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Why is my Dog Trembling and Acting Agitated?

photo 2009 Kevin Rodriguez Ortiz | more info (via: Wylio)My 12 yr old lab is acting strange and trembling and also swallowing a lot as...

Written by: Dogster Team

Last Updated on January 11, 2024 by Dogster Team

Scared Dog

Why is my Dog Trembling and Acting Agitated?

My 12 yr old lab is acting strange and trembling and also swallowing a lot as if nervous. he won’t lay down in the usual places and goes into the bathroom and lays on the floor as if hiding?

Nothing unusual has occurred to warrant this behavior and I’m concerned. He was at the park yesterday and did eat some weeds and grass but has shown no signs of stomach upset and has an appetite.

Does this behavior warrant a vet visit and tests? I’m on a fixed income so I try not to run to the vet if not necessary. Do you feel I should take him in and what tests could be done?


Many things can cause a dog to pant or tremble and act agitated. Possible causes include mild, self-limiting problems: perhaps he saw or heard or imagined something frightening. However, you should be aware that more serious problems also can cause symptoms such as you describe. Dogs that have consumed certain toxins (such as chocolate) and dogs that are in pain may display the behavior that you have witnessed.

Sadly, very serious issues also can cause dogs to behave in the way you have described. In particular, I worry about gastric dilatation with volvulus (GDV, or bloat) when I hear about such symptoms in an older Labrador Retriever. Bloat is an urgent, life-threatening emergency.

I know you’d rather avoid a trip to the vet, but it is the only way to find out what is going on. If finances are tight, the test I’d recommend as a highest priority is a set of radiographs (X-rays) of the abdomen.

Featured Photo Credit: Sonja Rachbauer, Getty Images


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