Twitching in Dogs

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Why is my dog twitchy?

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Why is my dog twitchy?

What is Twitching?

Your dog may be twitching for a variety of reasons.  If your dog is twitching, you will notice movement or a tremor in a part of his body. Localized twitches, or muscle spasms, can occur as a result of the following:

  • Overexertion, possibly resulting in dehydration
  • Neurological damage
  • Physical injury
  • Hypoglycemia

The twitching or spasms can be painful, particularly when they are continuous. Once you understand what is causing twitching to occur in your dog, you may be able to take steps to minimize their occurrence.

Why Twitching Occurs in Dogs

Your dog may be twitching for the following reasons:

Overexertion, Possibly Resulting in Dehydration

Should your dog engage in significant physical activity and/or he does not ingest enough fluids, he may experience an interruption of his muscle contractions. This can lead to his experiencing spasms. 

Neurological Damage

Neurological damage can occur in your dog’s central nervous system and peripheral nervous system. Some neurological disorders are due to trauma and injury while others may result from a genetic predisposition, a reaction to medication or an underlying health condition.

Physical Injury

Twitching or spasms can occur as a result of muscle strain or damage. A pinched nerve or a slipped disc can also result in twitching. As noted, physical injury can also result in neurological damage.

Hypoglycemia

Low blood sugar concentration is known as hypoglycemia. Because sugar (in the form of glucose) is the main energy source in your dog’s body, low blood sugar levels will impact the function of his organs and brain. Hypoglycemia can occur due to endocrine or hepatic disorders, a higher requirement for glucose, not getting enough glucose due to fasting or experiencing toxicity.

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What to do if your Dog is Twitching

Should you notice that your dog is twitching, first consider whether it happens on rare occasions or more frequently. If you have seen your dog twitch more than a few times, the spasms continue after your dog has rested and rehydrated or he is experiencing lameness and pain as well, it is a good idea to make an appointment with your veterinarian. 

Your veterinarian will conduct a full physical examination of your dog and ask you for information regarding what you have observed. You will be asked about the location of your dog’s twitching along with how often it occurs. As your veterinarian attempts to gain insight into possible causes of the twitching, you may be asked about any possible injuries your dog might have experienced. Your veterinarian will locate the source of the twitching in order to recommend the appropriate treatment.

Depending on what your veterinarian observes during his examination in conjunction with the information that you provide, he may choose to conduct additional testing. For example, should hypoglycemia be suspected, your veterinarian will test your dog’s current blood glucose value, along with additional testing to determine the underlying cause of its occurrence and to measure organ function. Treatment will depend on the cause of the condition and include offering fluids, stretching or massaging your dog’s muscles, physical therapy, hot or cold therapy, muscle relaxants, nutritional supplements or surgery.

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Prevention of Twitching

It is important to make sure that your dog is always well hydrated by providing him with plenty of fresh water that is easily accessible. You should ensure that your dog does not overexert himself physically, which can be a challenge when your dog is active. If you notice any twitches, you can gently stretch or massage the muscles that are affected. Providing adequate supervision of your dog can help him to stay clear of situations where he can injure himself.

A healthy, well-rounded diet is important for your dog’s overall health and annual examinations by your veterinarian will help ensure that any health conditions are caught early before they progress and become more difficult to treat.

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Cost of Twitching

The cost of your dog’s twitching will depend upon the reason that it is occurring. Should your dog be experiencing twitching as a result of overexertion and/or dehydration, rest and rehydration may resolve the twitching at no cost to you. If the cause of your dog’s twitching is hypoglycemia, the cost will vary based on the underlying condition that is causing it. On average the treatment can cost from $1,00 to $8,000.

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Worried about the cost of why-is-my-dog-twitchy treatment?

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Twitching Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Poodle Miniature

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Three Months

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2 found helpful

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2 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Constipation

My dog Prince hasn’t pooped since 8:30 AM ( CURRENTLY 3:03 PM) I just got him today so I don’t know what to do. Toys and treats don’t entice him either. I need help

July 12, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Hello, So sorry to hear about your puppy. Make sure that your puppy is eating and drinking. Sometimes the change in diet or house can cause your dog to feel this way. If he does not poop in 24 hours then I would take him to see your vet. I hope your dog starts to feel much better soon.

July 12, 2020

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