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Why is My French Bulldog Shaking?

French bulldogs are a beloved breed known for their playful and affectionate nature. However, if your dog shakes for no obvious cause, it can be concerning.

French bulldogs shake for a variety of reasons including excitement, anxiety, or even health issues.

In this blog post, we will explore some of the common reasons why a French bulldog may be shaking and what you can do to help.

Possible Reasons Why Your French Bulldog is Shaking

Have you noticed your French bulldog shaking? Sometimes the reason is obvious. Other times the shaking may warrant a trip to the vet.

Have a look at the following list of potential reasons why your French bulldog is shaking and see if you can narrow down the cause.

If you can’t, make an appointment with a veterinarian to rule out underlying health issues.


One of the most common reasons for a French bulldog to shake is simply excitement. Frenchies are energetic and enthusiastic dogs, and shaking can be a way for them to release that energy.

If your French bulldog is shaking while playing or running around, it’s likely just a sign of their excitement and joy.

There’s nothing pet parents want more than to see their dogs happily playing.

Unfortunately, French bulldogs can get too excited sometimes. As a brachycephalic breed, Frenchies have trouble panting efficiently enough to cool themselves down.

If your French bulldog becomes over excited, it is important to intervene and help them calm down


Another reason a French bulldog might shake is due to anxiety.

Frenchies can be sensitive dogs, and shaking can be a sign of stress or fear.

Many things can cause a nervous dog to shake. Vet visits, loud noises, car rides, and the loud bangs of fireworks are just a few things that can send your canine companion into a full-body tremble.

Old Age

As French bulldogs age, they may start to shake or tremble more frequently due to muscle weakness or other age-related issues.

If your French bulldog is older and shaking more frequently, speak with a veterinarian to determine the cause and best course of action.

Addison’s Disease

Addison’s disease, also known as hypoadrenocorticism, is a condition that occurs when the adrenal glands do not produce enough hormones.

The adrenal glands are located near the kidneys and are responsible for producing hormones that regulate various body functions, such as metabolism, blood pressure, and the body’s response to stress.

Low levels of hormones produced by the adrenal glands can affect the body’s ability to regulate muscle tone.

In addition to shaking, dogs with Addison’s disease may also experience other symptoms such as:

  • weakness
  • lethargy
  • loss of appetite
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea

Addison’s disease is a serious condition that requires prompt treatment, and the sooner it’s diagnosed and treated, the better the prognosis for your dog.

Neurological conditions can cause a French Bulldog to shake

Neurological Conditions

There are several neurological conditions that can cause a French bulldog to shake or have muscle spasms. These conditions can affect the brain, spinal cord, and/or the nerves, and can disrupt the normal functioning of the nervous system.

Some common neurological conditions that can cause shaking in French bulldogs include:

Focal Seizures

Seizures are sudden, uncontrolled bursts of electrical activity in the brain that can cause a variety of symptoms, including shaking or trembling.

French bulldogs are prone to seizures. They can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • genetics,
  • brain tumors
  • head injuries
  • infections

Seizures can range in severity, from mild tremors to severe convulsions, and can last for a few seconds to several minutes.

Vestibular Syndrome

Vestibular syndrome is a disorder that affects the vestibular system, which is responsible for maintaining balance and coordination.

French bulldogs with vestibular syndrome may experience symptoms such as shaking, tilting of the head, loss of balance, and difficulty standing or walking. Vestibular syndrome can be caused by a variety of factors, including inner ear infections, brain tumors, and strokes.

Head Tremor (Idiopathic Tremor)

Head tremors, are a type of neurological disorder that causes head shaking.

French bulldogs with head tremors may also experience tremors in other parts of the body, such as the neck, face, and limbs.

The exact cause of head tremors is unknown, but they may be related to abnormal activity in the brain or spinal cord.

Shaker Syndrome

Shaker syndrome, also known as “Little White Shaker Syndrome” or idiopathic tremors, is a neurological disorder that causes a French bulldog to shake.

This condition is most commonly seen in small white dogs, although it can also occur in other breeds and in dogs of other colors.

The exact cause of shaker syndrome is unknown, but it’s thought to be related to abnormal activity in the brain or spinal cord.

Shaker Syndrome is typically seen in young dogs between the ages of six months and three years, and it can affect one or more parts of the body, including the head, neck, trunk, and limbs.

Shaker syndrome is not painful for the dog, but it can be alarming to see your French bulldog shaking uncontrollably. The tremors can range in severity, from mild to severe, and may occur at rest or during activity.

Cerebellar Hypoplasia

Cerebellar hypoplasia is a neurological disorder that occurs when the cerebellum, a part of the brain responsible for coordinating movement and balance, does not develop properly.

In French bulldogs, cerebellar hypoplasia can be congenital (present at birth) or acquired (developed after birth).

Dogs with cerebellar hypoplasia may have difficulty coordinating their movements and may appear unsteady or wobbly when walking. They may also have trouble controlling their head and neck movements, and may have difficulty standing or sitting. In severe cases, cerebellar hypoplasia can cause seizures.

The severity of cerebellar hypoplasia can vary greatly. Some dogs may only have mild symptoms while others may be severely affected.

There is no cure for cerebellar hypoplasia, but most dogs with the condition can lead normal lives with appropriate management and care.

This may include medications to control seizures, physical therapy to improve muscle strength and coordination, and other supportive measures.

Cold Temperatures

French bulldogs have a dense, short coat that doesn’t provide much insulation. This can make it harder for them to maintain a consistent body temperature.

If your French bulldog is shaking while outside in cold temperatures, it could be a sign that they are too cold and are trying to keep warm.

It’s important to bring your French bulldog inside or provide them with a warm coat or blanket if they will be outside in cold weather.

