What to do when a dog is shaking with fear? It’s a common concern among dog owners. Whoever said that “dogs are our link to paradise,” wasn’t lying as there is no doubt that our furry friends are the most beloved pets on earth.
From eagerly waiting by the door for us to return to wagging their tails gleefully, giving sweet cuddles and slabber kisses, there is no comparison to a dog’s infinite love for their humans. No matter what, our dogs always have our back, showing loyalty to us while also ensuring our safety by guarding and protecting us all the time.
It’s true, “After years of having a dog, you know him. You know the meaning of his snuffs and grunts and barks. Every twitch of the ears is a question or statement, every wag of the tail is an exclamation.” It is a commonly known fact that animals, and especially dogs have a sixth sense.
They sense things quicker and at a higher degree than normal human beings and other living organisms. So, it’s a sad and a mentally distressing experience for both the dog and its owner, when like humans, dogs start sensing fear and anxiety, when a dog’s trembling with fear.
It is a tough and appalling experience but as a pet owner, it’s important to calm your furry companion, to make it feel safe and secure, so, don’t you worry and start wondering what to do when your dog is shaking with fear as we will discuss and identify the source of fear and remedies to get them out of the pain and anguish that they might be facing. Let’s delve into the topic of what to do when a dog is shaking with fear and explore some ways to calm your dog down and make it feel safe and secure during those dreaded moments.
1. Identify the Triggering Point: Loud Noises, Other Symptoms
The first step is to figure out what’s causing your dog to feel fearful. Your pet may become worried or anxious due to a variety of sounds, situations, noises, matter, or things. Some of these worries are genuine and need to be addressed.
Dogs, however, frequently exhibit irrational fear of objects that are not even potentially harmful to them. In reality, some of the most typical canine phobias are loud noises, normal behavior, loud people, other dogs, fireworks, and changes in the weather, like a thunderstorm, powerful lightning, or cloudbursts. Once you know the trigger, you can work on desensitizing your dog to it and make sure that it is feeling safe and sound.
2. What to Do When a Dog is Shaking with Fear?
Once you have analyzed the source of your dog’s fear, whether it’s because of fear or anxiety, cold or low body temperature, pain or discomfort, or it’s because of stress, medical disorders, neurological diseases, or something else, so, there isn’t a simple answer as to what to do when your dog is shaking with fear, but a series of methods might help you comfort them by giving them solace and the bubble of safety. Here are some tips that might prove to be beneficial and efficient in such situations that you must try:
2.1 Create a Safe Space
In the famous and all-time favorite show of many millennials named Stranger Things, the character Eleven finds comfort in a blanket fort that she creates in the basement. Similarly, dogs need a safe space where they can feel protected and secure when they’re feeling scared or traumatized, this is the easiest step that you can take when you don’t know what to do when your dog is shaking with fear.
Dogs often feel more secure when they have a designated area that’s just for them where they can feel secure. This could be a crate or a cozy and comfortable corner of the room. Make sure it’s comfortable and stocked with their favorite toys, treats, and things which please them.
Layering also seems a good option for people who wants to know what to do when a dog is shaking with fear. A blanket or jacket made especially for dogs can make them feel comfortable and protected. It builds something like an invisible protective layer around them inside which they can discover their safe space. Also, it aids in quickening the warming process for the chilling effect that might be one of the causes of their discomfort.
2.2 Use Positive Reinforcement
As Detective Jake Peralta from Brooklyn Nine-Nine once said, “Gina, dogs are highly attuned to human emotions. It’s why they’re our best friends. But if we’re acting fearful or anxious around them, they’re gonna pick up on that and get scared themselves.” So, try showing your dog some love. Sometimes all your dog needs are your attention to calm them down. The tremors might stop if you walk them, sit with them, and play with them.
When your dog is feeling anxious, it’s important to provide them with positive reinforcement. This could be in the form of treats, praise, or affection. By doing so, you’re reinforcing good behavior and helping your dog associate positive experiences with the trigger.
2.3 Consider Calming Aids
As Caesar Milan, the famous dog behaviorist, once said, “Rewarding dogs for good behavior is like catching someone doing something right. It feels good for both parties involved.” You should maintain a calm, composed, and reassuring tone of voice to help your dog feel relaxed. You could offer gentle touches or patting and try avoiding any sudden or rough movements or loud noises that might startle and scare your pet.
There are a variety of products available that can help calm your dog when they’re feeling a bit anxious. These include pheromone sprays that mimic or imitate the scent of a mother dog and can help to soothe your anxious pets in times of distress. You can try herbal remedies and natural supplements as well that can help to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety while eliminating any associated side effects of the chemical substances usually used as the primary ingredients of such products.
In the movie Secret Life of Pets, the character Max wears an anxiety vest to help calm him down and compose his mental entropy during a stressful and dreadful situation.
While it is a fictional movie, anxiety vests can be helpful in real-life situations too! So, anxiety vests, and calming treats can be one of the right ways to traverse. You can even consult with your veterinarian to see which option is best for your dog.
