Why is My Jack Russell Trembling?

Why is My Jack Russell Trembling?

Have you ever noticed your Jack Russell trembling and wondered why? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many dog owners have experienced this concern and it’s important to understand the reasons behind it. In this article, we will explore the common causes of trembling in Jack Russells, from excitement to fear and even medical conditions.

By the end, you will have a better understanding of your furry friend’s behavior and how to ensure their well-being.

Possible Causes of Trembling

Anxiety and Fear

One possible cause of trembling in Jack Russell Terriers is anxiety and fear. Like humans, dogs can experience emotions such as fear, anxiety, and stress, which can manifest in physical symptoms like trembling. If your Jack Russell is trembling and displaying signs of fear or anxiety, such as hiding, excessive barking, or cowering, it is essential to address the underlying cause of their distress.

Physical Discomfort or Pain

Trembling can also be a response to physical discomfort or pain in Jack Russell Terriers. Dogs may tremble when they are experiencing any form of bodily discomfort, whether it be from an injury, arthritis, or an underlying health condition. If your Jack Russell is trembling consistently or accompanied by signs of discomfort like limping or whimpering, it is crucial to consult with a veterinarian to determine the cause and seek appropriate treatment.

Temperature Changes

Jack Russell Terriers are not particularly tolerant of extreme temperatures, and sudden changes in temperature can cause trembling. If your dog is exposed to cold or hot environments without proper protection, their body may respond by trembling as a means to regulate their internal temperature. Remember to provide your Jack Russell with appropriate clothing or shelter during cold weather and avoid exposing them to extreme temperatures to prevent tremors caused by temperature changes.


Hypoglycemia, which is low blood sugar, can be a contributing factor to trembling in Jack Russells. These energetic dogs have high metabolic rates, and when their glucose levels drop too low, it can lead to trembling, weakness, and other symptoms. To prevent hypoglycemia in your Jack Russell, ensure they have regular meals throughout the day and a balanced diet that provides the necessary nutrients and energy they require.

Old Age

As Jack Russell Terriers age, they may develop trembling or shaking as a part of the natural aging process. Senior dogs can experience muscle weakness, arthritis, and other age-related conditions that may contribute to trembling. It is crucial to provide your aging Jack Russell with proper care, including regular veterinary check-ups and appropriate management of any age-related ailments.

Neurological Disorders

Certain neurological disorders can cause trembling in Jack Russell Terriers. Conditions such as epilepsy, nerve damage, or brain tumors can lead to tremors or seizures. If your dog’s trembling is persistent and accompanied by other neurological symptoms such as loss of coordination or seizures, it is crucial to consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Medication Side Effects

If your Jack Russell is on medication, trembling may be a side effect. Some medications can cause trembling or muscle spasms as a reaction. If you suspect that your dog’s trembling is due to medication, consult with your veterinarian. They may need to adjust the dosage or switch to a different medication to alleviate the side effects.

Poisoning or Toxicity

Ingesting certain toxic substances or poisons can result in trembling in Jack Russell Terriers. Common toxins include household chemicals, certain plants, or human foods that are harmful to dogs. If you suspect your dog has been exposed to a toxic substance and they are exhibiting trembling along with other signs of poisoning, it is crucial to seek immediate veterinary attention to prevent further complications.

Low Blood Sugar

Similar to hypoglycemia, low blood sugar can occur in Jack Russell Terriers due to prolonged periods without food or inadequate nutrition. If your dog has not eaten for an extended period or has a poor diet, their blood sugar levels may drop, leading to trembling. Ensuring your Jack Russell has regular meals and a well-balanced diet can help prevent low blood sugar and the associated trembling.


Seizures can cause intense trembling or shaking in dogs, including Jack Russell Terriers. Epilepsy is a common cause of seizures in dogs and is characterized by recurring seizures that can vary in intensity and duration. If your dog experiences seizures accompanied by trembling or loses consciousness during an episode, it is crucial to consult with a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and management of the condition.

Signs and Symptoms to Look For

Shivering and Shaking

One of the most obvious signs of trembling in Jack Russell Terriers is shivering or shaking. If you notice that your dog’s body is trembling involuntarily, it is important to pay attention to other accompanying signs or symptoms to determine the underlying cause.

Muscle Tenseness

Trembling may also be accompanied by muscle tenseness in Jack Russell Terriers. You may notice that your dog’s muscles feel rigid or tense to the touch. This can indicate pain, discomfort, or tension within their muscles, which may contribute to the trembling.

Excessive Panting

When dogs are trembling, they may also exhibit excessive panting or rapid breathing. Panting is a way for dogs to regulate their body temperature, and when combined with trembling, it may indicate that your Jack Russell is trying to cool themselves down or cope with discomfort.


