Weird changes in behavior

ms_minnamouseJune 2, 2011

Ginger is acting weird.

The two things I'm noticing are that she's shaking and she's restless.

More details on the shaking:

She shakes when I'm clipping her hair and while she may have done that a little or during the beginning, she didn't shake nearly so so much. Grooming isn't very stressful for her, I mean, I let her lay down and there's no pain involved. She could have had a bad experience when I used to have other people groom her but that's kind of moot since that was so long ago and she's shaking all of a sudden years later.

She never used to shake when I grind her nails or when I clean her ears but she's doing it now. Again, no pain involved and she gets to lay down. She also started shaking last night when I was brushing her teeth, which she's never done before and I've been brushing her teeth every night of her life for 10 years.

Today I had to leave her alone at home (I've been bringing her with me a lot when I go out) and like usual, when she has to be alone, I gave her a treat dispensing toy and a chew. But she started shaking. I'm not sure at what particular movement, maybe when she realized that I was leaving.

More details on the restlessness:

Ginger usually sleeps in pretty late but all of a sudden, she's been jumping off the bed to sleep on the floor, laying in the hallway instead of in my room, nosing things in my room, staring at me, etc. I do let her out to go potty really frequently so I'm sure that's not it.

I'm pretty sure nothing traumatic happened to her. I'm basically with her all the time. I guess she could be in pain but she's not showing any obvious signs of it and nothing has happened to cause her any pain besides getting three cysts removed like a month ago but like I said, that was a month ago and they were pretty shallow, at skin level.

She gets more than regular check ups with an annual geriatric cbc, she's on good joint supplements and she's not limping or laying oddly. Her appetite is hearty just like always. Her coat is crazy thick and grows too fast like usual, with a nice healthy feel to it, her weight is consistent, basically nothing else seems to be off.

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have you been having unusual weather? storms? lots of wind? thunder/lightning? these are all things that can make a senior dog nervous, seemingly suddenly. it could be that, if you are having nasty weather, she is anticipating the storms and that is why she shakes. many times, with older dogs, their hearing starts to go and that can contribute to their anxiety during storms.

shaking can also be a sign of pain but i would think if she was in a lot of pain, her appetite would be off. when was the last time she had a check-up?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 3:06PM
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K, so I took her to the doctor today. The vet said some of the same things that you said but no, she's not afraid of thunderstorms. We haven't had rain all week. No rain is anticipated until Saturday. I will watch her closely when we do have a storm but I'm sure she won't do much of anything except sleep.

The doctor also said that her hearing could be the problem but her hearing is fine. She's just as responsive as ever.

She does seem to be a little stiff on her feet after laying down in the kitchen for a long time, but I'm not sure if it's because of her joints or because her foot fell asleep or something else. Why I say that is because she lies in a tight ball on her bed in the kitchen because it's underneath the desk, kind of like a cave and she doesn't curl up so tightly anywhere else. Also because she doesn't act stiff when she gets up from anywhere else in the house. Also her bed in the kitchen is pretty well padded. It's actually an overstuffed pillow.

She does sometimes, not always, have some slowness going up the stairs and jumping onto beds.

Her appetite definably doesn't seem to be off from what I can see. I can't be 100% certain though because she self feeds and there are days she eats a lot of her kibble and days where the bowl seems to last for a long time. She still gets just as excited as ever over treats.

Also, she's not licking her lips or showing the whites of her eyes or growling or groaning or whining, which I know a lot of dogs will do when in pain.

Her last check up was the beginning of this month. Do you mean her last complete check up with blood work?

Anyways, since I asked about joint pain, the dr told me not to raise her joint supplement dose because it's already pretty high and she gave me pain killers to see if I notice any difference.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 11:28PM
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Maybe I could add a collagen supplement and a safe anti-inflammatory supplement. I have to say that I'm not big on herbs though. I do prefer things to be clinically tested and any side effects known and studied.

Some one told me Doggone Pain worked magic but it has wheat grass which Ginger can't have. Also, it has some ingredients that I don't know about.

Here is a link that might be useful: Doggone Pain

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 11:37PM
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Most dogs shake as a release of energy which has been pent up or because of fear or pain.
So, we have to figure out what the trigger is.
How often does she shake, how long does she shake for, can you watch her when she is not interacting with you or someone else to determine if she is shaking when you are not interacting with her? Sometimes we as humans try to comfort dogs when we think they are in distress, sometimes we can actually make things worse by doing this. If you have given your dog lots of affection and attention when she is shaking she may be doing it in order to get that attention. People do this all the time. My mentioning it does not mean you have done it but it appears from your original posting that she is shaking when you are interacting with her and it could be something caused her pain when you were interacting with her.
You could try some massage. Without brushing her teeth or grooming or anything else, spend some time with your dog - about an hour, when she is relaxed, just start massaging her body, little bits at first and gradually working into a deep tissue massage, this may help if she has just pulled a muscle or if she is somehow associating you with something she isnt keen on. Good luck, please repost and let us know how things are going, if they are getting worse or better.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 3:24AM
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""She does sometimes, not always, have some slowness going up the stairs and jumping onto beds. ""

Did the vet check her spine and manipulate her legs? The quote above is a classic sign of back or neck pain which some vets will miss if they don't do a complete exam.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 10:18AM
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"How often does she shake, how long does she shake for, can you watch her when she is not interacting with you or someone else to determine if she is shaking when you are not interacting with her?"

Hard to say as she shakes for different amounts of time and I haven't watched her carefully when interacting with anyone else but will make a point of remembering to do so.

"You could try some massage."

I did but she shook. And for her interactions with me possibly causing her shaking, I always make sure not to reward undesirable behavior (even the little stuff like fear) by not babying her. She was even shaking in her sleep a couple of nights ago.

"Did the vet check her spine and manipulate her legs? The quote above is a classic sign of back or neck pain which some vets will miss if they don't do a complete exam."

He did at her last full check up and I'll check also, though I'm not sure what he or I'd be able to notice with her on pain meds. But the pain meds were a trial basis and will be done in about a week.

I haven't been around a lot in the past few days to watch for shaking but I've been told that she hasn't been doing it (I'm not sure I'd trust my family to be that attentive to it though) and today, I didn't notice any shaking.

Maybe it was as simple as a pinched nerve or pulled muscle. I HOPE anyways. NOTHING better be wrong with her!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 12:46AM
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Next question. Is there construction going on around your home?? Any loud noises going on in your neighborhood lately?
I did not find out my dog broke his toe until I tried to clip his nails. My suggestion is wait until a calm time, and do a full body check on your dog.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 1:00PM
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Nope. But the good news is that the shaking seems to have gone away, except for when I was trimming her top knot and grinding her nails today. It wasn't violent though.

We'll see if it comes back after her pain meds run out. Then we'll know it was probably due to some kind of pain.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 2:43AM
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