Idiopathic head tremors

If you’ve been reading for a while, you might remember when Cooper first experienced his head tremors. I thought it was a seizure. It was horrifying and scary, but after tons of tests and a consultation with a veterinary neurologist, the diagnosis was “idiopathic head tremors.” In other words: his head shakes, but we don’t know why.

It doesn’t seem to cause him pain. He seems a bit disoriented during the tremor, but then he’s totally fine immediately after. I can usually distract him out of it by asking for some very basic behaviors (sit or high five) and doling out treats. I noticed that he tries to get it to stop by turning his head all the way to the right and holding completely still.

We’ve tracked the tremors – time of day, duration, notable events, food, exercise, and so on – but there is no pattern that we’ve been able to discern. It’s so frustrating.

Anyway, he was snuggled in bed while I was folding some laundry. I looked over and saw him start to tremor, so I got a few seconds of video so you could see what we’re up against. You can see him try to hold his head to the right, then I tried to give him a treat. Thankfully, if it happens when he’s in a relaxed position like this (versus standing or in the middle of play) it seems less severe and doesn’t last as long.

Have you experienced anything like this with your dogs? For me, it’s not even the worry about the tremors, but it’s that the medical mystery aspect is so frustrating!

Also, please check out this article on idiopathic head tremors contributed by a veterinary practice.

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  1. says

    Cisco (my old blind girl) used to do that, but we never managed to get anyone outside of the house to see it so it went undiagnosed. It never seemed to bother her though!


      • Sami G says

        I saw your video. I was looking online to see if someone else had the same problem. My dog has done that twice. Once about a month ago and just now. Both times it’s when she has been sleeping and suddenly woke up. I think it’s because she is overly tired or maybe startled. ? It’s scary to see. She seems fine right after though. I’m going to take her in tomorrow any way because it worries me. Thanks for posting.

        • Maggie says

          It definitely is scary to see. It can’t hurt to get her checked out just to make sure it isn’t anything more serious than a tremor. Good luck, and let us know how she’s doing!

        • Adrian Davies says

          I have 2 Huskamutes ( Husky x Malamute) father & son. Father Balou started doing the same tremor when he was around 2-3 years old. Took to vets & was told might be very mild type of epilepsy but another vet said you can’t snap them out of an epileptic fit which I can do very easily. Then thought might be ear mites bugging him. Now Max has started doing it at around the same time Balou started.

          • Kris says

            My husky is about 8 months and just started doing it, too. Has it stopped/slowed down? Any other updates? It’s so pitiful to watch! Being that father and son have the bobbing ‘episodes’, do you know if this is genetic?

    • Heather says

      My dog is doing this right now & i have no idea what it is. ive been asking the vet and they cant give me a answer. she looks just like this when she does it.

    • Cheryl says

      My son has a 7 year old pittie who has been having these seizure type episodes where his head shakes and bobs up and down since he was a puppy. He always seems fine afterwards, but it is very scary and upsetting to see. Today I spoke to a family friend who recently adopted a young French Bulldog, who also had them. Their vet suggested they give the dog one tablespoon of ricotta cheese and small amount of honey (for the sugar) once a day. She started doing it a few months ago. It immediately stopped the tremors, and she stopped giving it to him, thinking it ok. He again began having the shaking head tremors, so she began again, without the honey (he was getting a bit ‘chubby’) and it worked just as well. This vet said you could substitute one tablespoon of peanut butter for the ricotta cheese, if you want, with the same results. The dog’s owner tried it, as it was easier to get the dog to lick the spoon, and it was equally successful. Not sure why it works, but if her dog doesn’t get it every day, the episodes return soon after she quits giving it to him…

  2. says

    Elka has idiopathic head tremors. She seems to display hers when she’s stressed; if I’ve been in a room without her access for “too long” (in her eyes), once when we were carving a turkey (which she really really wanted), that kind of thing. She’ll also stop pretty promptly, though, with snack or cuddles.

    Hers did not present until after she was spayed.

    • Maggie says

      That’s really interesting, Jen. I was trying to figure out if his might be stress related. It seems to be worse – longer and more severe – when he’s super tired, too. Hmm. Glad you’re able to get Elka’s to stop promptly!

