur in dogs of any size, breed, or color. There is no known cause of GTS.

The symptoms of GTS usually start between 9 months and 2 years of age. Treatment recommended generally consists of corticosteroids and results can often be seen within a week of starting treatment.

Nausea. Shaking can also be a sign that your dog is nauseous. This could be accompanied by listlessness, a lip smacking, more swallowing or salivating than normal, hiding, yawning, and vomiting.

Old Age and Pain. As dogs get older, some develop tremors in their hind legs. Sometimes, the tremors may be in the front legs, as well. These tremors although they look serious usually don’t affect how your dog moves or walks. This is the case with my older dog and I keep an eye on it to make sure there is no pain. It is very easy to assume that this is just something that develops with age and yes it does but it still has to be monitored to make sure there are no underlying health concerns and your dog is not suffering any pain

Poisoning. Several toxins or poisons can cause tremors or shaking in dogs. Some of these are harmless to people but toxic to your pet. Items that can be poisonous for dogs include: chocolate, which dogs love,cigarettes(which can cause nicotine poisoning), and xylitol, the sugar substitute found in many chewing gums. Snail baits that some of us may put outside the house contains metaldehyde can also cause severe muscle tremors and convulsions.

Of course we all know that we don’t have to do much to make a dog happy. Just our coming home at night is more than enough to make some dogs shake, bark, even urinate with excitement.

Just make sure that these are the reasons for the shaking and not something more serious

Kathy lectures in Anatomy, Health and Animal Behaviour in a college in N.Ireland Her blog answers lots of questions we have on dogs

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