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It’s common for French Bulldogs parents to notice that their dog’s leg is shaking more than what’s considered normal.
Most of the time, shaking is not a cause of concern as it could be a normal reaction to stimuli. However, in some cases, it might be a symptom of a more severe health condition.
So, why is your French Bulldog’s leg shaking? Your French Bulldog’s leg might be shaking because of cold temperature, anxiety, or excitement. It might also be shaking because of health problems like muscles spasms, seizures, poisoning Addison’s disease, or simply old age. It’s important to determine the cause to ensure your dog is healthy.
Keep reading to learn more about the common causes of shaking in French Bulldogs, what you can do to treat them, and what to do if your dog is having a seizure.
The Most Common Causes of Shaking and Tremors in French Bulldogs
There are various reasons your French Bulldog might start shaking its legs or experience full-body tremors more than usual.
It’s very important for pet parents to understand the cause behind your dog’s shaking to determine whether the dog’s behavior is normal or if it’s due to an underlying health problem.
So, let’s take a closer look at the common causes of shaking and tremors:
French Bulldogs are extremely sensitive to cold weather so, you might notice that your French Bulldog is shaking and shivering more often when it’s feeling cold.
They cannot regulate their core body temperature as they tend to lose body heat more quickly than they can produce it. They also have short coats that don’t offer enough protection against cold.
Other signs that your dog is feeling cold include:
- Refusing to go outside
- Lifting its paws off the ground
- Trying to make a nest by pulling at blankets or burrowing in bed
- Frequent barking or whining
- Lack of energy
If you notice any of these signs, you need to warm up your French Bulldog as much as you can, otherwise, you’ll be putting it at risk of developing more serious health problems such as hypothermia or frostbite.
You can warm up your French Bulldog by providing it with a warm place to sleep, not allowing it to go outside in the cold for extended periods of time, and dressing it in winter gear including jackets and boats. You can learn everything about keeping your French bulldog warm with coats and jackets in the winter here.
Anxiety or Fear
French Bulldogs are also sensitive to surrounding stimuli, especially when they’re young. You might notice that your dog is shaking in certain situations because it’s having a strong emotional reaction such as anxiety or fear.
Signs that your dog is feeling anxious or afraid include:
- Shaking and trembling
- Lack of appetite
- Barking and whining
- Hiding or cowering in a corner
- Avoiding eye contact
- Panting and pacing
So, it’s very important to understand your dog’s body language and keep it away from triggering situations to prevent its behavior from escalating to aggression.
Some of the situations that cause your dog to feel anxious or afraid include:
- Other dogs or strangers entering your dog’s territory
- Loud noises such as thunderstorms or fireworks
- Any changes in your dog’s environment or daily routine
- Separation anxiety due to being left alone for extended periods of time.
If the symptoms of your dog’s anxiety persist for too long, it might be a good idea to consult a vet to determine whether your dog needs to be medicated.
Happiness or Excitement
Having a strong emotional reaction is not always negative, so you might notice your French Bulldog shaking because it just can’t contain its happiness or excitement.
Other signs that your dog is feeling happy or excited include:
- Loud barking
- Dilated pupils
- Spinning in circles
- Running and Jumping around
Just like with anxiety and fear, it’s very important to understand your dog’s body language so you can predict your dog’s behavior in certain situations.
Some of the situations that cause your dog to feel happy or excited include:
- Seeing its owner after some time apart
- Playing with its favorite toys
- Watching people walk by
- Hearing a knock on the door
- Being presented with food or treats
You can also learn how emotional french bulldogs are here.
Your French Bulldog might be shaking because of a muscle spasm which typically happens as a result of muscle strains or cramps, injuries, dehydration, or even an allergic reaction.
Muscle spasms are easily detected as you’ll notice tremors in one area of your dog’s body, usually its legs. However, your dog might exhibit some additional symptoms depending on what’s causing the spasms.
You can easily prevent muscle spasms by making sure your dog is hydrated and not overexerting itself during exercise time. If your dog’s muscles begin to spasm, try to gently massage the affected area and apply a heating pad to relieve any pain or discomfort.
Your French Bulldog might be shaking as a reaction to poisoning or exposure to toxic materials.
Other symptoms of poisoning include:
- Irregular heart rate
- Lack of appetite
If you suspect that your dog has been poisoned, it’s highly recommended to take your French Bulldog to a vet immediately to stabilize its condition and give it the proper treatment.
