Why Is My Dog Shaking And Panting?

Have you ever looked over at your otherwise calm pup, only to discover them suddenly shaking and panting?

While a panting pup is not always concerning, these behaviors in a resting dog should always warrant attention.

Panting and shaking in dogs has been tied to everything from severe anxiety to pain, making it important to pay close attention when this occurs in your furry friend.

In this article we will discuss the details of why your dog could be panting and shaking, and help you better understand what this could mean for your furry friend.

Why Is My Dog Shaking And Panting

Why Do Dogs Pant?

Panting is a normal canine behavior that plays an important role in managing their body temperature.

The act of panting serves as a cooling mechanism when a dog is active, allowing them to trade the hot air in their lungs for the cooler air around them.

Dogs do not have sweat glands like you and I, so this is the most effective way for them to cool off.

Why Do Dogs Shake?

Shaking may not be as common of a behavior as panting, but it does still have a purpose for our furry friends.

Shaking in dogs occurs for many of the same reasons it will in humans, ranging from overwhelming emotions to body warming.

Your canine friend may begin to shake when they are cold, anxious, excited, and even in pain.

So Is Shaking And Panting Normal For Dogs?

Both shaking and panting in dogs can be normal when they occur in the right setting, but it can point to underlying complications otherwise.

For example, if your dog that has not participated in exercise begins to suddenly pant, this is not considered normal.

This is especially true if your painting dog begins to shake and tremble, as this can be a sign of distress.

Though each behavior can be normal in the right setting, they can also point to trouble.

Why Is My Dog Shaking And Panting?

Now that you understand why the combination of shaking and panting should always be taken seriously in your pup, let’s discuss a few of the most common factors behind this behavior.

Your Dog Has Anxiety or Fear

Anxiety or fear is a common cause of shaking and panting in dogs.

Similar to how some humans react to stressful situations, a dog’s internal struggle may cause outward symptoms.

These emotions can be difficult for a pup to work through, causing a full body response to their environment.

Anxiety and fear in dogs is known to cause trembling, panting, drooling, pacing, barking, cowering, aggression, and even destructive behavior.

Some of the most common factors that lead to anxiety or fear in dogs include loud noises, trips to the vet, unfamiliar people, unfamiliar animals, new settings, a move to a new home, and any other change that can cause a drastic shift in their normal patterns.

Though most causes of anxiety or fear will pass once the stressor is removed or resolved, some dogs will need veterinary assistance if their anxiety is chronic.

Your Dog Is Excitement

Our canine friends can experience overwhelming happiness and excitement for many reasons.

While some pups will wiggle and whine each time you come home from work, others will tremble and pant with excitement.

If shaking and panting is accompanied by an eager tail wag and a flood of kisses, it’s safe to say that your dog is just beaming with happiness.

Dogs can become so excited that they tremble and pant when you come home after being away, they meet a new person, they meet a new animal, when going on a new adventure, and even eating their favorite snack.

As long as the shaking and panting goes away after their excitement subsides, this is perfectly fine.

Your Dog Is In Pain

Our dog’s can’t tell us when they are in pain, but we can always observe their body language for signs of distress.

Both shaking and panting are a common sign of discomfort in our furry friends, and can tip us off to the fact that they are struggling.

Not only is the pain itself often enough to cause trembling or panting, but so is the anxiety that is often associated with acute or chronic pain.

Shaking and panting are often seen in painful pups, but there are other symptoms to be on the lookout for as well.

Some of the most common signs of pain in dogs include lethargy, weakness, anorexia, hiding away, appearing guarded of certain areas, tense abdomen, rigid stance, and whining.

If your pup is ever displaying signs of pain, we suggest having them seen by your vet as soon as possible.

Your Dog Has GI Upset

GI upset is another potential cause of shaking and panting in dogs.

The feeling of nausea can cause a dog to pant with discomfort, along with the abdominal pain that GI upset can often cause.

Dogs can become more and more uncomfortable as their upset stomach progresses, causing them to tremble in distress.

This can occur with all forms of GI upset, ranging from a pup with diarrhea to a dog that is vomiting.

In addition to panting and shaking, GI upset in dogs can cause:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Whining

If your dog is experiencing any signs of GI upset, we suggest reaching out to your vet for further guidance.

