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What is Shaking When Breathing Inward?

Your dog may shake for any number of reasons, such as shaking off water after a bath, while other reasons are not so obvious. Shaking while breathing inward can be caused by excitement, or fear, and even for the simple reason that they are cold. Pain and poisoning can also induce shaking and uneven breathing, which needs veterinary assistance rapidly. Certain breeds such as the pug dog may have problems breathing because of their short pushed in facial features, causing them anxiety and shaking. While shaking when breathing inward may be harmless, don’t ignore it as it could be a sign of underlying disease.

  • Excitement and hyperactivity 
  • Fear and stress 
  • Pain 
  • Poisoning 
  • Disease of the kidneys, Addison’s disease, and inflammatory brain disorders

Why Shaking When Breathing Inward Occurs in Dogs

Excitement and Hyperactivity 

As a dog owner, you will be aware of the excitement levels that hit your dog when you start playing a game at home or go on a trip. Dogs live for the moment, give one hundred percent effort, and are starters for almost any adventure. Sometimes they can get over-keen and shake, breathe heavily, and almost pass out from their elevated sense of excitement. 

Fear and Stress

 

It is sad to see a dog trembling with fear or anxiety. Anything can trigger an anxiety attack: even riding in the car, going to visit the veterinary clinic, other dogs that are bolder than they are, and being left with people they don’t know. Your pet can shake, and his breathing pattern can change because of shallow breathing and not getting enough air in its system.   

Pain

 

Your dog may be feeling poorly or be in pain which can cause some shaking while breathing inward due to a fever or nausea. Some illnesses associated with shaking are distemper, kidney disease, and others.

Poisoning

 

Dogs have a notorious reputation for getting into things they shouldn’t and often test new things with their mouth. From chewing on rat poison, chocolate or plants that are poisonous, to ingesting pills that they may find, to sampling chemicals, your dog will give it a go. And even if they have been poisoned before, they don’t learn from their mistakes so it is up to owners to lock everything away or deny access to things that may harm them. 

Disease

 

As certain diseases develop, symptoms like shaking when breathing in can manifest. Chronic kidney disease, Addison’s disease (known as canine hypoadrenocorticism- this is a reduction in corticosteroid secretions from the adrenal glands which causes a lowering in day to day functioning of your dog), and distemper all have shaking and tremors as a symptom. And while not a disease, old age can bring with it the shakes as disorders can cause shaking and tremors.

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What to do if your Dog is Shaking When Breathing Inward

Often it can be just excitement that causes your dog to shake while it breathes in. Your dog can get so excited to play a game, chase a ball, or go for a ride. They are so enthusiastic that they can hardly breathe. Try to calm your dog down a bit with your own calm behavior and a gentle voice. Sometimes dogs can become hyperactive due to people working them up and over-exciting them. 

 If your dog shakes but settles down the moment you give him a cuddle and attention, it may be anxiety.  Strangers in the house, or missing you can all cause the shakes. If something is stressing your dog help them to get through it. Introduce them calmly to other people while reassuring them. If you have to go out, ensure they have toys to play with and maybe some music on to calm them. It is all about reassurance. 

If you find your dog is in pain, which is causing the shaking and the changed breathing, it is advisable to take your dog to the veterinarian for a check over. Medications may be administered allowing your dog relief from the pain and the chance to recover. If disease causes pain, then the sooner the condition is diagnosed and treated the better. Addison’s disease can be treated through the administration of cortisol type drugs which will regulate the hormone levels, and medications can be given for heart problems and to regulate mineral balance within your dog.

Poisoning needs immediate attention as some poisons can be extremely fast working. If you know what your dog has been eating it will save your specialist time in diagnosing the cause. Your dog may need to have his stomach pumped to remove the poison, or they may require fluids to flush it out or charcoal to absorb it all. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you on the best treatment for your dog.

And finally – it just may be that your dog is cold. Some fine hair coat dogs can suffer as the weather changes, or as they age. A dog jumper or coat will help your dog warm up, and an extra blanket on the bed will make life more pleasant.

