Dog Shaking and Vomiting at the Same Time? Top Reasons & What to Do

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This article was updated on June 2nd, 2023

Vomiting and shaking at the same time is always a cause for concern in dogs, it’s distressing for both owners and their animals and can be indicative of an underlying condition and that’s why it’s important to take this problem seriously. I see vomiting and shaking dogs frequently in my clinic and there a range of potential underlying causes, from mild and insignificant to potentially life threatening. In this article I’ll cover the top causes for vomiting and shaking at the same time and when you should seek veterinary help.

What are the top reasons for a dog shaking and vomiting at the same time?

Vomiting and shaking can be signs of a variety of health issues in dogs, some of which may be serious. Here are some possible causes:

1) Gastrointestinal (stomach and intestine) problems. Gastrointestinal issues such as intestinal parasites, pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and foreign bodies can cause vomiting and shaking as well as a host of other symptoms such as diarrhea, inappetence, lethargy, and abdominal pain. Vomiting and shaking at the same time can also be a symptom of more severe and potentially life-threatening situations such as bloat or GDV (gastric torsion).

2) Ingestion of toxins: Ingestions of toxins such as household chemicals or medications can cause both shaking and vomiting in dogs. Toxins can also include natural substances, like certain plants, poisonous creatures, mushrooms, compost, and blue-green algae. If you think your dog has been exposed to a toxin, contact your veterinarian or a poison help line such as the ASPCA Animal Poison Control

3) Infections: Viral or bacterial infections can cause both vomiting and shaking. The most common are bacterial infections such as leptospirosis, distemper, parvovirus, or Lyme disease. These infections can be very serious and require immediate medical attentionand often result in other symptoms such as fever, loss of appetite, coughing and sneezing, skin rashes and difficulty breathing.

4) Motion sickness or car-ride anxiety: If your dog is prone to car-sickness or has separation anxiety, they may experience both shaking and vomiting when placed in a stressful situation.

5) Heatstroke: If your pet is overheated, they may experience both shaking and vomiting. This can be a serious condition that can occur when a dog’s body temperature rises to dangerous levels due to exposure to high temperatures or humidity. Symptoms of heatstroke in dogs include vomiting, shaking, as well as panting, drooling, lethargy, weakness, diarrhea, seizures, breathing difficulties or collapse. The dog’s gums and tongue maybe very dry and turn red or purple. Heatstroke is a medical emergency and requires immediate veterinary care.

6) Liver or kidney disease: Kidney or liver disease in dogs may cause vomiting, shaking, and other symptoms as their organs fail to function properly. These conditions can be serious and require ongoing veterinary care and management.

7) Pain: Pain is another common cause of both shaking and vomiting and can be caused by a variety of conditions, including injury or surgery, arthritis, and cancer.

8) Seizures: Seizures can cause shaking and vomiting in dogs especially if the seizure is prolonged. Seizures can be caused by a variety of things such as liver disease, infections, toxins, or brain tumors and require immediate medical attention.

How worried should you be when your dog is shaking and vomiting?

If your pet is exhibiting these symptoms, it is important to contact your veterinarian right away as they can be signs of a serious medical condition that requires immediate veterinary attention. It is best to be as proactive as possible in order to prevent further complications or even death. In some cases, vomiting and shaking may be caused by a minor issue such as motion sickness or a mild gastrointestinal upset. However, it is always better to err on the side of caution and have your dog examined by a veterinarian.

Any additional symptoms can also be a sign of a more serious condition. These include:

  • Lethargy,
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite,
  • Lethargy, 
  • Difficulty breathing, 
  • Excessive panting
  • Bloated stomach
  • Pale gums

These are signs of a more serious condition and require immediate attention from a veterinarian.

What to do when your dog is shaking and vomiting

If your dog is shaking and vomiting at the same time, it is important to take them to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Your veterinarian will be able to determine the cause of the symptoms and provide medical treatment as needed. In some cases, further tests may be required such as blood work, x-rays, or ultrasound.

