As a pet parent, it’s normal to get frightened when you notice something unusual going on with your dog. It’s worse when your canine is just a pup. Your mind starts to race, and you begin to recall all the conditions that you’ve seen on Dr. Pol, hoping you’d remember a similar case and how it was treated. Been there, done that.
It’s hard to keep calm when you suddenly notice your puppy’s leg (or legs) shaking. That little guy could simply be excited that his favorite human is back from work, or worse, your baby could have ingested something he shouldn’t have. Many things can cause your pup’s trembling legs. It could be a result of hypothermia, anxiety, excitement, neurological disorders, electrolyte imbalance, poisoning, and so much more.
Is this leg shaking incidental or a symptom? What can you do to make your little one recover? Is your fur kid learning how to walk, having a panic attack, or reacting to a vaccine he just got? Keep reading if you’d like to learn more about leg tremors, their causes, and how to help your shaking pup.
Is It Normal for A Puppy’s Leg/legs to Shake?
The answer to this question depends on a host of circumstances. Is it one limb or both limbs? Is it the front or hind limb? Does this quivering last for only a few moments or an extended period?
Before you assume your puppy has some terrible neurodegenerative disease, know that sometimes puppy leg tremors are normal. Your little one might just be getting comfortable with his legs and will outgrow the shaking as he gets confident with movement. In other cases, your dog could be cold, excited, or scared. In all these instances, your dog’s leg tremors are completely normal, so it’s not a big deal.
On the other hand, these involuntary leg tremors could indicate pain, electrolyte imbalance, neurological disorders, a vaccine reaction, or muscle weakness. Luckily, we can rule out geriatric conditions like osteoarthritis, cognitive dysfunction, and intervertebral disc disease. Dog leg tremors could be due to a variety of issues, so if your pup is showing other abnormal symptoms, take him to the vet. Have your antenna up for unusual signs like difficulty walking, bumping into furniture, low energy, whimpering, and loss of appetite.
Why would a puppy’s leg/legs shake while sitting?
While sitting, you’d expect that your dog’s legs would be at rest. This isn’t always the case, though, and it is a source of worry for many pet parents. There are many reasons why your sitting pup could have quivering limbs. These reasons can be grouped generally into normal and abnormal reasons.
In most cases, a seated dog with leg tremors is dealing with heightened emotions. If your dog is expecting treats or has a loved human visiting and wants attention, you can expect a lot of tail wagging and leg shaking. Also, when your pup is stressed or anxious, don’t be surprised to see its legs trembling. However, if you ever doubt the normalcy of your pet’s limb vibrations, it is best to reach out to a veterinarian for a physical examination to help put your mind at ease.
The most common “abnormal” cause of leg tremors is pain. Elbow dysplasia, a condition that causes elbow bones to grow abnormally, is one of the common causes of shaking while sitting in puppies. It can be particularly painful for these little guys and comes along with inflammation, making them very uncomfortable. Low blood sugar in diabetic dogs, illnesses like canine distemper, poisoning, Addison’s disease, hypothermia, and many other reasons can cause leg tremors in pups.
Why Would My Puppy’s Leg/legs Shake While Standing?
Your pet just stood up, and you’ve noticed that he is having difficulty walking and his legs are shaking. As a caring pup parent, it’s only normal that you’d be alarmed and worried. Just like any other situation, the first step to fixing this issue is discovering the root cause. Let’s take a closer look at why your standing pup has its legs quivering.
If your pup is a chunky one, your dog’s bones might be growing faster than its tendons, so you might see some wobbling and leg shaking. This will even out as your pup develops. Neurologic disorders can cause involuntary muscle trembling as well. Spinal diseases are the most common canine neurological disorders.
If your pup belongs to small white breeds such as West Highland Terriers, Malteses, and Poodles, you may have recognized the early signs of white dog shaker syndrome. Other reasons for these leg tremors could be pain, hip dysplasia, injury, anesthesia recovery, shaking puppy syndrome, diabetes, an overdose of certain medications, and electrolyte imbalance. Just as we discussed above, excitement, anxiety, and cold weather could also cause your dog’s tremors. As you can see, there are many possible causes of shaking legs in a pup, so the best thing is to see a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis.
Does It Make a Difference if It’s My Puppy’s Front or Back Leg/legs Shaking?
Although shaking in either of the limbs will definitely frighten a dog parent, it’s important to note whether it is the front or hind limb. Knowing which limb is affected will narrow down the possible tremor causes. For example, if your dog has front limb tremors, you know that it isn’t due to a bladder infection.
More than just noting whether it is the front or the back legs affected, you should also note if it is only one limb or both. In the case of only one limb shaking, the first thing you should do is check for injury to that limb. Dogs are experts at enduring pain, so it might take a while to discover a leg injury. Ask other questions like “Is the condition better with activity or worse?” or “Is it leg shaking, weakness, or both?”
Despite the legs that shake, the most important thing is to note the symptoms and relay them to your veterinarian. You should also take your pup to the vet clinic for an X-ray or other diagnostic tests. Arm yourself with a list of observed information and relay them to the doctor. It is paramount to discover the origin of these tremors and get your pup’s legs working normally once again.
Should I Be Concerned if My Puppy’s Leg/legs Are Shaking?
Yes, yes, and yes! You should be concerned if anything unusual is happening to your pet. Granted, it might not be anything serious, and your pooch might just be delighted or anxious. However, leg tremors could be a symptom of a significant health issue and should not be disregarded.
If these leg shaking troubles affect your companion’s ability to walk, stand still, sit down or stand up after lying down, see your vet. You don’t want anything to complicate your pet’s ability to move and grow at a healthy pace. Leg quivering is one of the signs of caffeine ingestion as well, so you must keep a close eye on your pup.
After examining the condition for a day or two, you should be able to tell whether the leg quivering is due to normal conditions like emotions and cold or abnormal causes like illness and injury. If this problem persists or these isolated leg tremors begin to progress to generalized tremors, quickly reach out to the right medical professional. It is never the wrong idea to talk to your vet.
What Should I Do if My Puppy’s Leg/legs Are Shaking?
If your puppy’s legs are shaking, analyze the situation. Is there something making your pup anxious or very happy? Did your pup just get in after staying out in the cold for a while? Is your little one injured or showing signs of pain?
Try to calm your dog down by cuddling and stroking his fur. If you find that something is making your pooch anxious or cold, eliminate the anxiety trigger and wrap your baby up. Analyze the shaking leg/legs for any sign of trauma. If all else fails, look out for other symptoms like vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, etc.
The only way to stop your little fur kid’s legs from shaking is to identify the root cause of this symptom. Your dog’s weight can also play a big role in its leg quivering, so be sure that your pup is a healthy weight during this time. Since shaking limbs can indicate several conditions, you should visit your veterinarian. Your vet will run all the necessary tests, and once you get a diagnosis, you can take the next step towards getting your pup’s leg (and body) healthy.
If you notice your dog’s legs shaking, take action by reaching out to your veterinarian. This way, you can get a clear diagnosis and start your dog on the required treatment journey to make a full recovery. Treatment could involve medication, a change in diet, specific exercises to help with movement, toxin removal, and even surgery.