Read Part-1 of this series “Why is my dog doing this?“
Read Part-3 of this series “Why is my dog doing this?“
- Ear Infections
Most dogs shake their heads back and forth when they have debris in their ear or have an ear infection. You can often see signs of an ear infection, as their ears will sometimes be red and inflamed and have a black, tar-like substance in them. Experienced dog owners can also usually smell an ear infection, as infected ears have a unique yeasty odor.
- Stress Relief
If you took your dog through obedience school, you may have noticed that he/she shakes their head sometimes during intense periods of training. This is because shaking their head is one way that dogs alleviate stress, it is a bit of a reset for their mind. Learning to do this is actually beneficial for your dog because it means that they can regroup and reset without their anxiety turning into a behavior like a bite. If you see your dog doing this frequently, you may want to pay attention to the things that stress your dog and avoid putting him in this position. Most dogs do not like being grabbed or hugged, so you might see your dog shake his head if you invade his personal space.
All Over Body Shaking or Trembling
Shaking or trembling can be a fearful response in a dog. As their owner, if your dog starts shaking during certain situations or when a particular person is in the room, chances are the shaking is fear-based. It is important to guide your dog through the fearful situation in a positive way that neither punishes them nor accidentally reinforces the fact that the situation is something to fear. If your dog is frequently afraid of certain situations, you can work with a trainer on positive training methods to socialize your dog and help her become more confident in a variety of situations.
Shaking or trembling can also be caused by pain or a medical condition. If your dog is not cold or in a fearful situation, you should consult your veterinarian and make note of other behaviors that might help determine the problem. Possible causes include nausea, distemper, Generalized Tremor Syndrome, seizures, poisoning, cancer, kidney disease, or a variety of other serious medical problems that require professional medical attention.
Some dogs are less hearty when it comes to cold temperatures. Breeds like the Chihuahua, Greyhound, Whippet, Chinese Crested, and other sight hounds and toy breeds typically get cold faster than Labradors or German Shepherds. If your dog is shaking and it is cold outside, it is possible that they are shivering to warm up just like we do when we are cold. If that is the case, you can purchase dog sweaters, coats, or beds made for burrowing.
When dogs pant, moisture and heat evaporate and help them cool their bodies. Dogs usually pant as a cooling mechanism when they are been exercising or are too warm because of environmental factors. However, panting can also be caused by stress and anxiety. As a dog owner, you can usually tell from the situation if your dog is overheated or if they are anxious.
When panting is accompanied by attempts to vomit, overall restlessness, and a bloated abdomen, it is likely that your dog is suffering from bloat, or Gastric dilatation voluptuous. Bloat is a life-threatening condition in which the stomach stretches and flips. It requires immediate veterinary attention.
Panting and Shaking
If your dog is both panting and shaking, it could be one of many potentially serious medical conditions. Because your dog cannot explain to you what they are feeling, it is recommended that you reach out to your veterinarian (or an emergency clinic if your veterinary office is closed) right away if your dog begins to pant and shake.
Overall, as a dog owner, you can usually determine from your dog’s environment and personality if shaking, trembling, or panting is because of their environment, their mental state, or a medical issue. When in doubt, pet owners are wise to always err on the side of caution and contact their veterinarian.