Why Is My Dog Trembling And Can’t Walk?

By Ameera Mills. Updated: September 2, 2018
Why Is My Dog Trembling And Can’t Walk?

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There are several causes that can result in tremors and mobility problems in dogs. When establishing a diagnosis for this, it is important that to take into account if the tremors are occurring during a resting period or movement. These tremors may be due to cerebellar disorders, such as those that occur in poisoning. Some may also be localized rather than generalized, such as those that occur in the hind legs due to old age. In this AnimalWised article we are going to review the most common reasons explaining why your dog is trembling and cannot walk.

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Causes of generalized tremors and in-coordination in dogs

Tremors are involuntary and pathological movements that occur throughout the body or in one specific area. Generally, a dog suffers from trembles and lack of co-ordination when, in addition to the tremors, muscle weakness, or even paralysis occurs. This weakness then prevents the proper movement of our animal. Generalized tremors happen when the whole body is involved, the most common causes of this are:

  • Encephalitis or brain inflammation: this brain involvement can originate from several places, and perhaps the best known is cause is canine distemper. This canine distemper results in a dog convulsing, walking in an uncoordinated way, suffering from behavioral changes (increase in aggressiveness) and experiencing increased fever. If not treated quickly, a dog suffering from this disease can end up in a comatose state. Dogs that do recover from this disease may be left with permanent neurological sequelae and may suffer from epilepsy.
  • Poisoning: there are many toxins that can cause tremors and difficulties in movement. The clinical case will depend on the ingested substance. Some of the symptoms that can occur include;
  1. vomiting
  2. weakness
  3. spasms
  4. convulsions
  5. uncoordinated gait
  6. nervousness
  7. hypersalivation
  8. wobble
  9. agitated breathing
  10. diarrhea
  11. abdominal pain
  12. paralysis
  13. coma.

The prognosis will depend on the toxin, size of the dog, and the amount ingested.

  • Multiple congenital, metabolic and nervous system diseases: these disorders are characterized by weakness and instability, which makes walking difficult, and in some cases, uncoordinated. They can also appear as tremors. In this case veterinary diagnosis and treatment is required and prognosis will depend-

If your dog trembles and falls, it is most likely due to one of the above problems, so it is essential that you go to the veterinarian as soon as possible. A vet will be able to find the cause of the problem and treat it accordingly. In many cases, an early diagnosis means the difference between life and death.

Why Is My Dog Trembling And Can’t Walk? - Causes of generalized tremors and in-coordination in dogs

Causes of tremors and walking difficulties in dogs

These tremors are normally located in a certain part of the body, in the case, it will mainly be the hind legs that are affected. This targeting hinders mobility and will explain why your dog is trembling, falling and cannot hold itself up normally. These symptom is more common in older dogs.

An example of this is cognitive dysfunction, a syndrome which can affect dogs over 10 years old and includes the deterioration of their mental faculties. Thus, dogs that suffer from this may seem:

  • disoriented
  • confused
  • unresponsive
  • sleep a lot during the day and not much at night
  • lethargic
  • walk around in circles
  • suffer tremors
  • stiff or weakness
  • an uncontrollable sphincter

We suggest visiting a veterinarian who can arrive at a diagnosis and treat the animal accordingly.

It is important to remember that with age there are many dogs that suffer from osteoarthritis, a disorder, due caused by pain, which results in trembling and lack of walking. The exhausted muscle will naturally tremble as it fights the urge to move. There are medications that can relieve this pain, however this disease is not curable or preventable. It is also advisable that a dog with this disease exercises moderately, maintains a controlled diet and is offered an adequate, comfortable and warm resting place.

Lastly, a dog can also tremble and not want to move due to trauma caused by a blow or accident. As with the previous cases, it is pain that prevents the animal from making any movement, so it is very important to try and locate the damaged limb or body part and visit a veterinarian.

What to do if your dog trembles a lot and cannot walk?

Since the causes that justify these tremors and moving difficulty are varied, the best thing is to go to the veterinarian as soon as possible. In addition, it is advisable to try and examine your animal to check if these tremors are general or localized and, in case of repeated occurrence, to check for any existence of a wound, inflammation or any anomaly that you could discuss with a specialist.

Why Is My Dog Trembling And Can’t Walk? - What to do if your dog trembles a lot and cannot walk?

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Why Is My Dog Trembling And Can’t Walk?, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.

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Our 5 year old yorkie, just today all of a sudden she was trying to walk and could control behind legs, then she started to shack her whole body uncontrolably. sha was fully awake, her eyes where dileted. after 4 minutes it stopped a bit and then she vomited. she was get to her normal self, but after 5 minutes she started again. we took her to the vet then just recomended to see a specialist nuro.. now it just a wait and see . we live here in south america and the cost here is pretty high for everthing.
Esther Baca
thank you, the article was very informative, going make an appt for my dog to see the vet.
My 13 yr shisu female all of sudden is having trouble walking, seems issues with right hip an is very lethargic a seem to be trembleing.
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Marilyn,

13 years of age means your dog is definitely considered a senior dog. The years will naturally wear down joints, affect gait and generally your dog will experience certain levels of degeneration. Take them to a veterinarian in case there is something specific and also ask about what care measures to take. They may benefit from a dietary change as well as changes to their exercise routines.
I’m worried as every time we say anything a little bit loud or say my sons name our dog goes out the room and then when we find her she’s shaking/trembling. What should I do
My 5-year-old poodle suddenly started shaking hard and could not stand or walk. Within 20 seconds he attempted to walk, but one side of his body couldn't. In the following 10 seconds, he regained all control. He never got upset or cried. What is this?
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Ray,

We cannot give you an answer. While the article provides possible reasons why your dog may be trembling, only a qualified veterinarian will have the diagnostic abilities to determine the problem. Please visit one so a diagnosis can be confirmed and treatment can begin if necessary.
judy long
our dogs is having terrible shaking and dry unstable. She shaking profusely and we can't calm her down. really hassling. Have her in bath tub. she is not trembling her body and legs just go to shaking. She had been outside running squrriels and riding golf cart. she came in and laid down and starting this.
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Judy,

You need to take your dog to a vet. There are many reasons why your dog may be trembling, some of which are life threatening. They could have been poisoned, stung, be in an accident or even contracted an infectious disease. You won't know until you have an accurate diagnosis and that means going to the vet. The sooner they are treated, the better the prognosis.
Emma just one day decided that she just wants to stay on her bed. At first there were trembles they are gone now. She will get up when she has to to go outside to do her duties, I watch her and she seems fine. then she runs back to her bed and lies down. She does not want to get in the car or go anywhere which is not like her. She seems very insecure. I took her to the vet we took ex rays, not much came of this. Maybe a little arthritis. She is six years old a large dog. But she was at the park with me and suddenly she was walking fast to the car so she could get in her dog bed. When she got home she got out of the car and went right to her dog bed in the house and does not want to leave it.
Puppy is 9 months old she ate yesterday but next day would not eat and is shaking and can t move back legs will drink water but can't move nine legs eyes look good no wounds found on body no ticks or fleas on her want eat food today just drinking water can't stand up on hind legs
Can I ask you a question? Does she sometimes wake up from a heavy sleep and start shaking really bad? My dog is doing the same thing as yours. If you got answers I would love to hear your input on this.
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