Bichon Frise Shaking: All You Need to Know

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Bichon Frise ShakingWhen your bichon frise begins to tremble, shake or shiver, as a loving dog parent, you might be a tad concerned. Fret not! More often than not, the reasons why your beloved pooch is all-a-shiver is not as serious as you think.

Involuntary shakes, or tremors, can be fast and violent, or gradual and gentle. They can occur throughout the body, or be localized in one area like the head or chest. In this blog post, we’ll look at why your dog has the shakes and the possible reasons for it.

Is Your Bichon Frise’s Shaking a Medical Issue?

Although some reasons for having the shakes can be medical, it is more than often not a medical issue. Shaking looks exactly like it sounds. Body parts, or the entire body, move swiftly in opposite directions in a series of involuntary and repetitive muscle contractions. Shakes are also called tremors, or twitches.

Seizures, on the other hand, can sometimes look like the shakes too. If a dog is having a seizure, it will collapse, jerking around and stiffening. All the muscles will be twitching, and this scary sight is accompanied by drooling, biting their tongue, or foaming at the mouth. Dogs that fall to the side may make swimming or paddling motions with their legs and some might even lose control of their bowel movements and empty them. Poor them.

Seizures are a medical condition and you’ll need the vet immediately.

Reasons Your Bichon Frise Could Be Shaking

There are many reasons why your bichon frise has the shakes, and they can be broken up into roughly three categories.

Environmental

Shaking might be a direct response to being cold, wet, or both! If your bichon isn’t showing any behavioral stress or doesn’t appear to be sick, poochie might simply be cold. Bichons aren’t that great with cold weather, and when it’s cold out, dogs shiver the same way humans do.

It’s worth investing in a coat or booties if you live in a particularly chilly climate and have a bichon frise. Long duration of exposure to cold can cause hypothermia in a dog in severe circumstances.

Behavioral

If your pooch is nice and toasty, and still has the shakes, it is more than likely it is behavioral.

Scared

Ever got that chill down your spine and involuntarily shiver? Or if you’re unlucky enough to have been absolutely terrified, you know what your pup is going through. Something, somewhere, is scaring the bejeezus out of him. Look around real quick for any possible causes of why your precious bichon frise is terrified and of course, eliminate the source of the stress or remove yourself from the situation.

Anxiety

Being anxious isn’t being scared, but it’s pretty damn close and could escalate into it. While some dogs are naturally anxious, think about what your dog might be stressed about. For example, if the shaking starts when you pick him up, he might well be afraid of heights. Anxiety is prevalent in many dogs, especially when big environmental changes occur.

Bichon frise is also prone to separation anxiety.

Excitement

Yay! This is the fun one. Your bichon is just happy to see you, or excited about getting a treat! Maybe Fido spotted something cool on a walk, or you have just grabbed the leash and they know what’s coming.

Dogs that are super excited can have the shakes, just their body’s involuntary way of releasing excess energy. Let them do it! They’ll shake away then calm down. If this is a behavior that you want to stop, then simply ignore them until the shaking stops, then treat and give them a bunch of attention.

Medical

Unfortunately, while rare, shaking sometimes happens because of a medical condition, ranging from mild to severe. Here are some of them.

Generalized Tremor Syndrome

Steroid responsive tremors and shaker syndrome are other names for Generalized Tremor Syndrome. Tremors that are repetitive, rhythmic, and uncontrollable tend to be a result of this condition. It might be localized to a single part of the body or spread over the entire body.

GTS has an unclear etiology, but it is assumed to be autoimmune. It’s a ‘diagnostic of exclusion,’ which means your bichon’s veterinarian will rule out all other options before making the diagnosis.

Distemper

This serious condition affects many puppies and young dogs that have been improperly vaccinated. Bichons frises’ neurological, digestive, and respiratory systems are all affected.

Distemper is characterized by shaking and shivering, as well as other symptoms like:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Appetite slowed
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Discharge of tears from the eyes
  • Lethargy

Contact your veterinarian right away if you fear your dog has canine distemper. It is a severe condition that often leads to a fatality.

Nausea

Nausea can be a sign of a variety of different problems like:

  • Kidney disease
  • Suffering from motion sickness
  • Hepatitis
  • A medication’s side effect
  • Ingesting a harmful chemical

The following symptoms indicate nausea in addition to shaking:

  • Vomiting a lot
  • Swallowing a lot
  • Lip-smacking
  • Salivating and drooling

Poisoning

Food toxicity is extremely common in dogs. Many common human foods like onion and garlic are toxic to bichons frises and other dogs. They get into everything! Keep medications, cabinets, and the trash bin way out of your bichon’s reach. We don’t want Fido to be getting into that chocolate bar and making himself sick.

While poisoning symptoms vary, tremors and seizures are two of the most common ones. If you suspect your bichon has consumed a poisonous substance, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Summary

Having the shakes is more common than you think. Some dogs are naturally twitchy, and shake all the time! Most of the time, it is a completely harmless behavior and a way of your dog to express his emotions.

It is unnecessary to stop it, or to try and correct the behavior. More often than not, the shaking comes from environmental or behavioral reasons. If your dog is scared by a legitimate reason like fireworks, comfort him and allow him to find a safe place to hide, and stay with him.

Of course, if the problem is medical, seek help immediately. Some conditions can be treated easily and quickly but will worsen if left unchecked.