  3. says

    I can only imagine how frustrated you are! I can’t stand it when I can’t get answers :( He is so sweet, at least he doesn’t seem to upset by it :)

  4. says

    We’ve been so distracted with all the medical dramas here that I missed this news. I’m so sorry to hear about Cooper. Neurological stuff is WAY scary. I’m sorry they cannot find the cause. You might want to add some Vitamin E and some coconut oil to his diet. We’ve done that as part of Lilly’s neurological recovery. Hugs!

    • Maggie says

      You have your hands full, Roxanne!! I’ll check out the Vitamin E and cocunut oil. Thanks for the tip! Thinking of you and Lilly.

  5. Denise says

    Interestingly my cat has something similar to these tremors. They are fairly frequent and I have never figured out a pattern. I would say that it has been going on for at least 5 years. Of course I can never get it to happen with her when we are at the vet. It seems not to bother her at all.

    • Maggie says

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Denise. I may have to dig into the research a little more… I sort of wonder if we all pooled our data together, would we find a pattern?

        • Maggie says

          Thank you so much, Denise! Very interesting info in that discussion thread. Thanks for passing it along!

      • Becca says

        If I may, and bouncing off of what you both sort of got to, is that I don’t think the correlation of when they occur is as important as why, with regards to pattern-seeking.

        I know you mentioned above it seems to happen when he’s relaxed. I’ve noticed this, but I wouldn’t say relaxed as much as tired. I find that our Cooper (a lovely fawn-colored bully mix as well) EXCLUSIVELY when he’s near sleep. Generally, at night or early morning.

        Here’s my theory: Many dogs have these for a long time at different strengths throughout their lives that owners are often not aware of. They start small and the dogs get used to them, and used to suppressing them. As they get stronger and the dogs are tired enough to not have energy to suppress them, that’s when we start to see them come out.

        To me, it’s not so different from the way dogs express pain. They hide a lot from their owners for whatever reason (I can anthropomorphise with the best of them) until it reaches a certain level, or they just don’t have the energy.

        Of note, most videos of head tremors are taken when the dog is in bed. There’s a reason for this. And there’s a reason that when you entice them with treats, or some kind of task to perform (esp in the case of working breeds), it’s in their nature to take whatever energy they have and focus it on a task. To perform that task they must suppress and that’s when, usually (as observed in forums and anecdotally), the tremors stop momentarily.

        My $.02

        • Teri-Lynn says

          My 16 mo old male pit bull just started this -as with some others, it seems to be only BEFORE sleep, (& he tries several times to rearrange his position) , as opposed to upon waking. We are going to try the honey & cottage/ricotta cheese method, as well as tums, and see what happens. Like all of you, I know my dog VERY well, as I am a trainer and able to have him w/ me 24 hrs a day; so when he started this, my fear was that he’d gotten into some medication, eaten something he shouldn’t,or something..(I knew it was not typical epilepsy). But no, it wasn’t possible to be intake-related. There are a few studies on idiopathic head seizures out there, and some say they are brought on by different things-we just have to dig up the research & try to find what works.

  6. says

    I know it’s worrisome to not know what’s happening. But bodies are weird things and don’t always do what we expect. If it truly isn’t a serious threat, I hope you can make peace with this little quirk and feel comfortable that Cooper is feeling ok.

  7. Kandi says

    My 3 yr old male Basset (also cooper) just started doing this. Twice in the past week. I’m so scared there’s something seriously wrong, or that it hurts him. I have read that dogs can have similar to Parkinson’s. But like the video it’s just his head that seems to be effected. Does anyone know how the vet determines it IHT?

    • Maggie says

      Basically, Kandi, they eliminate all other options. Some of the tests included blood and urine tests. You can also do an MRI to make sure it’s not a seizure. Once they test for everything else and can’t find anything, they call it idiopathic head tremors. Best of luck to you and your Cooper!

  8. says

    A friend’s Boston Terrier has a behaviour something like this. It is a little worrisome. She says her vet isn’t too concerned as she has no other signs illness but I’d never seen anything like it before. It certainly is a mystery. I hope Cooper continues to feel fine otherwise and the tremors never become anything serious.

