Why Is My French Bulldog Shaking And Panting: Here’s What To Look Out For

🔄 Updated on November 4th, 2022

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French Bulldogs may be the most confident breed of dogs, but a French Bulldog shaking can instantly raise your attention. Could something be wrong?

The number one culprit behind your French Bulldog’s shaking is cold weather. Frenchies cannot maintain optimal body temperature the same way a larger, thicker-haired dog can during winter due to their tiny bodies and short fur.

Why is my French Bulldog shaking? Don’t fret. Below is a comprehensive look into common reasons your French Bulldog could be shivering.

My French Bulldog Is Shaking: Reasons Why

Numerous triggers can make your dog shake. Maybe the dog’s whole body is shaking – but often, the shaking may happen partially when only the French Bulldog’s back legs are shaking. Either way, there’s a reason for it. Some of these triggers include the following.

Anxiety and Fear

Separation, abuse, and mental irregularities can cause your French Bulldog to have bouts of trembling episodes. French Bulldogs are companion breeds. They love spending time in the company of people or other familiar dogs.

Also, the crashing sound of thunderstorms, car engines, and fireworks could cause your dog to retreat due to stress and fear.

Should you suspect that your dog is shaking due to anxiety or fear, talking to a dog behavior specialist may be the solution.

The professional will adequately diagnose the dog to determine how severe your dog’s fear or anxiety is. After that, the specialist will give you tools to help your dog recover. These tools aim to build your dog’s confidence and teach them how to be ok with spending time on their own.

Joy and Excitement

Why is my French Bulldog shaking every time I get home? Well, it’s super easy to excite a Frenchie since they adore you. Every tiny form of affection or attention they get from you is an opportunity for them to get excited. The shaking only shows up as a by-product of the excitement.

French Bulldogs get excited if they see you get home when they know it’s time for your usual walk, during playtime, when you bring home a new toy, or when they want to eat.  

It’s the overflow of emotion that causes your dog to start shaking. In this case, no medical attention is necessary. However, if the shaking soon gets accompanied by jowl flopping and body twitching, you must consult the vet.

Hypothermia

Cold weather or turning the air conditioner down too low can cause hypothermia, which can otherwise cause shaking in French Bulldogs. 

A simple solution to cease the shaking is covering your dog with a warm blanket or dressing him in several layers of warm clothes. Remember to put dog boots on your dog’s feet too.

If your Frenchie is shaking because the house is too cold, consider warming your home up. Turn the air conditioning up or find other means to warm your space to make the environment conducive for the dog.

Sickness

A seemingly simple illness that goes too long without being addressed adequately by the vet could cause many symptoms. The most noticeable sign of a sick dog is uncontrollable shaking.

Older French Bulldogs tend to experience various illnesses. Senior French Bulldogs often suffer diseases like loss of cartilage which may progress into Arthritis if left unchecked. Arthritis causes colossal discomfort and pain, resulting in the dog shaking severely should they try to stand or walk.

Your vet may prescribe pain meds or therapy to stop your French Bulldog shaking and panting symptoms. CBD oil is a non-conventional treatment option that is fast emerging as the go-to treatment for pain and shaking in dogs.

Distemper

Paramyxovirus is a common virus in dogs that causes distemper. French Bulldogs that aren’t fully vaccinated can get distemper, while those vaccinated are safe from the infection.

In addition to shaking, other symptoms dogs with distemper may experience include:

  • Vomiting
  • Skin sores
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Sneezing
  • Pneumonia
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing
  • Oozing discharge from the nose and eyes

Proper vaccination in French Bulldogs should happen from eight weeks to five months.

Animals like raccoons, ferrets, and skunks are notorious for spreading distemper because they are carriers. Keep your Frenchie far away from direct contact with these animals and other dogs that may have the infection.

Hypoglycemia

Otherwise known as low blood sugar, hypoglycemia can cause mild to severe shaking in French Bulldogs. Due to poor feeding or malnutrition, your dog may not be getting the appropriate nutrients, including crucial sugars.

A dog suffering from hypoglycemia exhibits symptoms like:

  • Loss of coordination
  • Fainting
  • Lethargy
  • Shaking
  • Muscle spasms

If the condition progresses, your dog may suffer seizures, paralysis, or blindness. The seriousness of hypoglycemia makes you think twice about allowing your dog to skip meals. Poor nutrition can cause a blood sugar deficit which ultimately turns into hypoglycemia.

Your Frenchie may also have low blood sugar because of underlying health issues like Addison’s disease, pancreatic tumor, or sepsis.

Should you observe symptoms of hypoglycemia in your dog yet and your dog hasn’t been skipping any of his meals, hurry to the vet for immediate medical attention.

Old Age

Compared to their younger counterparts, older dogs shake often. A more senior French Bulldog may shake due to a slight decline in temperature, whereas a younger dog of the same breed seems ok. 

If your Frenchie is above 12 years old, exhibiting symptoms like shaking shouldn’t always mean a trip to the vet’s emergency door.

Sometimes, all they need is an extra blanket or to snuggle near you.

Vets admit that shaking in old dogs may happen spontaneously. Medical test results may show that the dog has no underlying illness, yet the dog keeps shaking – a medical condition better known as idiopathic tremors. While uncomfortable, idiopathic shaking is not life-threatening.

Install the precautionary safety measures around your home. Severe idiopathic shaking may cause your dog to fall down the steps or bump into corners.

Poisoning

French Bulldogs are curious dogs. They love licking, swallowing, and sniffing almost everything they come across. When your dog comes into physical contact with harmful substances like fertilizer, prescription drugs, rodent poison, or cleaning agents, they can get poisoned.

The resulting symptoms include uncontrollable tremors, diarrhea, stomach upset, vomiting, and irritability.