Your Dog Is Having An Allergic Reaction

Has your pup returned from a quick trip outdoors, only to begin trembling and panting?

Maybe they also appear weak and lethargic, causing you to wonder what could possibly be wrong with your beloved pup.

Though not always the case, these symptoms can be a result of an allergic reaction.

Not only can our dogs develop allergic reactions to any crawling critters that can bite or sting them outdoors, they can also have reactions to everything from routine vaccines to dog shampoos.

Other signs of allergic reactions in dogs include:

  • Skin redness
  • Facial swelling
  • Swelling at the site of an insect sting
  • Itching
  • Drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Collapse.

Allergic reactions can be serious when they occur, so we suggest contacting your vet immediately if you fear an allergic reaction in your furry friend.

Your Dog Is Experiencing A Toxicity

Unfortunately, there are many foods, substances, and items that can be toxic to our canine friends.

Anytime our dogs consume something they should not, they increase their chance of experiencing a life threatening toxicity.

Toxicities in dogs can range from anything from human medications to fruit, making it essential to be aware of any potential toxins in your home.

Canine toxicities can impact the body in many ways, with potential toxins causing complications ranging from neurological symptoms to severe GI symptoms.

Because of this, some of the most common symptoms of toxicities in dogs include:

  • Trembling
  • Panting
  • Disorientation
  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Diarrhea
  • Ataxia
  • Weakness
  • Collapse

If your dog has consumed something they should not have, or you think your pup may be experiencing a toxicity, we suggest reaching out to your veterinarian for immediate care.

Your Dog Has Hypoglycemia

The term hypoglycemia refers to low blood sugar in dogs.

Hypoglycemia typically causes extreme weakness and muscle tremors, causing a dog to shake and tremble as their blood glucose drops.

In addition to the trembling a dog can experience, many pups will even pant in distress as well.

Hypoglycemia can occur in a canine friend of any kind, but it is most common in growing puppies and toy breeds.

Other signs of hypoglycemia in dogs include lethargy, weakness, disorientation, twitching, inability to stand up, ataxia, seizures, and collapse.

If you think your dog is experiencing hypoglycemia for any reason, we suggest contacting your vet immediately.

Hypoglycemia is often fatal when left untreated. 

Why Is My Dog Drooling And Panting?

Just as shaking and panting can point to health complications in our canine friends, so can drooling and shaking.

Some dogs will drool and pant without harm after mild exercise, but your pup should return to normal after 15-20 minutes after activity.

If your pup continues to pant and drool, or does so without being active, this can be a sign of underlying complications.

In addition to the complications discussed above, drooling and panting in dogs can occur due to heat stroke, respiratory distress, cardiac conditions, and an array of other conditions that can cause respiratory distress.

If your pup is unable to stop panting and drooling, we suggest contacting your vet immediately.

When Is Shaking And Panting An Emergency In Dogs?

It can be challenging to know when your dog’s panting and shaking is considered a medical emergency.

If your dog’s symptoms are not obviously tied to some form of behavioral response (anxiety, stress, excitement), we suggest reaching out to your vet for guidance.

Some of the factors behind your dog’s symptoms can be life threatening if left untreated, so it’s always best to be safe in these situations.

What To Expect At The Vet

If you take your dog to the vet for panting and shaking, there are a few different routes that your veterinarian may explore.

No matter the details of your dog’s case, you can always expect your veterinarian to gather a history and perform a physical exam.

Your veterinarian will ask you any relevant questions based on their symptoms, as well as obtain their vitals.

Based on the answers received from their exam, they can determine the best diagnostic plan.

The most common diagnostic tools explored for these symptoms are blood tests and radiographs.

This can point to any metabolic issues that present in their blood values, while the x-rays can bring to light any complications with the lungs or heart.

X-rays can also be beneficial if your pup has suffered from any type of trauma.

Based on the results of your dog’s physical exam and diagnostics, your vet can determine the best treatment plan moving forward.

This can include anything from simple at home care to aggressive hospitalization, so it’s best to follow your vet’s guidance based on your pup’s situation.

Final Thoughts

The sudden onset of shaking and panting in our furry friends can cause immediate concern.

Due to the many factors that can lead to these symptoms, we always suggest reaching out to your vet for guidance.

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