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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19828
Experience:  Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
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My dog is a miniature schnauzer. 14 years old. Sleeps a lot

Customer Question

My dog is a miniature schnauzer. 14 years old. Sleeps a lot but still playful for a few minutes at a time.
Once in a while she acts like she has seen a ghost. She paces and pants. She wants to sit on me. She will have tremors. If I rub her neck she will calm down some. This goes on for maybe an hour, then she seems ok.
Any ideas? This just happened again. She is pretty quiet again now.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

In order to supply you with an informed answer, it is necessary for me to collect some additional information from you. When I receive your response or reply, it will likely take me between 30-45 minutes to type up my reply if I am still online when I receive notice that you replied. I hope you can be patient.

Does this tend to happen in the mornings or when her stomach is empty or full?

Has she been doing anything specific when these episodes occur?

You say she acts like she has seen a ghost. Does she stare off into space or at one spot for a few minutes first?

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

Hi again,

I was hoping to get a response back before answering but I don't want you to go without an answer either. This could be related to pain or even be seizure activing.

Shaking or trembling in toy breeds can be due to hypoglycemia, liver shunt, or a neurologic response such as a seizure. Trembling can also be a sign of pain, stress and cold.

Hypoglycemia is low blood sugar and frequently causes trembling in small breeds. Feeding your dog smaller meals more frequently can help. If you suspect your dog is having low blood sugar you can put a drop of pancake syrup on your dog's tongue which should raise the level. If a small dog stops eating for a day or so, it can bring on low blood sugar.

A liver shunt is usually a genetic condition. It is a condition where instead of the blood going through the liver and being cleansed, part of the blood is diverted around the liver resulting in a toxic buildup in the blood. If the liver is not functioning correctly you might see similar symptoms as well. You can read about these here:

and liver dysfunction here:

Seizures can manifest as trembling and a dog may not lose conscienceness. Focal seizures can manifest as repetitive behavior or just staring out into space for a minute or so. You can read more about seizures here:

Pain can also lead to pacing, panting and trembling as well. Given her age, I have to recommend you have her seen by your vet and have a senior checkup done.

I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer so I am compensated for my time.

If you have questions in the future that you wish me to answer, you may click here and bookmark the page or make it a favorite. It is best to put my name "JANE" in the question as well.

Since there have been recalls on certain foods, please check the following site to be sure the food your animals eat is not affected. If it is affected, contact your vet as soon as possible. Have your dog seen if they have any symptoms.