Ingesting toxic substances could even cause the dog’s brain to swell or alter the proper function of its nervous system. The vet will know that immediate action is required to address suspected poisoning.

Kidney Malfunctions

Kidney malfunctions mean that the Frenchie cannot filter unwanted waste from its system, leaving it vulnerable to diseases. Dogs with kidney problems can still urinate normally or more frequently. But, you should be concerned when your dog has to urinate frequently, is often thirsty, and is shaking.

Chronic kidney disease usually happens in older dogs. However, there have been many cases of younger dogs suffering the same.

Kidney malfunctions occur due to infection, renal obstruction, or ingesting toxic substances. If the problem goes untreated, your dog could show signs of diarrhea, blindness, shaking, anemia, incontinence, and drastic weight loss. 

While you can manage kidney disease, there is no cure since kidney tissues cannot regenerate.

The best treatment option for kidney problems in your dog could be to remove the affected kidney surgically. It keeps the damage from spreading, and the dog can continue enjoying a fulfilling life even with one kidney.

Addison’s Disease

The adrenal glands are responsible for hormone production in dogs. Adrenal glands sit right next to the kidneys, and their primary function is to produce cortisol and aldosterone hormones. 

When this part of the body is experiencing problems, it can cause reduced production of hormones which progresses to become Addison’s Disease.

Low immunity, cancer, infections, and trauma can lead to Addison’s Disease. A French Bulldog with Addison’s Disease will have severe shaking and calmness cycles. They may also lose plenty of weight in a short period, get very thirsty, and urinate often.

Luckily, Addison’s Disease is treatable. However, should you fail to seek prompt medical attention, your dog will collapse, shake vigorously, or even die – a condition known as the Addisonian crisis.

Is Your Frenchie Shaking? What You Should Do

Close observation is an integral part of assessing whether or not there’s a serious cause for your Frenchie shaking. Calming your dog means finding out the trigger for the shaking and eliminating it.

Call the vet if you have no way of determining why your French Bulldog’s head is shaking. Take note of other symptoms your dog may be showing and tell the vet.

The moment you observe your dog exhibiting unusual shaking, here’s a list of what you should do and avoid.

What You Should Do

  • Pet and speak to your dog gently to comfort your furry friend
  • If you suspect that your dog has been poisoned, ask for emergency pet services or call the helpline for pet poisoning
  • Contact the vet’s clinic immediately if the shaking extends for longer than 60 minutes
  • Observe whether or not the dog also has other symptoms like vomiting, confusion, or diarrhea
  • Try to keep your dog hydrated
  • Rush to the vet’s clinic

What You Should Avoid

  • Avoid ignoring severe symptoms like diarrhea, stress, fear, vomiting, or irritability.
  • Avoid giving your dog medication that the vet has not prescribed
  • Do not try to force-feed your shaking dog
  • Avoid postponing your trip to the vet, mainly if the shaking is constant or occurs often.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you still wondering, “Why is my French Bulldog shaking?” Here are commonly asked questions by other concerned Frenchie owners.

Are my French Bulldog’s back legs shaking because of Shaker Syndrome?

While French Bulldogs can get diagnosed with the condition, it is incredibly rare. There’s a good chance your French Bulldog is shaking not because of Shaker Syndrome but due to some other trigger.

Shaker Syndrome is commonly observed in small white breed dogs like the Coton de Tulear, Maltese, Bichon Frise, Shih Tzu, and Bolognese.

Do French Bulldogs shake because of pain?

Yes. French Bulldog’s tremors occur due to pain caused by an underlying problem like Arthritis. Shaking shouldn’t automatically mean that your dog is in pain. Maybe they are cold, afraid, or stressed.

Either way, a shaking Frenchie is a serious issue that needs a fast response. It could mean getting an extra blanket or rushing to the vet.

Should French Bulldog panting and shaking be a cause for worry?

In most cases, you needn’t worry about your Frenchie shaking. You just got home from a long day of work, and your dog is shaking and panting because they are excited. In this case, spend a moment hugging and petting your dog to calm him down and stop the shaking.

However, you should be worried if the shaking is accompanied by other symptoms like vomiting, loss of consciousness, frequent urination, diarrhea, confusion, and lethargy. The vet best addresses such an issue.

What causes French Bulldog head shaking?

Breathing in or ingesting toxic substances like fertilizer or rat poison can affect the cerebellum and other parts of the nervous system. 

Hypoglycemia can also cause French Bulldog head tremors and body shaking. Anytime you observe constant shaking on your dog, do not ignore it. Immediately consult the vet.

Can some French Bulldogs experience seizures without shaking?

There are rare cases of Frenchies dropping flat on the floor and instantly going unconscious. They don’t make a sound, and neither do they shake as a sign that they are having a seizure. This condition is better known as an atonic seizure.

Most dogs, however, will shake uncontrollably moments before and during a seizure. It’s best to get your dog to the vet fast when the first seizure occurs. Seizures often get triggered by liver disease, kidney disease, brain trauma, Idiopathic epilepsy, toxicity, or brain tumor.

Final Thoughts: Why Is My French Bulldog Shaking?

So, why is my French Bulldog shaking? It’s natural for dog owners to get worried when noticing new or inexplicable behavior from their dogs. But usually, the shaking is harmless and never something threatening to your dog’s wellbeing.

However, French Bulldog shaking should never go unnoticed by the pointers above. Always have your vet’s contacts on speed dial. This way, you can access fast, professional care and assistance for your dog, especially if the shaking results from a severe health issue.

Sarah Alward | Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Sarah Alward | Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Our resident DVM helps review every article to ensure we always provide scientifically accurate, up-to-date information. She’s proud to help provide pet parents everywhere with the info they need to keep their pets safe, healthy, and comfortable.