What Causes Trembling & Fatigue in Dogs?

A fatigued pup might require a little medicine to re-energize.
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Unless your dog's old, he's meant to cruise around your house and yard, show his toy duck who's boss and lay around only when he's completely spent. A few annoying medical conditions can cause fatigue and trembling. Consult your vet to get a proper diagnosis and fix him right up.

Upset Stomach

Sometimes a pup doesn't feel well on account of a bothersome stomach. While trembling might be a little unlikely for a belly ache in all but the smallest dogs, many dogs can't help but shake a little while lying around the house and waiting for their stomach to return to normal. Nausea can rear its ugly head of foam when your pup stuffs his stomach to the max or when he eats something that doesn't agree with him. If he ingested something dangerous, such as a pesticide, or vomits frequently, vomits blood, has bloody stool or refuses to drink or eat, call your vet right away.

Old Age

Older dogs have seen it all, and they simply don't have the energy or desire to blaze through the house anymore. They enjoy lying around, soaking up the sun and taking in their senior years lazily, so it's normal for older dogs to appear fatigued when they simply have less energy than they used to. They also have more trouble regulating body temperature and sometimes develop harmless tremors, either of which can account for trembling. Making sure your dog has a coat on when outside and a warm spot to sleep in will go a long way. Arthritis, commonly seen in senior canines, can also contribute to fatigue and shaking, but your vet can lessen your pup's suffering with a bit of medication.


If your dog has recently suffered an injury or come out of surgery, infections are a real possibility. Nasty bacteria or fungi can converge to take advantage of open wounds unless antibiotics are prescribed and the area is cleaned daily. Infections will slow your little guy down, causing him to become fatigued, and in later stages the infection can even cause trembling. But an infection isn't without other symptoms, which usually include a nasty smell, seeping fluid and tenderness. Infected wounds are also sometimes crusty. Your vet can help knock the dangerous infection out of commission.


Whether your pup sliced open his paw on glass or injured his leg while leaping off your bed, even a little trauma can shut down your pup's next few days. If he's in a lot of pain, he may shake, especially around the area of his body where the trauma occurred or around his face. Depending on the severity, your vet may need send him home with a few pain pills.

Disease, Virus or Autoimmune Disorder

From canine distemper to autoimmune hemolytic anemia, diseases and viruses and autoimmune disorders often cause trembling, fatigue and a slew of other symptoms. Although viruses in the canine world are often thought of as deadly, you can prevent many by taking your little guy to the vet and getting all of his needed vaccinations. Autoimmune disorders and diseases sometimes pop up out of nowhere, but they almost always have other symptoms aside from trembling and fatigue. If other symptoms are present, such as vomiting, abnormal eating patterns, skin discoloration or incontinence, talk to your vet right away.

Organ Conditions

Your pup's organs can find themselves in plenty of trouble caused by a number of issues, such as something he ate or complications that arise at old age. Fatigue and the shakes almost always accompany organ problems, but a long list of other symptoms is usually noticeable, too, like vomiting, diarrhea, bad teeth and internal bleeding. An organ disorder as the cause of fatigue and trembling is on the far side of the spectrum, and isn't as common as other medical problems, such as nausea or arthritis. But it does reinforce the need to see your vet to err on the side of caution.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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