Why is my French Bulldog shaking? If you noticed that your Frenchie is trembling or shivering, you should rule out stress, poisoning, distemper, kidney problems, and Addison’s disease. On a less serious note, the shakes might be due to excitement or old age.
Shaking is a very general symptom that can point to a slew of potential health problems. While all dogs shake from time to time, it can be disconcerting if your French Bulldog experiences it too often.
Below, I discussed eight possible reasons behind your dog’s shaking. Just remember that these are only a few of the potential causes, and visiting the vet is still the best decision.
Why is my French Bulldog shaking?
1. Stress or fear
One of the most common reasons why French Bulldogs shake is chronic stress or fear. Severe anxiety is one of the leading causes here, which is something Frenchies are prone to experience.
French Bulldogs left alone for long hours can grow anxious. Shaking will follow suit, together with other bad behaviors like howling, barking, and destructive chewing.
Aside from that, Frenchies will experience the shakes when it’s afraid. The sound of thunder, blaring speakers, and vet visits can also solicit the same reaction.
It’s very important to help your dog overcome these fears and triggers. Early and slow desensitization is the most effective way.
If your French Bulldog is suffering from severe separation anxiety, rigorous training will be a big help. You can also consult with a pet trainer or veterinarian to help address the problem.
Aside from these long-term solutions, your dog will also find relief from calming aids like clomicalm. Clomicalm is an antidepressant prescribed by veterinarians to ease compulsive disorders and anxiety among canines. Remember to seek the vet’s prescription before giving this to your dog.
Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar is another common cause of shaking among French Bulldogs. Small dogs like French Bulldogs are at high risk of suffering from low blood sugar, together with toy breeds.
Canines suffering from hypoglycemia will experience lethargy, poor coordination, muscle spasms, trembling, and collapse. In the worst cases, the dog will suffer from blindness, seizures, and paralysis.
Malnutrition is the major culprit behind hypoglycemia in dogs. Take note that forcing your dog to skip full meals will put it at high risk of having low blood sugar. The lack of food will lead to blood sugar deficit, which leads to the onset of hypoglycemia.
However, hypoglycemia can also be secondary to other conditions like sepsis, Addison’s disease, and even pancreatic tumor.
It’s very important to seek immediate veterinary care whenever your dog experiences a bout of hypoglycemia despite its proper diet. This is to prevent life-threatening conditions when the dog’s low blood sugar continues to crash.
Exposure to toxic substances will also cause uncontrollable shaking among French Bulldogs. Some of the innocent causes of poisoning in dogs are fertilizer in home gardens, cleaning agents, rodent poison, human prescription drugs, and slug baits.
All of these toxic substances affect the dog’s nervous system. For example, certain types of rat poison like bromethalin will cause a French Bulldog’s brain to swell.
Meanwhile, rodenticides inhibit the production of Vitamin K in the canine’s body. This leads to bleeding as Vitamin K is an integral nutrient in blood clotting. Such shock will lead to tremors and other life-threatening symptoms if the poisoning isn’t addressed right away.
A French Bulldog suffering from poisoning-induced tremors should be brought to the vet’s clinic right away. If access to a vet isn’t possible, you can call a pet poisoning hotline.
Poisoning among dogs is highly preventable. Always store toxic substances, and don’t let your dog access bait areas and fertilizer-treated grass.
Distemper is a contagious infection among dogs caused by a virus called paramyxovirus. Usually, French Bulldogs that received all their core vaccines have protection against distemper. This shot can be given as early as the dog turns 8 weeks old. This is followed by booster shots on succeeding weeks and years.
Aside from shaking, French Bulldogs with distemper will experience the following symptoms:
- Nasal and eye discharge
- Labored breathing
- Skin sores
- Neurological symptoms
Since distemper is contagious among canines, it’s important to quarantine your French Bulldog once you observed these symptoms. You should also take the doggo to the vet as early as possible to curb the life-threatening consequences of distemper.
To prevent distemper, make sure that your Frenchie gets fully vaccinated. Also, avoid direct contact with wild animals like skunks, raccoons, and ferrets since they are potential carriers of the virus.
5. Kidney problems
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) can cause shaking and tremors among French Bulldogs. Most cases of chronic kidney disease occur in senior dogs, but younger Frenchies aren’t invincible.
French Bulldogs with CKD can’t filter the wastes from their blood. Take note that affected dogs can still urinate and in surprisingly large amounts.
As the toxic substances linger in the dog’s system, the body will force more blood flow into the kidney in an effort to get rid of the wastes. This is why Frenchies with CKD will have increased thirst and urination.
Over time, this will damage the dog’s kidney. And unfortunately, kidney tissues can’t regenerate, which makes the condition progressive. Also, the worsening condition will lead to tremors as well as other symptoms like weight loss, anemia, diarrhea, incontinence, and sudden blindness.
Early diagnosis and treatment are the key to save your French Bulldog’s life. The prognosis for chronic kidney disease depends on the severity of the condition and other factors.