You can try swaddling, just the way you would swaddle a newborn baby. You can also wrap your furry dog in a blanket. Your dog may find comfort in the steady and mild pressure that is applied during this process.
Music is a great source for destressing in times of distress. They often provide an escape for us when things around us get overwhelmed.
This remedy which we humans use for our own recreation can also prove to be an effective solution for releasing the stress and anxiety of our dogs. Listed below are a few measures to keep in mind while playing music to calm your dog down:
- Since the hearing senses of dogs is approximately four times more sensitive and stronger than humans, make sure that the volume of the track is kept somewhere between the low and moderate scale.
- Train your pet dog to listen to music for calming its senses down from a very young age. This will make the dog accustomed to the soothing sound of slow and melodious tracks.
- Experiment with all sorts of genres and keep switching them periodically to understand their taste and the most effective and efficient solution to calm them down while also getting a rough idea of their reaction to each genre individually.
- Once you find out their taste, try keeping the ambience around them such that they adapt to it quickly without much ado and hustle.
- Never leave your dog alone at home with music being played around its ears. Always play tracks when you are around your dog so that your dog doesn’t begin to associate the tunes with the omen of you being absent or away from it. For if they do so, it will shoot up their stress level instead of calming or soothing them.
2.4 Recognizing Symptoms of Fear and Anxiety in Dogs
Fear or anxiety may make your dog shiver or display other symptoms such as tucked tails, flattened ears, and crouching.
It is also possible for them to exhibit excessive panting, pacing, and clinging to their owner during this time. To prevent further distress, trauma, or medical issues, watch out for these signs and address them promptly.
2.5 Consulting with a Veterinarian
If your dog’s shaking persists or is accompanied by other symptoms, it’s essential to consult with your veterinarian. From their expertise, they can help determine the underlying cause and develop a treatment plan with proper medication catering to the needs of your dog if necessary.
In some cases, medication may be necessary to help manage your dog’s anxiety. However, this should always be prescribed by a veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist and used in conjunction with behavioral training and other therapies.
2.6 Working with a Professional Dog Trainer
In addition to teaching your dog specific behaviors and traits that can help it calm down and make it feel more comfortable, an important tip in what to do when a dog is shaking with fear, a professional dog trainer can come into the picture as well, as he can help you develop a plan for preventing future episodes of shaking or trembling.
2.7 Medical Conditions that Cause Shaking in Dogs
Occasionally, shaking and trembling in dogs can be a sign of a more serious and daunting medical condition. If you notice any of the following symptoms, you should seek veterinary attention right away.
2.7.1 Seizure Disorders
Trauma, toxic exposure, brain tumors, genetic abnormalities, problems with the dog’s blood or organs, as well as a number of other factors, can all result in seizures. Idiopathic seizures, on the other hand, are those that sometimes happen for no apparent reason.
2.7.2 Generalized Tremor Syndrome (GTS)
A dog suffering from shaker syndrome will tremble from head to tail in general, and more specifically the pulsations will be felt throughout their body. Other names to refer to the above-mentioned syndrome are idiopathic cerebellitis, or steroid-responsive tremors.
2.7.3 Head Shaking or Tilting Muscle Weakness or Stiffness
Some breeds are more prone to this ailment than others, and it typically affects puppies or small dogs and older dogs more frequently.
2.7.4. Ear Infection
Dogs frequently suffer from this medical condition as it causes them painful ear infections, especially those with floppy or hairy ears.
2.7.5 Kidney Disease
A major issue that can damage a dog’s quality and duration of life is kidney disease. It can cause low blood sugar levels, weight loss, and lethargy.
2.7.6 Canine Distemper
The gastrointestinal, respiratory, skin, and immunological, are all impacted by canine distemper. Dog’s nervous system is also heavily affected by canine distemper. The initial symptom of the above-mentioned disease is watery to pus-like discharge from their eyes. The initial symptom might be followed by several other effects, inter alia, nasal discharge, fever, coughing, lethargy, reduced appetite, and vomiting being some of them.
As the famous quote goes, “Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.” Ultimately, seeing your dog shaking with fear is painful, but by following the above-mentioned steps, you can help them feel safe and secure, even when you don’t know what to do when the dog is shaking with fear. By identifying and analyzing the trigger that causes them to tremble, you can try creating a safe space, by using positive reinforcement and considering calming aids. You can help your furry friend overcome their fear and anxiety by talking to them calmly.
Music, as mentioned above, can also come in handy to provide solace amidst an array of overwhelming factors for your dog. And lastly, if all the soft measures don’t succeed to meet the objective of what to do when a dog is shaking with fear, there is always the option to go for professional guidance. Veterinarians and other professionals in the concerned field are readily available and there’s no harm in contacting them for immediate remedy and medication.
Follow the steps mentioned above and be the best friend to your most loyal partner. These were some of the tips you can follow when you have no idea what to do when a dog is shaking with fear. If you want to know some pawsome facts about your furry friend, do check out this story as well Fun Facts About Dogs: The Best 25 Of Our Most Loyal Friends (icytales.com).
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