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Why is My Staffy Shaking? Reasons for Staffies Shaking and Trembling

Seeing your staffy shaking or trembling can be a worrying experience but is it something you should be concerned about?

In all honesty, it depends. And that is why it is important to be aware of some of the potential causes for a shaking or trembling dog. Sometimes, it can be absolutely normal and nothing to worry about but it could also be a sign that something is wrong with your dog.

Thus article is here to provide you with some information about how you can tell the difference between “normal” shaking and a shaking that could be a symptom of something more serious.

Why do staffies shake

Staffy Shaking vs Seizure

First, we must differentiate between a seizure and simply shaking or trembling since a seizure is obviously a sign that something is not quite as it should be.

During a seizure, your dog would not have control over their own body at all. He or she also won't be able to maintain eye contact with you or respond to you in any way. During a seizure, the shaking tends to be rather violent and is a clear indicator of a problem.

Of course, if your dog has a seizure, you need to be in touch with your vet as soon as you can.

Of course, not all shaking or trembling is a seizure or a sign of ill-health. Below is a list of some of the potential reason why your staffy might be shaking. Knowing these reasons and conditions should give you a better idea of whether or not you need to seek help from your vet if you see your pup shaking.

Common Reasons Why Staffies Shake

cold

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. A very common reason why a dog shivers is simply being cold just like we do. A dog’s body temperature is higher than that of a human but it doesn’t mean they don’t suffer from being cold as well.

When dogs are cold, their body will try to generate some warmth by shivering, much the same as our body does. Being shorter haired, staffies can be more susceptible to the cold weather than other dogs so you should be cautious when walking them for long periods in the colder months. A dog jacket might also be an idea for winter walks.

Anxiety and Fear

If a dog is unsure or frightened, it may begin to tremble. Loud noises like fireworks or thunderstorms are usual causes of fear. Traveling or being in an unusual environment like a new home (shaking is very likely if you’ve just bought a new puppy home) can spark a level of anxiety in dogs, which could bring on shaking.

The shaking can be severe or mild depending on their level of anxiety. Reassuring your staffy by keeping them close to you and cuddling them can help to ease the anxiety.

Over-Excitement

On the contrary to fear and anxiety, your dog can shake out of excitement. Hearing somebody outside, seeing another dog or cat, having their food bowl filled are all occasions where excitement could get the better of your pup and manifest in shaking.

This is down to the anticipation and adrenaline release in their bodies as they get excited. Much like anxiety shakes, you can calm your dog by gently stroking them and distracting from the event that is causing such excitement.

Attention Seeking Ploy

Staffies are clever dogs and are good at recognizing behavioural patterns. A dog may shake or shiver when he knows that this behaviour is likely to garner a response from somebody. It can be to get attention or to remind you he needs to feed.

For example, if a pup has learned that shaking or shivering gets him attention or play time, they will start to shake anytime they feel bored or neglected. This can be a pain and could be difficult to stop. You can start by giving your dog the attention it wants throughout the day so it stops feeling the need to use its’ shaking trick for it.

Check out the video below. This staffy does not like being out on the balcony and has learned that the owner will let him in if he makes himself shake:

Health Problems

Severe pain or illness can cause a staffy to shake. It is essential that you as the owner of the pup try to ascertain what the issue is so you can handle it or get help from someone who can. Sometimes the illness or the severe pain in the dog is going through can cause anxiety which can even causes more shaking or shivering.

Addison disease, kidney failure, white shaker syndrome (more common in small dogs) and inflammatory conditions are all potential causes of shaking or tremors.

When a medical problem is causing shaking and trembling, there will usually be other symptoms as well that you can look out for. Things like eating habits and general behaviour may change and indicate that your dog is unwell. If you notice your dog shaking for seemingly no other reason, have a look for other indications of a medical issue then contact your vet as soon as you can.

Toxic Foods

Some toxins can cause convulsion in animals. Ordinarily, the convulsions can be seen as just shaking and shivering but in actual fact it can be the coming of something much worse. If your dog is shaking and there is a possibility they may have ingested something toxic to dogs (chocolate, xylitol, alcohol etc.), it should be treated as an emergency and a vet visit is crucial.

Fever

Like their human owners, a dog suffering from fever can start shaking and shivering as the body attempts to raise the its internal temperature. If the temperature of your staffy is anywhere close to 106° F or around 41°C then it has fever and you should seek the help of a vet.

If you don’t have a thermometer to hand, other fever signs to look out for include:

  • Nasal discharge and dry nose
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the armpit or groin area
  • Very hot paws and ears
  • Swollen, red gums

Diet Deficiencies

A dietary deficiency in important nutrient requirements can lead to shaking and trembling or shivering.

To protect your pup from this, ensure your feeding your dog a well-rounded diet. You can also keep a closer eye on things by having blood tests performed to display any deficiencies.

Old Age

Just like us humans, when they dogs get older they begin to experience tremors in their joints. This comes as a result of deterioration and weakness. The hips tend to be problem areas for staffies so tremors in the hind legs are quite common in older dogs.

What To Do With a Shaking Staffy?

If you’re staffy is shaking and there is not obvious reason for it to be cold, excited or and it isn’t an old dog with joint weakness, you should consult a vet as soon as you can.

Sometimes (hopefully), the shaking will be no cause for concern but it is always better to be cautious when a dog’s health may be at stake so don’t hang around; see your vet at the first available opportunity.

5 thoughts on “Why is My Staffy Shaking? Reasons for Staffies Shaking and Trembling”

    • Hello, thanks for commenting.

      That is a strange situation and could be caused by a number of things so is tough for me to offer any concrete suggestions, sorry.

      However, I did have a similar experience where a rescue staffy did not shake but was more aggressive towards one family member. It was obvious the dog had been mistreated in the past (possibly by someone with a similar look or demeanour as the individual), which likely accounted for this kind of behaviour.

      It seems like what you need to do is show your staffy that having this person around does not present any danger nor is it a bad experience. Starting off very slowly, you could try to get your dog more used to the person by simply having them in the same area and close by without fussing over the dog.

      Over time, your staffy should get comfortable and approach the person. It’s key for the individual to let the dog approach them instead of forcing him/herself upon the dog. This takes patience. Sitting with some kind of toy or small treat might help encourage the dog to approach and also enhance the fact that being with this person is a good experience in the dog’s eyes.

      This kind of situation can be frustrating and always takes some patience.

      Of course, this is just advice based on personal experiences and research. I’m not a qualified dog behaviourist so you would always be better off seeking a true expert in that field but I hope it at least helps a bit.

      Laine @ Smiling Staffy

      Reply
  1. When I try and put the harness on my dog she jumps and twists her body and squealing out loud anyone would think I was hurting her enemy whilst walking her she does the same for the first 5 min would this be anxieties it’s painful to see her this way how can I stop this from happening.

    Reply
  2. I adopted a two years old staffy, I also have a two-year-old cat, she started shaking when she hard the cat crying to be released from a room upstairs, ears perked up, she started shaking and sat on my lap. is she excited or anxious? she is reactive to cats, they have met many times but only while the dog has been crated.

    Reply
  3. This is helpful but worrying, my dog shaking in his back legs is getting worse, the vet says ligaments just pinging and only surgery can help, it’s both back legs, I’m a terrified Mum for my baby, he is starting to bunny hop like my shepherd when her back legs went, my baby is only 8 we need help, but £8.ooo pounds is out of my price range, we need help hope someone reads this, without him my life is useless.

    Reply

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