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Prevention of Shaking When Breathing Inward

Training can often alleviate anxiety and improve your dog's confidence. Providing reassurance and special time together can also help, especially if you are away from your dog during the day. An owner needs to be observant and notice if your dog is feeling cold, or is a bit under the weather, and must take action to remedy any suffering your dog is experiencing. While most shaking is just over excitement leaving them gasping for breath, awareness that disease may be lurking can be managed with regular health checks. For those dogs that always must chew on everything, or poke their noses where they shouldn’t, think ahead and clear anything that they may be able to investigate. All chemicals, small parts of toys, and medications need to be well out of reach. Dogs are every bit as curious as a cat, so we have to protect them from themselves.

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Cost of Shaking When Breathing Inward

If the shaking is a happy reaction or perhaps anxiety, where retraining can help, the costs for treatment may just be your time. But an average cost for a condition causing shaking in your dog can range from $350 for Addison’s disease to $4000 for kidney problems.

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Shaking When Breathing Inward Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Part Jack Russell not sure what he's mixed with

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Around 10 or 11

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Unknown severity

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Shaking When Inhaling

So, my dog is usually happy and everything but last night and today he seemed down. My dad said that last night he wouldn't take the treats we normally give him at night and that instead of eating his fish oil pill he just laid down. We thought it might be due to constipation or his bladder being backed up but I took him for a walk and it wasn't that. Then I figured he might've been depressed since I didn't take him for a walk yesterday but I don't think it was that, furthermore we found a tick on his ear so we thought it might be that but it doesn't seem that way since we already got it off.

July 31, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello- Thank you for your question. It is difficult to say without examining him but if he is shaking it makes me concerned that he is potentially painful. A thorough examination by your veterinarian is recommended. They will likely want to perform some diagnostics to pinpoint exactly what is going on and then they will be able to provide a treatment plan for you. It isn’t normal for dogs to not want to eat and to be shaking and lethargic so I do think a veterinary visit is your next best step. I don’t think it’s probably due to the missed walk. I hope he feels better soon.

July 31, 2020

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Maltese

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Sixteen Years

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Vomiting, Shaking When Breathing In

My dog vomitted this morning and ever since has been restless and constantly moving and stretching, cant seem to get comfortable, and now when she breathes inward she shakes, should I take her to a clinic?

July 22, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. If she is continuing to vomit, and shaking when she is breathing, then yes I would have her seen as soon as possible. If she is not vomiting, and just seems a little uncomfortable, then you may be fine to monitor her and see if things improve. If she had an upset stomach, it may take her a little bit longer to get over that kind of thing that she is an older dog. If you are not sure, it is always best to err on caution, and have her seen right away. I hope that all goes well for her.

July 22, 2020

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Doberman Pinscher

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Six Months

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1 found helpful

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Vomiting

Hi, my Doberman has been vomiting last night. I gave him water and he vomited straight away. I have noticed that he has diarrhoea and he shakes when he breaths in when he is asleep. He does still drink and I gave him chicken and rice this morning

July 14, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. Puppies are very susceptible to parasites and infectious diseases like Parvo virus. If he is vomiting and not eating, he needs to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. They will be able to examine him, see what might be going on, and get treatment for him so that he is healthy. I hope that all goes well for him!

July 14, 2020

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Maggie

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Lab cross border collie

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1 Year

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

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Shivering Shaking

My dog shakes/shivers, it seems when breathing in. She is laying on me so I can feel the shivering as well as see it. It’s happened before, and my partner said she was doing it last night. She is otherwise acting pretty normal. She responds normally, her gums are pink, she’s eating and playing/running normally today. What could the shaking be?

June 28, 2018

Maggie's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Dogs will shiver when they are cold, scared, nervous, or sick. Without seeing Maggie, I'm not sure what the cause of this might be for her. If it continues or she is not acting normally at any point, it would be a good idea to have her seen by a veterinarian.

June 28, 2018

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Lola

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American Pit Bull Terrier

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2 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

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Lethargy
Vomiting
Trembling

My dog Lola was in overnight doggy daycare for 7 days/nights. She was very tired as expected when we picked her up, but then we realized she was hoarse and could not bark fully. She has a small cough, but not constant. She vomited food and foamy clear liquid. Then vomited twice more just foamy clear liquid. She is trembling when inhaling and occasionally coughing like she is trying to get something up. She does not feel warm or to have a temp. All dogs at the facility she was at are required to be up to date on all shots, no exceptions. Thanks in advance for any advice.

