Dog Diarrhea And Shaking: Causes And What To Do

It is incredibly concerning when your dog has diarrhea and is shaking. A dog shaking alongside having diarrhea is a clear indication of a problem.

We outline the potential causes of dog diarrhea and shaking as well as what to do and when to seek help. 

Here’s why dog diarrhea and shaking occurs

Dog diarrhea and shaking are symptoms that can be caused by underlying disorders which include illness, diet, intestinal parasites, poisoning, bacterial or viral infection, stress, medication, or dietary indiscretion. Shaking and muscle tremors is also a sign that a dog is in pain, due to underlying health problems.

Dog diarrhea and shaking are symptoms that commonly occur together. They are symptoms of a condition, rather than conditions in themselves.

Dog diarrhea and shaking

Dog Shaking

Shaking or tremors in dogs, on the other hand, is an involuntary movement of the muscles that can be caused by several underlying conditions.

The signs of a dog shaking include:

  • Muscle spasms of the whole body 
  • Shaking when they try to move or walk
  • Shaking in the limbs while they are resting
  • Increased anxiousness when involved in any task that requires movement
  • Constant twitching that occurs when sleeping
  • Difficulty in completion of simple tasks such as climbing stairs 

Dog Diarrhea

Dog diarrhea refers to the passing of loose, watery stools, several times a day. Diarrhea is a symptom of different diseases or conditions.

The severity of diarrhea can be severe or mild depending on the underlying cause.

Occasional episodes of diarrhea in dogs are common and normal, however, frequent diarrhea as well as other concerning symptoms can be a sign of a serious underlying problem.

Other symptoms that may accompany diarrhea in dogs include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Drooling 
  • Vomiting
  • Dry heaving or retching
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss if it is chronic diarrhea
  • Fever or hypothermia

Possible causes of dog diarrhea and shaking

Shaking or tremors is not a typical symptom of a dog suffering from diarrhea, however, in some cases, a dog may experience both diarrhea and shaking as a result of an underlying condition. 

The possible causes of diarrhea and shaking are:


Diarrhea and shaking can be symptoms of a wide range of illnesses in dogs, including viral or bacterial infections, gastrointestinal disorders, and systemic diseases.

These diseases and conditions include parvovirus, distemper, kidney or liver disease, inflammatory bowel syndrome, colitis, or cancer.

Illness can also cause shaking or tremors in dogs for a variety of reasons which can be caused by pain, fever, infections, or side effects of medication.

Also, when dogs experience pain due to illness or injury, they may engage in a variety of behaviors to indicate their discomfort. One of these behaviors is shaking, which is a common sign of pain.

Related: Dog diarrhea and restlessness (Explained)

Gastrointestinal infection

Gastrointestinal infection by bacteria, intestinal parasites, or viruses is the most common cause of diarrhea and shaking in a dog.

Bacterial infections include Salmonella, coccidia, or Escherichia coli (E. coli) while viral infections include parvovirus,  and parasitic infections can be from roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and whipworms.

Shaking or trembling is also a result of a dog’s body trying to fight off the infection. When the immune system is activated to fight an infection, it can cause the body to produce fever and shivering or trembling as part of the natural response to combat the illness.

Additionally, the infection may cause dehydration, which also leads to shaking while accompanied by diarrhea.

Change in diet

A change in your dog’s diet can cause diarrhea and shaking due to food intolerance or allergy, an upset stomach, and stress.

This is because it takes time for your dog’s stomach to adjust to the new food and a sudden change to a new food may cause diarrhea. 

Dogs are also sensitive to changes in their routine and environment, and a sudden change in diet can be stressful. This stress can lead to digestive upset and other symptoms such as shaking or trembling.

To avoid these problems, it is important to introduce changes to your dog’s diet gradually, over the course of several days or weeks, to give their digestive system time to adjust.

Also, it is important to choose a high-quality, nutritionally balanced dog food that meets your dog’s individual needs.


A stressed dog also experiences diarrhea including shaking, which may appear at the same time. 

Stress and anxiety also cause a variety of symptoms including pacing, licking, drooling, yawning, crying, barking, and hiding.

Stress can come from a variety of sources such as a change in their environment or routine, new people or pets, loud noises, and other fear-related stressful situations.

Toxin ingestion

Poisoning in dogs can lead to a variety of symptoms, including diarrhea and shaking. This is because many poisons and toxins can cause gastrointestinal upset and also affect the nervous system.

Dogs may accidentally ingest toxic substances such as household cleaners, contaminated food or water, pesticides, insecticides, poisonous plants, or human medications, which can cause diarrhea and other symptoms.


Side effects of medication

Medications can sometimes cause side effects in dogs, including diarrhea and shaking which may happen at the same time.

The side effects can occur due to irritation of the digestive tract, allergic reaction, and neurological side effects which cause shaking or trembling.

Dietary indiscretion

Dietary indiscretion refers to eating of non-food items or food that is not part of a dog’s regular diet. This can lead to diarrhea and shaking in dogs due to the development of an upset stomach, bacterial infection, gastrointestinal obstruction, and stress.

Dogs may eat non-food items or consume food outside of their regular diet due to stress or anxiety, which can also lead to digestive upset and other symptoms such as shaking or trembling.

Dog diarrhea and shaking: What to do

If your dog is experiencing both diarrhea and shaking, it is important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible. 

Here are  other signs that indicate that you should see a veterinarian immediately:

Severe or bloody diarrhea: If your dog’s diarrhea is severe or if there is blood or mucus in the stool, this could be a sign of a serious underlying condition and requires immediate veterinary attention.

Other symptoms: Other symptoms may accompany diarrhea and shaking, such as vomiting. If your dog is vomiting along with diarrhea, this can lead to dehydration and other complications and requires immediate medical attention. 

Other symptoms to look out for include lethargy, lack of appetite, breathing difficulties, signs of pain or discomfort, fever, and signs of dehydration, such as a dry nose or mouth and sunken eyes.

Suspicion poisoning: If you suspect that your dog has been poisoned, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately.

If your dog is a puppy or an older dog: Puppies and older are generally more vulnerable than healthy adult dogs so delaying treatment could result in their condition worsening or becoming more difficult to treat. Therefore, it is essential to seek immediate medical care.

Related: My dog has diarrhea and his back legs are weak: Causes and What to do 

Key Takeaway: Dog diarrhea and shaking

Diarrhea and shaking in dogs can be caused by a variety of factors.  While occasional diarrhea is normal in dogs, persistent diarrhea alongside other symptoms requires veterinary attention.

If you notice your dog showing these symptoms suddenly or for extended periods of time, consult with your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment. 

By addressing the underlying cause of the symptoms and providing appropriate care, you can help ensure that your dog remains healthy and happy.

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