Is Shaking or Trembling an Emergency?

Shaking or trembling falls into the category of “it depends.”

It’s one of the things when knowing your breed, your individual dog, and individual circumstances is essential.

Daughter’s Chi shakes even when she gets excited to see somebody. Some small dogs shake or tremble at the drop of a hat. Yet, small dogs are also highly susceptible to hypothermia and hypoglycemia, both of which can be deadly.

Is Shaking or Trembling an Emergency?

With very few exceptions, shaking or trembling is a sign of an emergency to me.

Some very serious causes of shaking or trembling include:

  • pain
  • hypoglycemia
  • poisoning
  • kidney failure
  • inflammatory brain diseases or seizure disorders
  • Addisonian crisis
  • Distemper
  • neurologic disorder
  • neuromuscular diseases (e.g. myasthenia gravis)
  • liver disease leading to hepatic encephalopathy

Bottom line, unless I had an excitable Chihuahua if my dog starts shaking or trembling, I’m calling a vet.

Related articles:
Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: Shaking/Trembling

Further reading:
Shaking or Trembling Dog: How to Distinguish Medical Emergencies

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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