Restlessness is another sign to look for if your Jack Russell is trembling. They may struggle to settle down, pace back and forth, or seem unable to find a comfortable position. Restlessness can be a result of physical discomfort, pain, or emotional distress.

Loss of Appetite

If your dog’s trembling is accompanied by a loss of appetite, it can be indicative of an underlying issue. Dogs that are in pain or feeling unwell may have a reduced appetite. It is important to monitor your Jack Russell’s eating habits and consult with a veterinarian if their loss of appetite persists.


Trembling may also be associated with lethargy or a lack of energy in Jack Russell Terriers. If your usually active and lively dog is suddenly exhibiting signs of exhaustion, weakness, or reluctance to engage in physical activities, it may be a result of an underlying condition causing the trembling.

Disorientation or Confusion

Disorientation or confusion can be alarming signs to watch for if your Jack Russell is trembling. If your dog appears disoriented, has difficulty navigating familiar spaces, or displays confusion in response to commands or their environment, it may indicate a neurological issue or severe anxiety.

Vomiting or Diarrhea

In some cases, trembling may be accompanied by vomiting or diarrhea in Jack Russell Terriers. Gastrointestinal disturbances can be caused by various factors, such as an underlying illness or stress. If your dog exhibits these symptoms along with trembling, it is important to seek veterinary advice to identify and address the root cause.

Changes in Breathing

Pay attention to any changes in your dog’s breathing pattern when they are trembling. Rapid or shallow breathing can indicate underlying discomfort or anxiety. If your Jack Russell is experiencing significant breathing difficulties or distress, seek immediate veterinary attention.

Abnormal Heart Rate

Trembling may be associated with an abnormal heart rate in Jack Russell Terriers. An excessively fast or irregular heartbeat can indicate an underlying cardiovascular or respiratory issue. If you notice any abnormalities in your dog’s heart rate or rhythm, it is essential to consult with a veterinarian for a thorough examination.

What to Do if Your Jack Russell is Trembling

Observe Your Dog’s Behavior

When you notice that your Jack Russell is trembling, take the time to observe their behavior and monitor any accompanying signs or symptoms. Note any changes in their appetite, energy levels, or general demeanor. This information will be valuable when discussing your concerns with a veterinarian.

Create a Calm Environment

If your dog is trembling due to anxiety or fear, it is crucial to create a calm and safe environment for them. Remove any potential stressors or triggers from their surroundings and provide a quiet space where they can relax. Avoid exposing them to loud noises, intense activity, or situations that may provoke their anxiety.

Provide Comfort and Reassurance

During episodes of trembling, your Jack Russell may seek comfort and reassurance from you. Offer gentle petting, soothing words, and physical presence to let them know that they are safe and loved. Your calm and comforting demeanor can help alleviate their anxiety and contribute to their overall well-being.

Check for Signs of Injury or Illness

Inspect your dog for any signs of injury or illness that may be causing the trembling. Look for cuts, bruises, swelling, or other abnormalities on their body. Take note of any changes in their mobility or signs of pain. If you identify any concerning issues, consult with a veterinarian for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

Avoid Sudden Temperature Changes

To minimize trembling caused by temperature changes, ensure that your Jack Russell is adequately protected from extreme temperatures. During colder months, provide them with coats or sweaters when venturing outside, and ensure they have a warm and cozy space indoors. Similarly, in hot weather, keep them in cool, shaded areas and provide access to fresh water.

Offer Small and Frequent Meals

For dogs experiencing trembling due to hypoglycemia or low blood sugar, it is important to provide small and frequent meals throughout the day. This will help stabilize their glucose levels and maintain their energy levels. Consult with a veterinarian to determine the appropriate diet and feeding schedule for your Jack Russell.

Consult with a Veterinarian

Whenever you observe persistent or concerning trembling in your Jack Russell Terrier, it is recommended to consult with a veterinarian. A veterinarian will be able to conduct a thorough examination, review your dog’s medical history, and perform any necessary tests to identify the underlying cause of the trembling.

Follow the Veterinarian’s Recommendations

After a veterinarian evaluates your Jack Russell and determines the cause of their trembling, they will provide specific recommendations for treatment or management. It is essential to follow their guidance diligently, administer any prescribed medications as directed, and schedule any necessary follow-up appointments.

Keep Your Dog Safe and Secure

Ensure the safety and security of your trembling Jack Russell by maintaining a secure environment. Take precautions to prevent accidents or injuries that may worsen their condition. Be aware of potential hazards both inside and outside your home, and consider using baby gates or other barriers to restrict their access to dangerous areas.