While there are some home remedies that may help alleviate a mild gastrointestinal upset, such as feeding a bland diet of boiled chicken and cooked rice, or giving over-the-counter probiotics, these remedies may not be appropriate or effective for all cases and may delay needed veterinary care.

When to seek veterinary or emergency care

If your dog has only had only one episode of vomiting and shaking and seem fine in themselves otherwise then it may be okay to wait and monitor for anymore symptoms. However, if they display any of the following symptoms then you should take your dog to the vet immediately.

  • Pale or grey/ blue gums or tongue
  • Fast or labored breathing, or excessive panting
  • Retching
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Unresponsiveness/ unconsciousness
  • Staggering or disorientation
  • Excessive salivation
  • Painful or bloated abdomen
  • Unusual restlessness, frequent full body stretching

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I be very worried if my dog refuses to eat for long?

Disclaimer: This content is not a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult with your vet for health decisions. Learn more.

If your dog refuses to eat for a prolonged period of time, it can be a cause for concern and you should consider taking your dog to the vet for a checkup.

Although in some cases, temporary loss of appetite can be a normal response to stress or minor illnesses, lack of appetite or anorexia can also be a sign of various medical conditions that shouldn’t wait for care. Lack of appetite or thirst for a prolonged period of time may lead to dehydration and malnutrition.

What would happen if I failed to detect early?

If you fail to detect and address vomiting and shaking in your dog early on, it can lead to a variety of potential health problems, depending on the underlying cause, including dehydration, nutritional deficiencies, metabolic imbalances, organ damage and temporary or permanent neurologic damage.

With all of these possibilities, not addressing the issue early could potentially lead to death, or at least life-long health problems. Your dog may require intensive care to give them a chance at recovery, including hospitalization, diagnostic tests, IV Fluids, and specialized treatments and medications that can only be provided by a veterinarian.

How can I prevent my dog from vomiting and shaking?

  1. Avoid feeding your dog table scraps or human foods that are high in fat, spices, or artificial additives, as these can irritate the digestive system and cause vomiting and shaking.
  2. Feed your dog high-quality commercial dog food that is appropriate for their age, breed, and health status.
  3. Make sure your dog has access to clean water at all times to prevent dehydration.
  4. Keep your dog up-to-date on their vaccinations and parasite prevention medication to avoid infections and illnesses that can cause vomiting and shaking.
  5. Avoid exposing your dog to toxins, such as household chemicals, plants, poisonous creatures, or human medications, that can cause vomiting and other symptoms.
  6. If near any outdoor source of water, know what blue-green algae looks like and avoid it entirely (local authorities may issue a public health advisory to warn people to stay away from affected water)
  7. Monitor your dog’s behavior and health closely and seek veterinary care promptly if you notice any changes, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or vomiting and shaking.
  8. Practice good hygiene, such as washing your hands after handling your dog, to avoid transmitting infections and diseases.

How can I tell if my dog is dehydrated?

Symptoms of dehydration in dogs include:

  • Dry gums and nose
  • Lethargy and weakness.
  • Sunken eyes
  • Reduced appetite
  • Concentrated/ dark urine, possibly with a strong odor
  • Loss of skin elasticity: Gently pinch the skin on your dog’s neck or shoulders between your fingers. If it doesn’t quickly return to its original position, your dog may be dehydrated.


  • Dr Alex Crow, Veterinary Surgeon

    Alex Crow, VetMed MRCVS, is an RCVS accredited Veterinary surgeon with special interests in neurology and soft tissue surgery. Dr Crow is currently practicing at Buttercross Veterinary Center in England. He earned his degree in veterinary medicine in 2019 from the Royal Veterinary College (one of the top 3 vet schools in the world) and has more than three years of experience practicing as a small animal veterinarian (dogs and cats).

  • Kate Howard, Vet Tech

    Kate Howard lives in Upstate New York, and received her degree in Veterinary Technology from Alfred State College of Technology in 2010. She has been a veterinary technician for 13+ years, and spent her career working primarily in general practice and veterinary emergency care. Kate has 3 dogs, a cat, and keeps a small flock of backyard poultry.

Disclaimer: This website's content is not a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian for healthcare decisions. Read More.

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