Why is my French bulldog shaking

Intervertebral Disc Disease

Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is a painful condition that affects the discs that cushion the vertebrae in the spine. French bulldogs, along with other small breed dogs, are prone to developing IVDD due to their short, compact stature and heavy bodies.

In normal healthy discs, the outer layer (annulus fibrosus) is strong and flexible, while the inner layer (nucleus pulposus) is soft and gel-like. In dogs with IVDD, the outer layer of the disc becomes weak and may break down, causing the inner layer to protrude into the spinal cord.

This can cause inflammation and pressure on the spinal cord, leading to symptoms such as pain, weakness, and loss of sensation in the affected area.

While the disease itself may not cause your dog to shake, the pain certainly can.

Toxic Substances

There are many toxic substances that can cause a French bulldog to shake or tremble.

French bulldogs can be sensitive to certain toxic substances, including those listed below. Poisoning in dogs is considered a medical emergency.

Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications

French bulldogs can be sensitive to certain medications and may experience side effects such as shaking. It’s important to never give your French bulldog any medications without consulting with a veterinarian first.

Plants and Flowers

Some plants and flowers can be toxic to French bulldogs if ingested.

Common toxic plants and flowers include (but are not limited to):

  • lilies,
  • azaleas
  • rhododendrons
  • sago palm

Insecticides and Pesticides

Many insecticides and pesticides contain toxic chemicals that can be harmful to French bulldogs if ingested or absorbed through the skin.

Symptoms of pesticide poisoning can include shaking, tremors, vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing. This is a medical emergency.

Human Foods

There are many human foods that can be toxic to French bulldogs, including chocolate, grapes, raisins, and onions. Symptoms of food poisoning can include shaking, tremors, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

If you suspect that your French bulldog has been exposed to a toxic substance, it’s important to contact a veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) as soon as possible.

Time is of the essence in these situations, and prompt treatment can be lifesaving.

REM Sleep

Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is a normal part of the sleep cycle that occurs in all dogs, including French bulldogs. During REM sleep, the body becomes paralyzed and the brain becomes more active, resulting in vivid dreams.

It’s not uncommon for dogs to experience muscle twitching or shaking during REM sleep. This is a normal part of the dreaming process. These movements are usually brief and subtle, and are not typically cause for concern.

However, if your French bulldog is shaking excessively or displaying other concerning symptoms during sleep, it could be a sign of a more serious issue.

If you are concerned about your French bulldog’s shaking during sleep, it’s a good idea to consult with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.

Canine Distemper

Canine distemper is a highly contagious viral disease that affects dogs, including French bulldogs. The virus attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems and can be life-threatening if not treated promptly.

One of the symptoms of canine distemper is shaking or tremors. The tremors may be mild or severe and can affect different parts of the body, such as the head, neck, trunk, and limbs.

Canine distemper can also cause other neurological symptoms such as seizures, loss of coordination, and paralysis.

In addition to shaking and tremors, dogs with canine distemper may also experience symptoms such as fever, coughing, diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy.

If you suspect that your French bulldog may have canine distemper, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian as soon as possible. Canine distemper is a serious and potentially life-threatening disease, and early diagnosis and treatment are crucial.

Fortunately, canine distemper can be prevented with a vaccine. It’s important to make sure that your French bulldog is up-to-date on their vaccines to protect them from this and other serious diseases.


Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, can cause a dog to shake or tremble. It occurs when the level of glucose in the blood is too low.

Glucose is a form of sugar that is the primary source of energy for the body’s cells.

When blood sugar levels drop too low, the body may not have enough energy to function properly, which can lead to a variety of symptoms.

In dogs, hypoglycemia can be caused by a variety of factors, including an insufficient intake of food or water, excessive exercise, or certain medical conditions such as pancreatitis or liver disease.

If a dog is experiencing hypoglycemia, it’s important to seek veterinary treatment as soon as possible, as low blood sugar can be a serious and potentially life-threatening condition.

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serious health conditions can cause a French bulldog to shake.


There are many potential reasons why a French bulldog may shake or tremble. These can include pain, discomfort, anxiety, cold temperatures, and even just being excited.

As with any breed, it is important to pay attention to your dog’s behavior and consult with a veterinarian if you have any concerns.

Regular check-ups and preventative care can help to ensure that your French bulldog stays healthy and comfortable as they age. By understanding the various reasons why French bulldogs may shake, you can take steps to address any underlying issues and help your dog to feel their best.

Works Cited

Santos, S. (2022, October 27). Warning Signs of French Bulldog Slipped Disc Disease (IVDD). Dog Advisory Council. Retrieved January 1, 2023, from

DVM, B. B. (2020, May 27). Dog Seizures: Symptoms and What You Can Do | Veterinary Emergency Group. Veterinary Emergency Group. Retrieved January 1, 2023, from

Idowu, Olutunbi, and Kathryn Heading. “Hypoglycemia in Dogs: Causes, Management, and Diagnosis.” PubMed Central (PMC), Accessed 1 Jan. 2023.

“Wonderful World of Neurology: Seizures, Tremor and Twitches.” Veterinary Practice, 1 Mar. 2008,

CriticalCareDVM. “Tremor Syndrome – Not Just a Little White Dog Problem.” CriticalCareDVM, 12 Jan. 2019,

“Cerebellar Hypoplasia and Degeneration in Dogs – What Pet Parents Need to Know | Winston-Salem Veterinary Neurologist | Carolina Veterinary Specialists & Emergency.” Cerebellar Hypoplasia & Degeneration in Dogs – What Pet Parents Need to Know | Winston-Salem Veterinary Neurologist | Carolina Veterinary Specialists & Emergency, Accessed 1 Jan. 2023.

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