    • Maggie says

      Thanks, Kristine! It’s definitely hard to accept that something that looks so scary might just be… nothing. I hope all’s well with your friend’s pup!

  9. says

    My friends Labrador had a similar occurrence I tried contacting him today to find out what he did to help his dog overcome this. The last time I spoke to him about a year ago he did mention that he was going to take his dog to the Vet for a check up as he is covered under his pet plan insurance.

  10. Whitney says

    My great dane mix, Wally, began having head tremors recently. I read that giving a dog peanut butter causes them to making a licking relfex and that it can help snap them out of it. At first he seemed scared, but since he could still follow commands and I just sat with him he seemed to relax a little more and go away. Hopefully, the peanut butter will work.

    • Maggie says

      That’s a great idea, Whitney. It seems like distracting him with food works most of the time, and PB would keep him busy longer. Thanks for the suggestion! I hope all’s going well with Wally and his tremors!

    • laura agostini says

      can you kindly tell me where you read about peanut butter and the licking reflex? thank you.

  11. says

    Just found your blog and wanted to say how positive and bright your site and your outlook are. I’ve just taken up blogging myself as illness means I have more time (and less energy) and it’s great to see that it’s not just me who finds my dogs (pet therapy) to be one of the best things for restoring a certain balance in outlook, if not health itself. Wishing you and your doggies speedy recoveries X

    • Maggie says

      Thank you so much, Katherine! I really appreciate the kind words. All the best to you! I’m off to check out your blog!

  12. says

    “Idiopathic” can be such a frustrating diagnosis – almost as much as the condition! Hopefully, this is indeed a minor, quirky, thing that doesn’t bother Cooper or affect his health. He’s so sweet!

  13. Javi says

    Thanks for blogging about this, it really does put my heart at ease. Roscoe (93lbs pit bull) just started his tremors. He’s had 2 more episodes since i first caught it a few days ago. That first night i rushed him to the ER even though the tremors ceased once we jumped in the car. Very scary indeed. He breezed through his physical with no problems and i scheduled an appointment for some blood work for this Monday just to rule out anything else. Roscoe seems to get them when he is relaxed, or about to fall asleep. Its very hard to watch because he has huge jowls and they flap around which makes the tremors seem really violent, but he is always aware and alert and doesn’t seem to be in any pain. Like Pamela said, if Roscoe does have IHT its fine, could be much worse. Thanks again for sharing. Hi Cooper.

    • Maggie says

      I’m so sorry for all you’re going through with Roscoe. Let me know how all the tests turn out. It is hard to watch – I wish I could say it’s gotten easier, but it breaks my heart every time it happens to Coop. All the best to you and Roscoe!

      • Laura says

        Hi, my English x Aussie Bulldog started these 2days ago and we have been to endless vet visits and hospital stays to rule out everything else but the specialist told us that its Idiopathic Head Bobbing and we cant do anything abojt it. it is killing us watcb her go through them she has them reguarly mainly when she is relaxed. we are trying Honey to see if its her blood sugar level even though all her tests showed up clear.

        • Laney says

          Our lab (8), has had these mild head tremors for years. They first started when he ate a bag of coffee beans (after extracting them from a box left by the mailman on the front porch). He tremored off and on for a day, acute caffeine poisoning.
          He didn’t do it again for years but now does it fairly frequently. It’s generally during times of little activity. He is a bird dog and almost never does it during bird season when he is very active. It comes on after bird season ends.
          Like many others, he is ALWAYS nearly asleep when it happens. I’ve gone through the “Honey” routine, which worked for a year or so. I think the general idea is that anything you can get them to focus on snaps them out of it. Now (honey doesn’t work any more) we get one of his stuffed toys and make him watch it up and down & toss it in the air a time or two and he’s fine.
          Does anyone know if this can be genetic or passed through breeding?

          • Lesa says

            I would like to know if it will pass on through breeding. My 2 year old English Staffie has just started doing this and I was hoping to get one litter from her this year.

