Most of the time, twitching is just normal canine behavior, but some cases can be due to factors such as stress, advanced age, or an underlying health condition. Here’s everything you need to know about dog twitching, including when to take your pup to a vet.
Jerking or spasms can occur as a result of muscle strain or damage. A pinched nerve or a herniated disc can also cause twitching. As previously mentioned, physical injury can also lead to neurological damage. A low blood sugar level is called hypoglycemia.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in Dogs
The most commonly observed compulsive behaviors are spider, tail chasing, self-mutilation, hallucinations (fly biting), circling, fence walking, hair/air biting, pica (appetite for non-food substances such as dirt, rocks, or feces), pacing, staring, and vocalizing.
Nerves – Nerves can cause back spasms – both the physical nerves in the body and the dog’s disposition can be linked to an abusive response. Neurological Issues – Brain activity can be disrupted by a brain tumor, injury, or stroke, which can lead to involuntary jerks like Shaker Syndrome.
When your dog is having a seizure, you may notice muscle twitches or uncontrolled jerky movements, but a seizure may also involve a loss of consciousness, drooling, or unusual eye rolls. If your dog is showing signs of a seizure, it is important that you contact your veterinarian to let them know.
Symptoms may include collapse, convulsions, stiffness, muscle spasms, loss of consciousness, drooling, chewing, tongue-chewing, or foaming at the mouth. Dogs can fall sideways and make paddling motions with their legs. They sometimes poop or pee during the seizure. They are also not aware of their surroundings.
The most common behaviors are defecating (i.e. urinating and/or defecation), destruction, and excessive vocalization (i.e. barking, crying). Pet owners may also observe excessive panting and/or pacing. Separation anxiety is the most common specific fear in companion dogs.
Repetitive movements are also a feature of autistic behavior and can include a variety of actions, such as Other repetitive behaviors include stringing toys or other objects together or obsessively chewing.
The study also found that dogs that were left home alone on a daily basis were more hyperactive, impulsive, and inattentive than dogs that spent more time with their owners or were not alone. In dogs, ADHD-like traits may present as an inability to calm down, inattention, and constant barking or whimpering, the authors said.
Examples of common canine behaviors that have become compulsive in some dogs include sucking on their flanks or a toy; incessant licking, called acral licking dermatitis; pacing, spinning and chasing the tail; freeze and stare; snapping at flies or invisible objects; undiminished and patterned barking; and excessive drinking…
Tremors are rhythmic, repetitive, and involuntary muscle movements that appear like “tremors. Tremors can be localized to one area of the body (such as the head) or affect the whole body. These tremors can vary in severity, from very mild to incapacitating (not being able to eat, walk, etc.).
Tremors could be a sign your dog is in pain or has an illness. Tremors and muscle tremors can be symptoms of serious medical conditions such as distemper, hypoglycemia, Addison’s disease and inflammatory brain disease, as well as more common conditions such as an upset stomach.
If muscle twitches are new and you have additional symptoms, says Dr. Ondo that this is when muscle twitches become more of a concern. “We worry about fasciculations when they start relatively suddenly and are associated with weakness, loss of tone and muscle wasting,” says Dr.