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Why is my dog shaking and drooling?

You are relaxing with your dog, and you notice they are shaking and drooling. You are concerned, and wondering if there’s something wrong. If your dog is shaking and drooling, it’s concerning. It can be caused by a number of conditions that require veterinary care. 

Why is my dog shaking and drooling?

Your dog might be shaking and drooling for several reasons. It can be caused by something relatively simple, like nausea, or something much more serious. 


One of the serious potential causes of shaking and drooling is distemper. Dogs are typically vaccinated against the disease. However, puppies younger than 4 months old and unvaccinated dogs are at a risk of getting distemper. 

The first symptom of distemper is discharge from the eyes. Then, they will develop fever, coughing, lethargy, reduced appetite, nasal discharge, and vomiting. 

The virus will attack the nervous system next. This causes muscle twitches, convulsions, seizures, and eventual paralysis. It also causes the dog to make a chewing motion and drool excessively. 

Distemper is often fatal. Dogs who survive often have permanent damage from the disease. 


Rabies is another disease that is preventable with vaccination. About 400-500 cases occur in domestic animals each year. Rabies is transmitted by a bite from an infected animal. 

Rabies typically causes behavioral changes. Some dogs will become aggressive, while others may be abnormally affectionate. A friendly and playful dog may suddenly become relaxed and inactive. 

Physical symptoms of rabies include excessive drooling, foaming at the mouth, fever, difficulty swallowing, shaking, and seizures. Some dogs become paralyzed. 

As the disease progresses, the dog will avoid loud noises and lights,  because they are easily overstimulated. 

White Shaker Syndrome

White shaker syndrome gets its name because it typically affects small white dogs. However, it can affect any dog, regardless of size or color. It typically develops when the dog is 1 or 2 years old. 

The dog may shake all over, or the tremors may be confined to one area of their body. Some dogs have very mild tremors, while others may be incapacitated by them. 

The shakes typically stop when the dog is resting or sleeping. Typically, there are no symptoms other than the shaking. 


Nausea and vomiting can also cause shaking and drooling. When a dog is nauseous, it’s common for them to drool excessively. This is part  of their body natural response. 

Feeling unwell or nauseous can also cause them to shake. 

Naseau has a wide range of causes. Changes to their diet, eating spoiled food, and stomach viruses are a few common causes of nausea. 

Foreign Object in Mouth

A forgiven object in your dog’s mouth can also cause shaking and drooling. In this case, the shaking can be due to pain. Just like humans, dogs can shake when they are experiencing pain. 

A foreign object in the mouth will naturally cause lots of drooling as well. The object stimulates saliva production, just as eating would. 

Mouth Injury or Disease (tumors, infection)

A mouth injury or disease will also cause drooling and shaking. Just like a foreign object in the mouth, dental problems or a mouth injury will cause drooling. 

These conditions also cause pain, which can cause your dog to shake. Potential causes include an injury to the mouth, infection, and tumors. 


Heatstroke occurs when your dog’s body temperature rises too high. This typically occurs on hot summer days. Intense exercise or prolonged outdoor exposure increase the chances of heat stroke. 

The first sign of heatstroke is typically excessive panting and drooling. Reddened gums, lethargy, disorientation, shaking, and vomiting and diarrhea are also signs of heatstroke. 

Severe heatstroke can cause seizures, unconsciousness, or death. 

Liver or Kidney Disease

Liver or kidney disease can cause a range of symptoms in your dog. Many of the symptoms are the same for both diseases. These include excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, changes in thirst and urination, and appetite loss. 

Kidney disease can cause chemical smelling breath, and liver disease can cause jaundice, or yellowing of the skin, eyes, and gums. 


One of the less concerning causes of your dog shaking and drooling is anxiety. Just like us, your dog may shake when they are anxious or nervous. 

Drooling or panting is also common when a dog is experiencing anxiety. If you notice your dog shaking and drooling in certain situations, like going new places or hearing loud noises, this may be the cause. 

Other signs of anxiety include excessive licking, destructive behavior, excessive barking, and having accidents in the house. 


Pain can also cause drooling and shaking in your pooch. Look for other signs of pain, including limping or whining. If your dog is in pain, you’ll need to visit the vet to determine the cause and treatment. 


Poisoning is an unfortunate cause of shaking and drooling in dogs. There are many toxic substances your pooch may find access to. These include household cleaners, medication, and houseplants. A few human foods, including xylitol and grapes, are also toxic to dogs. 

Other signs of poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, agitation, mouth irritation, lethargy, and difficulty breathing. 

If you suspect your dog has consumed something toxic, and is showing the above symptoms, they need to visit the vet immediately. 

What to do if my dog is shaking and drooling?

What to do if your dog is shaking and drooling depends on the cause and the severity of the symptoms. Your dog may require immediate veterinary treatment. However, a few causes can be managed at home. 


If nausea is causing your dog’s symptoms, you can give them some over-the-counter medication. Give them one teaspoon of pepto bismol for every 10 pounds of body weight. You can repeat the dosage in 6 to 8 hours. 

You should also feed a bland diet of 2 portions rice to 1 portion boiled chicken. Once their symptoms have resolved, begin transitioning them back to their regular diet. 

Anxiety or Stress 

Anxiety or stress may also be managed at home. If possible, identify the cause of the anxiety. You may then be able to reduce or eliminate the cause. 

Be sure that your pooch is getting plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. You may need to increase their exercise, or spend more time playing with them. 

It also helps to give your dog their own area. This area should be quiet, comfortable and contain a few of their favorite things. 

Mouth Problems 

If your pooch’s troubles seem to be coming from their mouth, look at their mouth. Search for a foreign object, injury, or infection. If a foreign object is the cause, you may be able to remove it. 

If you can’t remove it safely, or there’s another cause, your pooch will need veterinary care. 


If your dog has heatstroke, move them to a cool area immediately. Provide them with plenty of cool water. You may also wet their paws to help them cool. 

If your pooch is shaking, weak, or disoriented, they will need veterinary care to be sure they are ok. 


If your dog has consumed something toxic and experiencing symptoms, they will need veterinary care. Depending on the toxin, you may need to induce vomiting. 

You’ll need to contact your vet, or animal poison control. You can reach them at (855) 764-7661

When to see a vet about a dog shaking and drooling

More often than not, you’ll need to visit your vet if your dog is shaking and drooling. Let’s take a look at how to know your pooch needs to see the vet. 

Other Symptoms 

If your pooch is only shaking and drooling, the cause may simply be stress or anxiety. However, if they are experiencing any other symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, fever, or pain, you’ll need to get them to the vet. 

Some symptoms indicate you should seek immediate treatment. These include loss of consciousness, seizures, inability to walk, disorientation or confusion. 

Severity of Symptoms

It’s also important to consider the severity of the symptoms. Excessive shaking, lethargy, vomiting, or diarrhea indicate a potential emergency. 

My dog is shaking drooling and can’t walk

Many of the causes above can cause your dog to shake, drool, and be unable to walk if they are severe. These include distemper, rabies, severe liver or kidney disease, poisoning, and heatstroke. 

Pain can also cause these symptoms, particularly if its caused by orthopedic problems. Your dog may have a joint disorder, arthritis, or an injury. 

If your dog is experiencing these symptoms, you need to get them to the vet immediately. It is a veterinary emergency. 

My dog’s mouth is shaking and drooling

 If your dog’s mouth is shaking and drooling, it’s likely the cause is related to their mouth. 

A mouth infection, tumor, or injury are potential causes. You may be able to spot the trouble by looking into your dog’s mouth. However, you should use caution. Rarely, a dog will attempt to bite due to agitation from the pain.