Why Is My Yorkie Shaking? (Common Causes and Fixes)
Often shaking in dogs isn’t a cause for concern, but if your pup has been exhibiting this behavior more than usual, it may be time to look into the issue.
Have you ever wondered, “why is my Yorkie shaking?” In this article, I explore common causes of shaking and how to fix it.
What Is Shaking in Dogs?
Shaking can be defined as tremors that affect your dog’s whole body. This behavior isn’t the same shaking a dog does to dry off after a bath – full-body, tremor-like shaking indicates either the dog is in distress or responding to environmental stimuli.
The problem, of course, is that our beloved pups can’t speak or explain to us what’s causing the shaking. We have to rely on their body language and physical cues to decipher what they’re trying to communicate.
In general, there are two types of shaking in dogs: medical or physical and behavioral. Shaking from a medical or physical problem is often related to a health issue, while behavioral shaking is the dog’s physiological response to environmental stimuli. All dogs are prone to shaking, and Yorkies are no exception.
Common Causes of Shaking in Dogs
Here are a few common causes of shaking in all breeds.
I’ll start with the most benign cause of shaking in dogs, including Yorkies: excitement. Some dogs are so happy to see us that they cannot contain their joy and start shaking. This one is pretty easy to rule out if your dog shows other signs of happiness, like a wagging tail.
Anxiety or Stress
Stress is one of the most common reasons dogs, including Yorkies, shake. Stress can be from many situations, including:
- A visit to the vet
- Separation anxiety
- New environments
In addition to whimpering, crying, loss of appetite, excessive panting, lethargy, and strange behavior, dogs may shake when in significant pain.
If dogs eat poisonous or toxic substances like chocolate, garlic, onion, grapes, xylitol, or human medications, they may have full-body shaking or tremors.
Common Causes of Shaking in Yorkies
Are you still asking, “why is my Yorkie shaking?” In addition to the above common causes of shaking in all dogs, Yorkies, like other small-breed dogs, including Chihuahuas, Poodles, and Jack Russell Terriers, are prone to several conditions that cause shaking.
Unlike many dogs with an overcoat and undercoat, Yorkies are a single-coat breed. They also have hair instead of fur. These factors make them prone to temperature regulation issues, especially staying warm.
Yorkies may shake when exposed to cold environments or after a bath. Shaking is a physiological mechanism to warm the body.
Low blood sugar, or sudden changes in blood sugar, can cause shaking in Yorkies. Small breed dogs like Yorkies are especially susceptible to this condition, and it can be fatal if left untreated.
Hypoglycemia may be related to genetics or a temporary disorder from significant environmental changes.
Yorkies have a larger-than-life personality, but they’re not fearless! Anything from meeting new people, new environments, loud noises like fireworks, separation anxiety, or being held in the air can scare them and cause shaking.
Uncommon Causes of Shaking
Several other conditions may cause shaking in Yorkies. These are not the most common causes, but it’s helpful to be aware of them.
Distemper is one of the most serious and preventable canine diseases. Veterinarians consider it one of the core diseases to vaccinate dogs for, in addition to rabies and parvovirus. A Yorkie infected with distemper may experience full-body shaking.
Like hypoglycemia, hypokalemia is metabolic dysfunction. Dogs with hypokalemia have low potassium levels in the blood. The disorder can cause muscle trembling and seizures that resemble shaking.
Addison’s Disease is a serious endocrine disease that can cause shaking in dogs. Other symptoms include:
- Weight loss
- Irregular heart rate
- Painful abdomen
Generalized Tremor Syndrome
Generalized Tremor Syndrome (GTS) causes full-body shaking in dogs. Veterinarians don’t know what causes it, but they typically treat dogs with corticosteroids.
Seizure or Shaking?
Seizures, a symptom of epilepsy, can look like twitching or uncontrollable shaking. Electrical activity disturbances in the brain cause seizures. Dogs experiencing seizures may:
- Collapse on their sides
- Have uncontrollable urination
- Lose consciousness
If your dog is experiencing the above symptoms, consult your veterinarian.
How To Treat Shaking in Yorkies?
The first step in treating shaking in Yorkies is identifying the cause. For environmental-induced shaking, this should be relatively easy.
Are there loud noises in your neighborhood? Is your Yorkie wet or cold?
For example, Yorkies shaking after a bath are likely experiencing temperature regulation issues – they are just cold! Yorkie owners should make the bathing conditions comfortable, with water temperature between 70 and 80 degrees, wrap them in a towel and dry them as soon as possible.
Yorkies shaking after being outside in the winter need some time to warm up, and this is especially true for senior dogs and puppies. It may be helpful to dress your Yorkie in a sweater or jacket when outside during the colder months.
If your Yorkie is shaking because of an obvious environmental stimulus, try to remove your pup from that environment. Otherwise, try to comfort your Yorkie using the following techniques.
Place your hand on your Yorkie’s shoulder, hold them still, and don’t make eye contact. You can speak in a soothing tone while holding your hand on them.
Rub Their Stop Area
The stop area is the bridge of the muzzle between their eyes. Rubbing here might release endorphins and soothe your Yorkie.
Use Calming Pheromones or Chew Toys
Pheromones are colorless and odorless chemical signals that can promote a soothing effect. Companies make several products with calming pheromones, including collars, sprays, and diffusers.
You can also try distracting your dog using their favorite chew toys. If your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, giving them a toy that stimulates their brain may help reduce their symptoms.
When To Contact a Veterinarian?
Any new, unusual, or prolonged shaking that doesn’t quickly subside indicates it’s time to call the vet. Here are some additional questions to ask:
- Did your Yorkie eat something they’re not supposed to? The shaking could be a sign of poisoning.
- Is shaking the only symptom, or are there other signs of distress, like whimpering, crying, excessive licking, or loss of appetite? Your Yorkie could be in severe pain.
- Is the shaking occurring despite a warm, dry, and comfortable environment? The shaking may be indicative of an underlying health condition, like hypoglycemia.
Medical conditions that cause shaking, like metabolic dysfunctions or severe pain, might require medication. Veterinarians will write prescriptions for these medications, which aren’t over-the-counter drugs.
If your Yorkie experiences a hypoglycemic episode at home, the standard treatment is glucose ingestion. But severe cases of hypoglycemia might require an intravenous dextrose solution.
For dogs in pain, your vet might prescribe a pain-reducing medication, such as a muscle relaxer, or medication to target nerve pain. For cases of severe or chronic pain, your vet may prescribe powerful drugs like opioids or steroids.
Hopefully, you now know the answer to “why is my Yorkie shaking?” Shaking is a common condition in all dogs, including Yorkies. However, that doesn’t make it any less heartbreaking to see our pups in distress. Shaking in Yorkies may be benign and temporary, or it may indicate a more serious underlying health issue.
Yorkie owners should use discretion and first try to identify the cause of the shaking, especially since this breed is susceptible to temperature regulation issues, hypoglycemia, and anxiety.
Some types of shaking are temporary and will quickly subside, like a cold Yorkie that was just playing in the snow or a wet Yorkie after a bath. If your Yorkie is shaking after your town’s Fourth of July fireworks, he may just need some TLC and comfort.
And if your Yorkie is shaking with excitement after you come home from a long day in the office, get down on the ground, sop up those wet kisses, and give him a treat!
Always lean on the side of caution and contact your veterinarian if your Yorkie is experiencing any new, unusual, or prolonged shaking that isn’t easily explained by environmental factors.