6. Addison’s disease
Addison’s disease is also known as hypoadrenocorticism. It’s a mouthful, but it simply means that a dog experiences reduced hormone production due to the destruction of the adrenal tissue. Such damage is often immune-induced, but some cases are due to trauma, cancer, or other infections.
The adrenal glands, both in humans and canines, are small glands situated near the kidneys. These glands are responsible for the production of aldosterone and cortisol. Aldosterone is crucial in maintaining safe levels of potassium and sodium in bodily fluids.
It’s not easy to diagnose Addison’s disease in French Bulldogs because the clinical symptoms are quite vague and general. For the most part, Frenchies with this condition will have intermittent shaking, increased thirst and urination, unexplained weight loss, and lethargy.
If not detected or treated right away, a French Bulldog suffering from Addison’s disease will experience an Addisonian crisis. This happens when the symptoms occur in extremes, causing the dog to collapse and have tremors. An Addisonian crisis requires emergency vet care.
The good news is that Addison’s disease is treatable among French Bulldogs and all dog breeds.
7. Old age
Sometimes, the cause of your French Bulldog’s shaking isn’t a medical emergency. Old canines tend to shiver easily in cold weather than their young counterparts.
Aside from that, some cases of senior dog shakes are idiopathic. This means veterinarians and experts can’t find any medical problem or potential cause connected to the tremors.
As long as the vet ruled out other possible causes, an idiopathic shake is unlikely to be life-threatening. But since the cause is unknown, the vet will also find it hard to treat the problem.
In this case, the goal is to keep the old Frenchie safe as uncontrollable shaking will make them prone to falling and bumping into corners.
8. Happy dog shakes
French Bulldog shaking isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes, your dog can get very excited that he can’t contain it anymore. This leads to wild body twitching and jowl flopping. It’s actually a healthy response and not something to worry about. Some Frenchies will even wet themselves out of happiness.
The next time you feel your Frenchie shuddering upon coming home, don’t worry because it might be a show of their joy. As long as the shaking subsides within minutes, there’s nothing to worry about.
What to do if your Frenchie keeps on shaking
If you notice that your French Bulldog is shaking, it’s important to assess the environment first. Is it too cold in the area? Is there something scaring or stressing your dog. By eliminating these triggers, you can help your dog calm down.
However, if there are no external elements that could cause shaking, the best thing to do is call the vet. Make sure that you document your Frenchie’s symptoms to help the veterinarian diagnose the problem.
Also, you should keep these points in mind:
What to do
- Call the vet immediately if the shaking lingers for more than an hour.
- Take note of other symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, or confusion.
- If you suspect poisoning, call the Pet Poison Helpline
- Try comforting your dog through petting and speaking softly.
- Bring the dog to the vet’s clinic
What NOT to do
- Don’t administer any medication to your dog unless prescribed by the vet.
- Avoid force-feed a shaking dog just because you suspect hypoglycemia.
- Don’t dismiss symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, and anxiety.
- Don’t put off veterinary care, especially if the shaking is happening too often.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is shaking a sign of pain in dogs?
A: Shivering or shaking can be a sign of pain due to an underlying illness. However, some cases of shaking, especially those triggered by stress, don’t necessarily cause physical pain. Still, both should be addressed and prevented to reduce the negative impact on your dog’s health.
Q: What causes head tremors on Bulldogs?
A: Head tremors on Bulldogs and other breeds are mainly due to ingestion of toxins or damage to the cerebellum. Other conditions like hypocalcemia and hypoglycemia can also lead to head tremors. Nevertheless, it’s best to bring your Bulldog to the vet’s clinic as localized tremors on the head are a serious matter.
Q: Do dogs tremble when they are in pain?
A: Dogs don’t always tremble when they experience pain. However, some painful health conditions could have shaking as one of the symptoms. It’s best to get your dog checked if trembling is frequently happening and for long periods.
Q: Can French Bulldogs get shaker syndrome?
A: The shaker syndrome is mostly observed in white, small breed dogs like Maltese, Shih Tzu, Bolognese, Coton de Tulear, Bichon Frise, and so on. However, French Bulldogs can still get it, but the chance is extremely rare. If your Frenchie is shaking, it’s likely suffering from other conditions and not the shaker syndrome.
Q: Can a dog have a seizure without shaking?
A: Most cases of canine seizures involve shaking and trembling. However, there are also cases of seizures that don’t include the shakes. Atonic seizure is one example of when a dog doesn’t experience shaking. Instead, the canine will suffer from a sudden loss of muscle strength. The dog will fall on the ground, sometimes remaining conscious.
Q: Should I be worried if my dog is shaking?
A: Shaking due to cold weather and excitement isn’t something to be worried about as long as you help your dog calm down. However, if shaking is accompanied by other symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, loss of coordination, and lethargy, you should bring your dog to the vet right away.
Why is my French Bulldog shaking? This condition can either be harmless or something that points to a health problem. It’s important to assess the environment and watch out for other symptoms. Nevertheless, you can always call your dog’s vet for professional advice.