Monitor for Any Changes

Even after taking the necessary measures and seeking veterinary attention, continue to monitor your Jack Russell for any changes or developments. Observe their behavior, appetite, energy levels, and overall well-being. If you notice any worsening or new symptoms, consult with your veterinarian promptly.

Home Remedies and Preventive Measures

Maintain a Consistent Routine

Establishing a consistent routine can help reduce trembling in Jack Russell Terriers. Dogs thrive on routine, and a predictable schedule provides them with a sense of security and comfort. Aim to feed your dog at the same times each day, establish regular exercise periods, and maintain a consistent sleeping routine.

Address Any Underlying Anxiety or Fear

If your Jack Russell experiences trembling due to anxiety or fear, it is important to address the underlying emotional issues. Consider consulting with a professional dog trainer or a certified animal behaviorist who can provide guidance on behavior modification techniques and strategies to help your Jack Russell overcome their fears.

Provide Regular Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Exercise and mental stimulation are crucial for the overall well-being and mental health of Jack Russell Terriers. Engage in regular play sessions, offer puzzle toys or interactive games, and provide opportunities for them to release their energy. Adequate physical exercise and mental stimulation can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.

Ensure a Comfortable Sleeping Area

A comfortable sleeping area is essential for the well-being of your dog, especially if they experience trembling. Provide a cozy bed or crate with soft bedding and consider using calming aids such as pheromone diffusers or soothing music to create a peaceful sleep environment.

Keep Your Dog Warm During Cold Weather

To minimize the effects of trembling caused by temperature changes, ensure your Jack Russell is warm and comfortable during cold weather. Consider using doggy sweaters or jackets to provide extra insulation, particularly when going outside. Inside the house, provide warm blankets or heating pads to keep them cozy.

Feed a Balanced and Nutritious Diet

Proper nutrition is important for the overall health and well-being of your Jack Russell Terrier, including preventing trembling caused by low blood sugar. Feed them a balanced and nutritious diet that meets their specific dietary needs. Consult with a veterinarian to determine the best diet and feeding schedule for your dog.

Avoid Exposure to Toxins and Harmful Substances

Prevent your Jack Russell from ingesting toxic substances by keeping potentially harmful chemicals, plants, and foods out of their reach. Be aware of common toxins that are dangerous to dogs, such as chocolate, certain medications, household cleaning products, and certain houseplants. Regularly inspect your home and outdoor areas to ensure a safe environment for your dog.

Monitor Blood Sugar Levels if Necessary

If your Jack Russell has a history of low blood sugar or hypoglycemia, it may be necessary to monitor their blood sugar levels regularly. Your veterinarian can provide guidance on how to perform at-home monitoring and recommend appropriate actions based on the results. Close monitoring can help maintain their glucose levels within a healthy range.

Stay Up to Date with Vaccinations and Preventatives

Maintaining your Jack Russell’s vaccinations and preventatives current is vital for their overall health and to prevent potential illness or infections. Consult with a veterinarian to establish a suitable vaccination schedule and ensure your dog is protected against common diseases. Additionally, use appropriate flea, tick, and parasite preventatives to safeguard your dog’s well-being.

Monitor and Manage Any Known Health Conditions

If your Jack Russell suffers from a pre-existing medical condition, it is important to monitor their health closely and follow the recommended management plan provided by your veterinarian. Regular check-ups, medication administration, and lifestyle adjustments may be necessary to keep their condition under control and minimize trembling or associated symptoms.

In conclusion, trembling in Jack Russell Terriers can be caused by various factors, including anxiety, physical discomfort, temperature changes, hypoglycemia, old age, neurological disorders, medication side effects, poisoning, low blood sugar, or seizures. It is important to observe your dog’s behavior, provide a calm environment, offer comfort and reassurance, check for signs of injury or illness, and consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Implementing preventive measures such as maintaining a consistent routine, addressing anxiety, providing regular exercise and mental stimulation, ensuring a comfortable sleeping area, and avoiding exposure to toxins can help reduce trembling occurrences. Monitoring your Jack Russell’s health, staying up to date with vaccinations and preventatives, and managing any known health conditions are also essential for their overall well-being. Remember, always prioritize the well-being of your beloved Jack Russell and seek professional guidance when needed.


  • Lisa Watson

    Lisa W. is a practicing certified veterinarian (BVetMed Hons in Veterinary Medicine) who graduated from Royal Veterinary College, UK. One of her research fields is mixed-dog breeds and their temperament, behavioral issues, and genetic health concerns. Also, she gathers data about purebred dog breeds and their origin, lifespan, and genetic conditions. Lisa is a loving dog parent who is keen to share her expertise with other fellow dog parents.

    [email protected]

Similar Posts