June 24, 2018

Lola's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

That does sound concerning. It isn't uncommon for dogs to be a little hoarse after being in a kennel, as many dogs bark more than normal while they are there. The vomiting , coughing, and trembling aren't normal after coming home from a kennel, however. I think it would be a good idea to have her seen by your veterinarian when they open to have an exam, see if anything is going on, and get treatment to stop the vomiting and settle her stomach. I hope that she is okay.

June 24, 2018

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Kovu

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Mutt

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9 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

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Depression
Shaking
Lethargy
Licking
Loss Of Balance
Loss Of Appetite
Breathing Difficulties

My dog this weekend is having some trouble with severe pain and discomfort again. This is his 3rd serious instance of this. He was born with hip dysplasia, which he has mostly outgrown. Now he still has muscle tension at times, and his knees are in rough shape too. He is getting older, he can't run as far, he gets tired easier, and he doesn't know his own weakness. He's still a big pup at heart. But when these aches and pains hit him he becomes very mopey and depressed. He doesn't eat, and he hardly drinks. Today when he first went outside to pee he was wobbling about unsteadily. He fell on the grass a few times. It's pouring rain. He just sat in the rain, then rolled into the grass a while. When his hips and legs feel a little less sore we will bath him tonight, because sadly he is covered in his own pee now. He was so scared at first that he lost bladder control. His stress is super high, and he is very nervous about peeing in the house, so he is moping and not moving much today. My husband got him to play with a stick a little outside on his second pee trip. he's slowly perking back up. The best thing that works with my big suck when he is in pain is some light massaging on the knees and legs (where he licks), some sweet gentle pets, calm soothing words, and all the praise. he gets a little tail tap going when we scratch his neck and say he's our good boy. The last 2 times it only lasted the day, and he was a bit sore the next day. I hope this is the same. I won't deny it's very concerning for an owner to see their fur baby shaking, taking some sharp breaths, and losing bladder control. But we gotta remember to stay calm, because they are far more afraid in that moment than we are. We have resources, and tools, and the ability to help them. They are panicked and sometimes I imagine they must feel very alone in what they experience. But any advice I can get will be appreciated. This is my first dog, and I didn't grow up close enough to other dogs to see them unwell. This is very new to me. I try to get as much info as I can, consult as often as possible, but more advice is never a bad thing. I could always stand to learn more. My dog is 9 human years (approx 56 dog years). Husky/Shepherd Mix. Large breed: about 80 lbs. Thanks, Justine

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Hanz

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dachshund x beagle

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2 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Shaking

My hanz has these moments where he tremors. He doesn’t seem to be in pain. He’s actually rather calm. His breathing sounds fine and he’s behaving as normal. Goes to the bathroom and plays just as much as usuall. We try wrapping him up in blankets by a light heater but he still trembles. He was mailed by a pitbull about a year ago and underwent surgery to repair his bowel but he recovered extremely well from all of it. Any ideas?

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Teddy

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shih tzu maltese

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3 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Shaking, Loud Breathing

My dog does this thing where out of no where he’ll start to sound like he’s struggling to breathe and starts shaking. It’s a loud sound but that’s the only way I can describe the sound is he just sounds like he’s struggling to breathe inward. He is also shaking at the same time. This article describes it happening while being excited which has happened sometimes but also happens when he is just laying down. It really does sound like he’s struggling and it scares me. Should I be concerned about this?

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Rebel

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Bullmastiff

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8 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Shivering

My 8 year old Bullmastiff was recently diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure. He is on various medications that seem to be controlling it very well. Twice this month he has begun to shiver when in haling breathe in his sleep, he sleeps very soundly. When I wake him, wrap him in a blanket, and cuddle him, it eventually stops. I don't hear any fluid when I listen to his chest. The two times it has happened he doesn't seem freaked out or and is no panting involved, he is very calm. Is this common is this situation? Of course it is the weekend and the vet is closed, I have left a message with the answering service.