    • Robyn Z says

      I was searching out head tremors and found your site. Was relieved to see Javi and your information. My Pit Bull April starting getting tremors when she was about 6 mos and like everyone else I rushed her to the hospital. They thought maybe she eat something in the backyard or that she might have a liver shunt(?) That maybe she wasn’t processing the food properly. She is now 9 mos and I just saw one the other night and again tonight. They don’t last very long and they seem to happen when she is at rest. I will try the licking reflex with her next time . No need for peanut butter in April’s case. I can get her to lick by just scratching her butt. Thanks so much for sharing your stories. I feel alot better. Hope everyone’s pup are well and happy.

  14. Cheryl says

    I just ran across your site, and was startled when I saw your post about head tremors. For several years I have gone on dogsledding trips, and the woman who owns the dogs has had a similar issue with a number of her dogs. It has always started a week or so after their puppy vaccinations – I’m not sure how old Cooper is at this point. You can check out her blog – they found a solution that has taken care of the problem for her dogs. Hard to say if it is the same issue, but I thought you could use the info!

    • Maggie says

      Thanks for sharing, Cheryl. I had wondered about the connection to vaccines, so I appreciate the insights.

  15. Tracy says

    My 2 year old Brindle Boxer, Kona has been showing signs of doing this. I noticed it a couple mornings when she woke up but it lasted just a few seconds. This morning while putting her outside for the day she started doing it and it did’nt stop for about a minute. Very Very Scary. She is the best dog I have ever had, so well behaved. I have to say that after reading other dog lovers blogs about this I am not so scared about it. I will try some of the remedy’s suggested. Thanks

  16. Maura says

    My 4 yr old Lab Lucy has been having those for over a week now. The first time was very lengthy and we took her to the Er..not very helpful. The next day we took her to our regular vet and told us to monitor her. She has had about 2-3 a day since then. They put her on very low dose of phenabarbitol but nothing has changed. It always happens when she is sleeping and snaps out of it quickly with treats.
    She has had bloodwork and urinalysis. Both were fine. Next stop neurologist? We don’t want to do any extreme testing in her such as spinal tap. MRI is $1800.

    Our other thought is that Innova has changed their formula. Both dogs have been more itchy scratchy lately so we might switch foods too.

    I’m really not liking the phenabarbitol dependency aspect. Nasty stuff.
    This has been really hard on us since she is otherwise a happy healthy pup. No sleep for me because I’m soooo worried!

    • Maggie says

      We opted against additional tests, too. The vet felt they wouldn’t tell us anything, so I didn’t want to do anything unnecessarily invasive. Hope all’s going well with you and Lucy!

    • levi says

      Hi my dog has just started 2 days ago out of the blue now shes doing everyday 5-10 times a day shes a 2 year lab she carnt sleep at night we had blood tests nothing? Had the vet ring yes day to try her on epilepsy tablets to see if that can cure or help it still carnt understand how one days shes fine we try our best to treat her the same as shes still responsive and can snap out of it, shes shatterd dont know what else to do but maura you are basically describing every thing weve gone through.

      • Amanda says

        I have a yellow lab that will be three in October. Last night, out of the blue, she started to have a head tremor except it isn’t side to side, it’s up and down as if she’s shaking her head yes. For the last hour and a half it keeps continuing on and off. I can distract her out of it pretty easily. The vet this morning told us to keep watch on it and let her know if things get worse. It’s happened about 5-7 times today but ONLY when she is laying down ready to fall asleep. When she stops she seems 100% okay. I grew up with a dog that had seizures and it’s nothing like that but I am still so nervous for her. Did you notice with your dog if this increased or decreased or if anything medicinal wise has helped? I’d take any advice I can get at this point.

        • Malorie says

          When Meatballs tremors first started he had a lot during the day and at night and back to back tremors as well. He is now 3 1/2 and he will go weeks without having tremors and then one day he will have one and then go days without any. Its so hard to see but I dont think it hurts him. Hes alert and the neurologist told us they are idiopathic so theres nothing we can really do but that we shouldnt worry.

  17. Melissa Hoyt says

    Found this website after much research when my Australian Shepherd (10 months) had this twice over the past two days. I’m seriously freaking out (seems to be a common reaction). Ozzy too had this happen after he had awoken from a nap/deep sleep. It seems to me that this is a common time. Also, it only lasted around 10 seconds. I was reading it may have to do with the cerebellum (part of brain that houses motor and coordination). e

    • Maggie says

      That’s really interesting, Melissa. I feel like Coop’s happen after a period of resting. Maybe there’s a connection there?

