Four Explanations for Your Dog's Trembling

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When humans shiver and tremble, the cause is usually cold. However, there are many more reasons why your dog may have the shakes. Here are a few explanations to consider.

Your Dog Has Been Trained to Shake

This first explanation may sound strange to most pet owners. After all, why would anyone train their dog to tremble? However, it is actually possible to accidentally teach your dog to shiver and shake on purpose. How do you usually react when you see your dog trembling? If you immediately worry, fuss over them, wrap them up and give them lots of attention, your dog may have learned that shivering gets them special treatment, just like performing a trick would. The best way to fix this problem is to stop giving your pet attention for shaking; just make sure you take them to a vet first to make sure there's no underlying cause.

Your Dog Is Stressed

Another common cause of trembling is stress. Particularly scary or stressful events, such as fireworks, thunderstorms, vet visits or being left alone for a long time, can make a dog very scared and anxious, and dogs in this state of stress often begin to shake. This kind of trembling is often accompanied by 'naughty' behaviours like growling, chewing on furniture and aggression. If your dog is prone to stress-induced trembling, your vet may be able to prescribe an anti-anxiety medication or show you how to train your dog to cope with fear.

Your Dog Has Shaker Syndrome

Some dogs who tremble are afflicted by a disorder called shaker syndrome, also known as generalised tremor syndrome. Dogs with this syndrome have unexplained inflammation in the part of their brain that controls muscle movements. This causes them to shiver uncontrollably for no specific reason. This disorder is often seen in conjunction with other conditions affecting the central nervous system, but it can also appear on its own. Thankfully, this syndrome can be treated with a course of steroid medication. Some dogs will recover quickly, while others may need to take the medication consistently for many years.

Your Dog Has Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease is a particularly horrible illness for dogs because many dogs don't experience symptoms while the disease is in its early stages. Only when the disease progresses to a more severe level do most dogs begin to show signs of illness. One sign of kidney disease is trembling. It's often seen in conjunction with excess drinking and frequent urination. If you suspect kidney disease, it's important to get your dog to a vet as soon as possible. You won't be able to reverse the damage that's been done, but there are many treatment options available to manage it.

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