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What To Do If A Dog Is Shaking

Animals exhibit all sorts of behaviors. Some are quite normal and occur all the time, while others may only be seen occasionally. Some can even be an indicator that your pet is sick and requires medical attention from your vet or emergency vet in El Paso. One of the behaviors that many dog owners find worrying is when their canine starts shaking. We’ve got the lowdown on what this behavior might mean and what you should do if your dog starts shaking. 


Why Do Dogs Shake?

There can be a variety of reasons why a dog may start shaking. These can be separated into three different categories. Here are the three core reasons why your dog may be shaking.


Behavioral Shaking. Behavioral shaking occurs because your dog is excited, anxious, or scared. For example, your dog may be shaking because fireworks are going off outside and they are frightening them, or because you have just returned home after a long separation, and they are thrilled to see you. 


If your dog is shaking because they are scared or anxious, there will be things that you can do to help them. Removing the source of their fear or minimizing the effects it has on them is the best way to stop them from shaking. For example, if your dog is shaking, whimpering, and seems anxious because there are loud noises or lots of people, you can move them to a quiet space, and check in on them frequently if you can’t stay with them. 


Environmental Response. This occurs when your dog is having a physical response to the environment that they are currently in. For example, shaking due to being very cold or trying to shake the water out of their fur to dry off. You might be surprised to learn that shaking their coat is a very efficient way of drying themselves, able to shake off around 70% of the water absorbed by their fur in just a few seconds!


If your dog is shaking because they are cold, warming them up is quite obviously the best course of action. Shivering is a natural physiological response to the cold as the action helps to generate heat and increase their body temperature. Warm your dog up naturally using blankets and bedding – never use any artificial source of warmth as this could burn them. If your dog regularly shivers when outside in the colder months, think about getting them a coat and/or booties to help them to retain their body warmth.


Medical Shaking. Sometimes, dogs may shake because they are in pain, feel nauseous, or because they have an underlying health condition. Some of the medical conditions that can cause shaking and tremors include muscle weakness, ear problems, distemper, poisoning, epilepsy, and generalized tremor syndrome. 


In many instances, dogs who are shaking due to illness will exhibit other symptoms too. For example, a dog who is shaking because they have been exposed to a toxic substance may also experience vomiting, confusion, seizures, foaming at the mouth, and loss of consciousness. If you suspect that your dog has been poisoned, you should contact your vet in El Paso right away. Meanwhile, shaking caused by a distemper could be accompanied by a runny nose, high fever, coughing, lethargy, and loss of appetite. 


If there is no other discernible reason for your dog to be shaking, or if you have any concerns at all about your dog’s behavior, it could be that underlying illness is making them unwell. 


If you would like more advice about what to do if a dog is shaking, call El Paso Animal Emergency in El Paso, Texas at (915) 545-1148 with any questions or to schedule an appointment today.


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