  18. cindy says

    my 1 1/2 year old just started this yesterday. Of course, we ran her to our vet immediately. The vet did an examination and blood work and told us she was perfectly healthy. She gave us some literature on idiopathic head tremors and told us she had seen it in the past and it is usually worse for the owner than the dog. It is comforting to know that there are others out there like her. ps, our Sparki is the spitting image of your Maggie – they could be twins!!

  19. sofia says

    hi Maggie and boys

    my dog was recently (today) diagnosed with iht. in my google search your post came up first. my vet came to the conclusion after a short exam and based on her previous experience, she has been in practise for 27 yrs. she said her experience with Iht was all in bulldogs, when she left the exam room to get me some info on the condition she said that it is also a condition seen in boxers and dobbermans. she was not concerned and would not be inclined to use anti seizure meds unless it was happening multiple times a week and interfering with eating or other doggie duties etc. i watched cooper’s video and although similar Cash’s head moves more with his tremors, not violently but more. he has only had 3, (within the last 2mth) sand all of them was when he was lying on the couch cuddling. although very scary it was comforting that he was conscious, aware, alert and only his head seemed to be affected. I would love to talk to you about cooper and cash. could you email me if that’s possible.

  20. Lynzee Cranford says

    My foster dog just started exhibiting these tremors. Typically only at night or early in the morning so far. I’m getting very frustrating in dealing with the vet’s office because everything has to go through the rescue, even just being allowed to talk to a vet about his symptoms. I really wish that they’d put the care of the dog first. Anyway, I’m glad to know that there’s other people out there dealing with this condition and it seems that most dogs aren’t in pain or otherwise physically suffering during these episodes.

  21. Shawn says

    Thank you all for posting comments. My bulldog just started these tremors, so your experiences are comforting. Callie has these tremors late at night when she’s half asleep or waking up.

    • Jordan says

      This information is very helpful! Thanks everyone for sharing. My American Bulldog has had these tremors on and off for about a year, nothing seems to cause it and she doesn’t seem upset and usually a dog barking or some attention will get her out of it.

      I feel a little less freaked out.

    • Stacey M. says

      My pittie mix just started having these on Sunday. Hers have occurred throughout the day, but seem to be similar to your dogs. They happen when she’s starting to fall asleep. If I get her to pick her head up, they stop.

  22. Megan says

    SO glad we are not alone!! Tessa, our two year old English Bulldog began having this “seizure like activity” while at the kennel yesterday. It broke my heart that this happened at the kennel without us there to be with her. She has them every time she tries to sleep–just tremors of the head. She has now been assessed by 3 vets w/negative exams & blood work—ruling out any metabolic issues. A vet today placed her on Zonisamide (anti-convulsant) which has allowed her to sleep about an hour at a time. I mentioned IHT to the vet, she is contacting a neurologist tomorrow for more information. I cannot tell if this is a true seizure as she can easily control it when I get her a treat or grab her attention. All I know for sure is that this is very frustrating and I think it upsets us more than her!

  23. Shawn says

    My Callie had one tremor spell a day for about a week. I did not put her on anti-convulsants after I read an article by Dr Glass (google ‘bulldog head tremors, glass’)

    After a week, it progressed to vomiting and bad hives. The vet questions toxic exposure or foreign body, so our next step is an ultra sound to check organs for foreign body. I was feeding her Wellness Simple and switched foods incase it was a factor. She stopped vomiting but continues to appear ill.

    • Shawn says

      Update: Callie had daily head tremors starting 10/9. Unsure of cause, on 10/29 food was changed from Wellness Simple to Performatrin Ultra Grain-Free and changed from tap water to bottled water. All other treats discontinued.

      Last head tremor was 10/31. Within two weeks of food change, Callie became fully healthy with no symptoms to date.

