When our dogs feel unwell or are exhibiting unusual behavior it can feel alarming.
If you’re trying to find out why your dog is foaming at the mouth and shaking, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, I will cover some key information on seizures, to take a deeper look at why our dog could be foaming at the mouth and shaking.
Let’s get into it.
Why Is My Dog Foaming At The Mouth And Shaking?
Foaming at the mouth can be a sign of a variety of problems, however, when it is paired with shaking, you are likely looking at a seizure.
So, what is a seizure? A seizure, also known as a fit or a convulsion, is a neurological event that causes abnormal electrical activity in the brain. This leads to involuntary muscle contractions, which may cause convulsions (hence seizures often being referred to as convulsions).
Seizures are most commonly seen in puppies, but they also occur in adult dogs. There are many different types of seizures, each of which has its own symptoms.
Some of these include myoclonic (muscle spasms), tonic-clonic (jerks followed by falls), absence (no awareness of surroundings), generalized tonic-clonic, partial (partial paralysis), and complex partial (partial paralysis).
The most common type of seizure seen in dogs is a tonic-clonic seizure. These seizures usually last for several minutes and involve jerking movements of the limbs and head. In some cases, the dog may fall to the ground due to loss of balance.
A dog experiencing a tonic-clonic seizure will often foam at the mouth, as well as shake uncontrollably.
What Causes Seizures In Dogs?
There are a variety of causes for seizures in dogs. It is possible that your dog has an underlying inherited health disorder such as epilepsy, which is the most common cause of seizures in dogs.
Epilepsy is a condition that causes frequent seizures and can start at any age, but usually starts in younger dogs.
Other causes for seizures include but are not limited to:
The most common sign of a brain tumor in a dog is seizures. If a new onset of seizures occurs in a dog that is five years old or older, a brain tumor will need to be seriously considered as a possibility.
Liver disease could be another reason for your dog’s seizures. Signs for liver disease in dogs include seizures, comas, and can be even fatal if left untreated.
Once kidney failure has progressed to advanced kidney failure, seizures are a result of the build-up of toxins within the blood.
However, if your dog is foaming and shaking without any obvious reason, then it is very likely that he/she is having a seizure. In any case, it is best to call your veterinarian to book your dog in for a physical scan.
How Do You Know If Your Dog Has A Seizure?
There are a variety of symptoms that you can look out for to determine whether your dog has had a seizure.
Signs of a seizure can include collapsing, loss of consciousness, foaming at the mouth, jerking, stiffening, muscle twitching, drooling, or tongue chewing just to name a few.
Some dogs may seem dazed or unaware of their surroundings before a seizure begins. A few dogs might even urinate or defecate as they are having a seizure.
Others might not be able to see or seem disoriented after a seizure has happened.
How Are Seizures Treated Or Prevented?
There are anticonvulsant medications available to help prevent seizures from occurring which your vet may recommend depending on the frequency and duration of the seizures.
Treatment for seizures is usually begun only after a pet has:
- More than a single seizure in a month
- Clusters of seizures where a seizure is immediately followed by another seizure
- Grand mal seizures that are severe or prolonged in duration.
However, it’s worth noting that once you start your pet on anticonvulsant medication, it must be given to them for the rest of their life.
This comes down to the fact that there is evidence that shows if anticonvulsant medication is begun and then the dog stops taking it, they may be at greater risk of their seizures worsening and increasing in the future.
As a result, it’s essential that you’re always noting down when you give your dog their medication, as it’s essential that you don’t let them miss a dose.
Are Seizures Painful Or Dangerous To A Dog?
Although seizures can look incredibly violent to onlookers, they aren’t usually painful for your dog.
That being said, your dog may feel confused and panicked. In addition to this, if your dog has a cluster of seizures in a short period of time, or if a single seizure lasts for more than a few minutes, their body temperature can rise.
While rare, hyperthermia can be the result, which can cause more problems that will need to be addressed.
It is also worth mentioning that seizures could be dangerous if your dog is in a dangerous environment when they have a seizure.
You will need to ensure that your dog isn’t anywhere that they could fall from, or hurt themself as a result of knocking objects over.
Provided that your dog is lying on the floor and isn’t in danger of knocking anything over, there is little chance of them doing harm to themselves.
When your dog is foaming, trembling, or exhibiting other strange behaviors that you think might be a seizure, then you will need to call your veterinarian immediately.
Despite the fact that seizures aren’t painful to your dog and they might seem back to their normal selves afterward, it’s best to get them checked out in a physical exam.
You never know why their seizures could be occurring, and it’s important to get to the bottom of the cause to figure out the next best steps for treatment should they require it.
When it comes to the health of your dog, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
What Dog Breeds Are Prone To Seizures?
There are a variety of dogs that are more susceptible to developing seizures. These breeds include but are not limited to:
- Golden Retrievers
- Bernese Mountain Dogs
However, this doesn’t mean that all of these breeds will end up developing seizures, and you shouldn’t let that put you off researching these breeds of dogs when it comes to you finding the right dog for you.
Why Else Could Your Dog Be Foaming At The Mouth And/Or Shaking?
Seizures are not the only reason your dog could be foaming at the mouth and shaking.
The other reasons why your dog could be foaming and shaking include but are not limited to:
Stress And Anxiety
Dogs can be very sensitive creatures, and they often show signs of stress when they experience certain situations that are out of their comfort zone.
Arguably one of the most common causes of a dog foaming at the foam is stress and anxiety. Stress can cause hypersalivation in dogs, often accompanied by panting and an increase in breath rates.
If your dog is foaming at the mouth, trembling, or showing other unusual behavior due to stress, then you need to determine what the stressor is.
For instance, it could be a new environment, or when your dog meets other dogs. However, if your dog is suffering from stress, you should take him or her to the vet to discuss how you can better manage it.
It is common for dogs to tremble with fear. Common triggers for fear can range from environmental changes to socializing with other dogs.
If you know that your dog is fearful, try to ensure that you encourage them to step out of their comfort zone in a safe environment.
For instance, if they are scared of socializing with other dogs, then a behaviorist might encourage you to expose them to other dogs in a safe place until they overcome this fear.
Another condition that you should be aware of is rabies, which is another cause of a dog foaming at the mouth.
Rabies is a serious disease that causes damage to the brain and nerves, spreading through saliva.
If your dog has rabies, there are usually a wide variety of other symptoms that make it easier for you to spot, such as erratic and agitated behavior. Sadly, rabies is a fatal disease for dogs for which there is currently no cure.
Foaming at the mouth and shaking is one of the most common signs of a seizure in dogs. It’s also one of the easiest things to spot.
It’s extremely important to get your dog to the vet right away if your dog begins to foam at the mouth and shake due to a seizure, as they will require a physical exam.