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Dog trembles: causes and countermeasures

Dog trembles

If your dog trembles, this can have many different reasons. In many cases the causes are completely harmless. However, it is also possible that your dog's tremor is a sign of a serious health problem and that your pet needs urgent medical attention.

It is therefore important that you know how to recognise whether your dog is trembling for a harmless reason or whether the tremor is a cause for concern after all. We will explain how you can do this in the following.

Harmless reasons why a dog trembles

There are a variety of harmless reasons that can cause your dog to tremble. For example, some breeds of dogs naturally tend to compensate for their inner tension by trembling. Especially with hunting dogs such as terriers this behaviour can be observed very often. Apart from this, the tremor can also simply be a sign that your dog is cold.

Besides breeds without undercoat, especially animals with a very low body fat percentage, such as greyhounds, are very sensitive to cold.

Furthermore, trembling in your dog can also have the following harmless causes:

  • Physical exertion, such as when playing dog sports, can cause the muscles to tremble slightly for a short time.
  • With old dogs, occasional trembling and twitching of the muscles is not uncommon and is normally not a cause for concern.
  • Excessive stress in dogs can also cause trembling.
  • Some dogs begin to tremble when they are happy, usually accompanied by tail wagging, prancing around and barking.
  • Twitching and trembling in sleep is a sign that your dog is very relaxed and dreaming.

Anxious dogs can also tremble, although the fear is usually accompanied by other behaviours such as growling, snarling teeth and laid-back ears.

Our recommendation against stress-related trembling in dogs


If your dog trembles due to excessive stress, it may be useful to calm him down with a suitable dietary supplement.

For this purpose, we recommend that you use Shiimun Calm with Shiitake. This natural preparation contains carefully balanced ingredients that help your dog relax in a digestible way and thus also counteract the trembling of your dog.

What you can do against your dog's trembling

Whether you can and should do something about your dog's tremor depends on the exact cause. Basically, you should take care not to expose your four-legged friend to excessive stress and avoid frightening situations if possible.

For some breeds, wearing suitable dog clothing can be useful against shivering in winter due to the cold. If your dog, on the other hand, occasionally trembles a little in his sleep or out of joy, for example, you don't need to worry about this and you don't need to do anything else.

Trembling in dogs as a symptom of illness

Unfortunately trembling is not always harmless in dogs. In some cases it can also be the symptom of a disease that urgently needs to be treated by a veterinarian. This is especially true if your dog is not only trembling, but also has other complaints.

Trembling in dogs can be caused by the following health problems, for example:

  • Addison's disease
  • Stomach twist
  • Renal failure
  • Epilepsy
  • White Dog Shaker Syndrome
  • Distemper

Tremor in dogs with Addison's disease

If a dog has Addison's disease, its adrenal glands are no longer able to produce important hormones. Affected dogs tremble and also suffer from symptoms such as diarrhoea, fatigue, loss of appetite and muscle weakness. Treatment of the symptoms is usually done by administering synthetic hormones.

Trembling in dogs after a stomach twist

If your dog suffers a stomach twist, his stomach will turn on its own axis. This life-threatening emergency causes your dog to tremble, among other things. Without an immediate emergency operation, the stomach rotation leads to death within a few hours.

Trembling in dogs as a symptom of kidney failure

If your dog's kidneys no longer function properly, this is called renal insufficiency. Symptoms of renal failure in dogs include tremors, loss of appetite and fatigue.

Affected animals usually require lifelong treatment, and a special kidney diet is particularly important.

Trembling in dogs with epilepsy

Just like people, dogs can also suffer from epilepsy. Apart from trembling, the chronic nervous disease in affected quadrupeds is primarily manifested by the typical seizures, which can occur more or less regularly in varying degrees of severity.

White Dog Shaker Syndrome

The White Dog Shaker Syndrome is a hereditary disease that only affects white dogs. The symptoms of the disease include trembling as well as disorientation and conspicuously fast movements of the eyes. The treatment is carried out with medication, although in some cases it must be administered permanently.

Trembling in dogs with distemper

Distemper is a very dangerous viral disease that can cause permanent damage or even death in infected dogs. A dog suffering from distemper not only trembles, but also suffers from respiratory distress, diarrhoea, fever and paralysis. It is recommended that dogs be vaccinated against distemper at an early stage.

Trembling in dogs as a result of poisoning

In addition to the reasons mentioned above, there is another dangerous cause, poisoning, that can cause your dog to tremble. Poisoning can be caused, for example, by eating poisoned bait. It can also be caused by eating poisonous plants or food that is harmful to dogs, such as chocolate.

If your dog has suffered acute poisoning, in addition to shivering, this can be manifested by strong salivation, cramps, apathy, vomiting, diarrhoea, palpitations and shortness of breath.

Depending on the type of poison, the prompt administration of charcoal tablets as a first-aid measure may be useful under certain circumstances. Nevertheless, poisoning is always an emergency that must be treated by a veterinarian. Therefore, do not hesitate and bring your four-legged friend immediately to a veterinarian in case of suspicion, so that he can hopefully prevent worse.

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