  24. Laura says

    Hi save your money! We have spent nearly $5000 to be told that there is nothing they can do,my little English x Bulldog started them last Wednesday. My partner and I have done some many searches and spoken to soo many people. We didnt want to put her on medication as the Vets and specialists from SASH in North Ryde said they dont really work and why put her on medication when she isnt in any pain. We left and started researching… We have found that its a nerve problem in her head. Which makes sense as she does it only when she is sleepy and the nerves are relaxed and allow the body to show response. When we put our hand on her hand when she is sleepying you can feel the twitch then the bobbing starts. We have her on Calcium tablets 2 in the morning and 2 at night, with a little bit of lactose free milk (you can get the dog one but its the same as lactose free human milk) and 1 1/2 spoons of ice cream morning and night for the sugar, she is also on an amino called Taurin. All of this aids healthy nerve growth and electrical conductivity in the brain and head. And its amazing she has very little bobbing. She is seeing a doggy chiropractor tomorrow and a doggy physio to try and fix the nerve problem.
    The vets say its common in young dogs but dont know why the reason we are finding from our research is that is when they are growing. Hope it helps ill be more than happy to try and help more and talk more my email is

    • Toby says

      Hi Laura,
      My black Lab who is 1 1/2 just started doing this. They last for about 3-7 seconds and she gets them when she is relaxed and sleepy like you said. She gets about 15-20 an hour when she is trying to sleep. When she is up and moving, she shows no signs of them. My question to you is, your vet said its common in young dogs?… So do they outgrow them and if so, usually by when?

  25. Ashley says

    The post above makes sense. I work in a Neurological Movement Disorders unit, and it is common for people with low calcium levels to have tremors. My dog (bulldog/lab mix) just started having Idiopathic Head Tremors the other day. I started researching what was going on and talking to some of the Neurologists I work with. A lot of people online have said that they change their dogs diets, or even give them things like some yougert or cottage cheese, and the tremors have stopped. When I mentioned this to my colleagues, they told me about low calcium levels in humans causing tremors. Hopefully this is the link to why these tremors are happening in our pups! As to why it is mostly in boxer and bulldog breeds, I have no idea. I hope this helps. I am going to the petstore and making sure the dog food I buy has a good amount of calcium and see if Sully’s tremors stop!

    • Laura says

      Nikita has been on herr calcium, turaine and K-Mag since sunday last week and instantly her tremors calmed down (it tasks a while for the levels to build up), she has also seen a chirpractor and since Thursday she has been tremor free!!! So it definately works. we are giving her the supplements so her diet doesnt doesnt change as shes fussy and dont want to give her cheese and yoghurt as she may get fat.

    • Liz says

      I also had success by adding additional Calcium to my Bassets’ diet. If we skip the supplement, the tremors start again within 3 days, which proves to me that the issue is a Calcium deficiency in our case. I have noticed that an episode is more likely to occur during stress or as some of the parents here can attest, tiredness. I have two healthy Bassets and 2 rescues, rescues both with neural problems. H had regular epileptic seizures, he has not had one in more than a year since adding calcium. Butter still has head tremors, not so frequent now, once every six months or so. If I have to guess she is probably more sensitive to low calcium levels due to having had puppies often without proper nutrition (another guess, neither were spayed or neutered when found as strays.)

      Hope this helps.

  26. Megan says

    Anyone else have heat related onset of IHT?? Tessa’s began while she was getting dried in the “dryer” at the kennel. She never had these tremors before but has had them almost every night since this event. The neurologist discontinued the anticonvulsant treatment as these are not believed to be true seizures. She is taking Ativan at night just so she’ll be able to sleep, we’ve also started calcium supplementation.

  27. Elizabeth says

    Hello All,

    The postings here have been very helpful and I wondered if you may have some helpful guidance for my situation. My boxer is 8 years old (perhaps a bit older, she was rescued in the Arabian desert) and has been successfully battling mast cell cancer since last March. Since before she was diagnosed, she had slight head tremors when she was lying down and about to go to sleep. The tremors didn’t seem to bother her and lasted a couple of seconds. The vet and then subsequently the oncologist had no real advice to share. More recently, the tremors are worse. They happen when she is sitting and standing, both occur when she is sleepy, relaxing, or just spacing out which she does a lot of as she is on benadryl, a low dose of predisone, and a small amount of tramadol. She is beginning to fall over when the tremors happen because she loses her balance. My fear is that she is going to get hurt during the fall. Also, this is seriously diminishing her quality of life. She otherwise has a healthy appetite and is still her silly, lovin’ life self. Do any of you have any thoughts about this? I have shared the tremor progression with our primary vet and the oncologist, but they both believe that there is not much to be done. Plus, given what she has been through with the cancer, I don’t want to put her through a battery of additional tests. Your views would be deeply appreciated. Elizabeth and Boo