Seizures mainly occur as a result of abnormal activity in your dog’s brain. They happen over intervals referred to as episodes and these episodes are always accompanied by severe shaking all over the dog’s body.
Other symptoms you need to look out for to determine if your French Bulldog is having a seizure episode include:
- Severe anxiety
- Incoordination and difficulty with walking
- Barking and whining excessively
- Staring straight ahead
- Confusion or disorientation
- Urinating or defecating without a warning
- Fallin on the side and the legs shaking with a fair amount of force
- Losing consciousness or experiencing temporary blindness (during a more severe episode)
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s highly recommended to take your French Bulldog to a vet to determine what’s causing the seizure. I discuss seizures and what exactly to do in my article on French Bulldog twitching here, so please do take a minute to learn about it and what you should do if your Frenchie does get a seizure as it can save their life.
Addison’s disease, also known scientifically as hypoadrenocorticism, is a kind of disorder that causes your French Bulldog’s adrenal glands to fail so they won’t be able to create the hormones responsible for most of the dog’s body functions.
Symptoms of Addison’s disease include:
- Tremors all over the body, especially the legs
- Lack of appetite and severe weight loss
- Hair loss
- Irregular heart rate
Dogs diagnosed with Addison’s disease are expected to have a normal lifespan as long as they are taken care of properly. However, if you notice your dog exhibiting more severe symptoms, it’s recommended to take it to a vet to subscribe to substitute hormone drugs.
The average lifespan of a French bulldog is about 12 years, but with proper care and good living condition, some dogs might live as long as 14 or 15 years.
By the time your dog reaches 10 years of age, you will notice various signs of old age including shaking and trembling more often.
Other signs of old age in dogs include:
- Weaker muscles and bones
- Lack of energy
- Oversensitivity to stimuli
- Vulnerability to several diseases such as arthritis
It’s important to take your dog to the vet for regular check-ups in order to prevent or treat any health problems related to the dog’s old age.
What to Do When Your French Bulldog is Having a Seizure?
A seizure can be an intense experience for both you and your dog. Luckily, there are some measures you can to make sure your dog won’t suffer too much during the episode:
Here’s what you can when your French Bulldog is having a seizure:
The most important thing to do when your dog is having a seizure is to stay calm so you can effectively help your dog through the episode. If you start panicking, your dog might sense it and become more scared which will make the episode a lot more stressful.
Move your dog to a safe location
Your dog will be exhibiting symptoms such as shaking, disorientation, and incoordination. It might also start running around without looking at where it’s going. So, make sure to move to a safe location away from stairs or the edge of the bed to prevent it from falling or injuring itself.
Stay close to your dog
You need to stay close to your dog throughout the episode in order to monitor its condition as well as make it feel safe. Avoid petting your dog as this might scare it more and cause it to bite in self-defense. Instead, it’s recommended to sit beside the dog and speak to it in low comforting tones.
Keep track of the time during the episode
When your dog is having a seizure, it’s recommended to keep track of the time whenever possible to determine the severity of the seizure. You use a stopwatch or simply keep an eye on the clock.
If the episode lasts less than two minutes, then it usually passes without further problems. However, if the episode lasts from two to five minutes, then your dog needs to be taken to the vet as soon as possible.
Why Do French Bulldogs Move Their Legs While Sleeping?
French Bulldogs move their legs while sleeping because they’re having a dream or a nightmare. That is because dogs have the same sleep stages as humans, which includes short-wave sleep and rapid eye movement. You might also notice that your French Bulldog is twitching while sleeping.
What Temperature Is Considered Too Cold for a French Bulldog?
A temperature of 4°C (40°F) temperature or below is considered too cold for a French Bulldog. their bodies will not be able to withstand this temperature and they will be at risk of developing various health problems. The ideal temperature for French Bulldogs is 10 to 20 °C (50 to 70 °F).
What Are the Health Problems French Bulldogs Are Prone to Have?
The health problems that French bulldogs are prone to have include allergies, skin conditions, respiratory problems, hip dysplasia, and eye diseases. They are also prone to obesity if they don’t get enough exercise. You need to take your dog to the vet for regular checkups to make sure it’s healthy.
Lowrie M, Garosi L. Classification of Involuntary Movements in Dogs: Myoclonus and Myotonia. J Vet Intern Med. 2017;31(4):979-987. doi:10.1111/jvim.14771
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