  28. Sharon says

    We have had this problem with two of our bulldogs after the delivery of puppies. I have since given all of my female bulldogs vanilla yogurt after delivery of puppies and have not had any more issues with head shaking.
    It just involves the head and doesn’t seem to bother the dog at all.
    The yogurt seems to fill two voids one the calcium and the other sugar as it is sweetened.

  29. Kimberlee says

    I have a corgi mix pup named Enzo who is just shy of 2yrs old. He started having these head tremors about 6mo ago. Almost always when he is about to fall asleep and the episodes lasting anywhere from a few seconds to 20min. The vet immediately referred us to a neurologist who said they were focal point seizures and started him on phenobarbitol. We increased his dosage 3 times before they seemed to stop for a couple months. Recently they started up again, albeit they have all been very short. We started seeing a new vet who questioned whether Enzo is really even having seizures at all or if they are these IHT’s. Now i dont know what to do. Should i take him off the meds and see what happens? Maybe introduce some cottage cheese or other supplements and see if they stop and then reduce the phenobarbitol? In the meantime the neurologist recommended we add potassium bromide to his treatment since he is having more episodes. Any advice would be appreciated!

    • Laura says

      Hi, I am no means an expert but i have fixed my Nikita who was having them with Calcium supplements (i didnt want to give her cheese so she wouldnt gain weight) and a supplement called K-Mag (potassium and magnesium) and she has been tremor free for about a month. You can play with the dosage to see what works for your dog but it worked for us

  30. Kat says

    Hi guys,
    I’m so happy to find this information from others. My 12 month old puppy had a head tremor episode today that lasted about 10 minutes. I was so upset and scared that he ran into his crate and continued for a few more. I ended up taking him to the animal ER since it’s Sunday and the doctor said to basically take a wait and see approach. He had done some vigorous running just prior and hadn’t eaten, but that is not uncommon for him. Also, I just switched from puppy to adult food and am wondering if the new food doesn’t have as much calcium. Sometimes I mix in unsweetened greek yogurt which he loves and I will continue to do. It was the saddest thing EVER to see him going through this. It was more pronounced than the video above. Like the other commenters, he really didn’t seem bothered, except by my response to it. Since this morning it has happened two more times but shorter duration, less than a minute. I’ll see my regular, holistic vet tomorrow. The ER doc seemed pretty unconcerned about it. Good luck to all of you.

  31. Elizabeth says

    Hi everyone,

    I posted a couple of weeks ago about my boxer who had mast cell cancer and who had developed tremors that neither her vet nor her oncologist were able to diagnose. I lost my beautiful girl on November 16. The tremors had gotten so bad that she couldn’t sit or stand without falling over. It almost seemed like she was having seizures although she never lost consciousness. Now I think that the cancer had spread to her brain because I haven’t read anything about IHT causing dogs to completely lose their balance. I also have a white American bulldog who (thanks to the research I did on my boxer) I have now identified as also having tremors though very different to my boxer’s. My bulldog shivers when she is excited or stressed out. Although I know she isn’t cold, covering her with a blanket and holding her seems to help. Much appreciation to all of you for the great information on this page. I will stay subscribed to learn more! Elizabeth

    • Kat says

      I’m so sorry for your loss. I have felt some of the deepest grief of my life over the loss of a pet. It’s just beyond words. Wishing you some peace as you move through your grief :(

      • Elizabeth says

        Thank you for the kind note Kat. You are so right, the depth of the grieving is beyond words. I am having a really hard time with her absence, but your words gave me comfort. Much appreciation, Elizabeth

        • Maggie says


          I’m so incredibly sorry for your loss. They’re with us for far too short of a time. I sincerely wish you comfort in this time of pain. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

  32. Valerie says

    Hi everybody, its comforting to read all these similar stories! My 2 year old lab/rhodesian ridgeback/boxer mix has had two short tremor episodes in the last month or so. Just like most of your stories both times she was very sleepy and only lasted about a minute each. Also not at all bothered by it (of course while my heart nearly jumped out of my chest). I used to give her yogurt often and hadn’t for about a month so the calcium theory makes sense! Back to the yogurt we go..

  33. Sharon says

    Thanks to all for sharing; all the advice has been great!
    My 3.5 year old English Bulldog just started doing this yesterday (12/12/12). I took him to the emergency vet and they told me it was Idiopathic Head Bobbing Syndrome (as mentioned above). He did it again, about 15 mins ago, which is how I found this page.
    Laura-Are you still giving the calcium? If so, how’s it going? If not, have the tremors returned? How much calcium, per day, are you giving? Have you heard any other results with the honey, Vitamin E, coconut oil, or peanut butter suggestions?
    Any help/suggestions is greatly appreciated!!!

  34. Sharon says

    Thanks to all for sharing; all the advice has been great!
    My 3.5 year old English Bulldog just started doing this yesterday (12/12/12). I took him
    to the emergency vet and they told me it was Idiopathic Head Bobbing Syndrome
    (as mentioned above). He did it again, about 15 mins ago, which is how I found this page.

    Laura-Are you still giving the calcium? If so, how’s it going? If not, have the tremors
    returned? How much calcium, per day, are you giving? Have you heard any other
    results with the honey, Vitamin E, coconut oil, or peanut butter suggestions?
    Any help/suggestions is greatly appreciated!!!

    • Maggie says

      It’s definitely stressful when they seem to be in distress, Sharon. Hopefully Laura can weigh in on what supplements she gives. I’ve been giving Cooper a fish oil, but I don’t think it’s had any effect on his tremors. It’s hard to tell what is and isn’t related, though. So frustrating!

  35. Laura says

    Hi guys, sorry for the delay. Nikita has been tremor free for.over 1month now so I do believe what we are giving her works it does take a little while for the levels to build up (allow about 10days for this) then you notice the change. So what I give her is:
    About 60mls of milk with powder calcium in it (amount varies to what she feels like having) i give her this morning and night.
    1k-mag tablet – you can get these from a normal chemist. They are a magnesium and potassium supplement used to aid nerve response.
    1 cod liver oil tablet to improve immune system and nerves also. Also just from a normal chemist.
    Give the tablets once a day. The calcium powder I use is cheese flavoured from a pet store she loves it.

    • Maggie says

      Thanks for sharing your plan. So glad she’s been tremor free. I think I may have to try the calcium for Cooper.

    • Antoinette says

      I hope it works for you but my Doberman had a break of 6-7 months with no tremors but they are now back :( weird as its started the same time as it did last year .

  36. Rebecca says

    Hi all,

    Very glad to find this site and see other have experienced the same worries as me! I am a vet myself but specialise in horses, at approx 1 year old my collie x whippet started eliciting these side to side head tremors, exactly as your dog did in the video, it most commonly occurs whilst he is laying down and with something to stimulating (like the sight of his ball) can be snapped out of it, although he may resume the side to side tremors again once stimulus is removed.

    Apart from happening more when he is laying down or sleeping there seemed to be no consistent pattern to the tremors. We went through a whole barrage of blood tests etc and ended up seeing two different neurologists (one who told me he was normal- I’m a vet for Christ sake! Doh!) and the second who performed a spinal tap to check the CSF fluid for meningitis and looking for certain indicators of infectious diseases ( like distemper) and he also has an MRI. Both were completely normal and the neurologist sad the most likely diagnosis is a focal partial seizure. In simple terms this is when a specific point in the brain spontaneously starts having electrical activity that self resolves without developing into a generalised seizure. The reason for this is unknown and treatment depends on whether his clinical signs get worse or the episodes get longer in duration. For the moment I have opted to monitor as the episodes are so infrequent and don’t seem to affect him for the worse.

    Hope this helps- will happily answer any questions if anyone wants anything clarified.


    • Maggie says

      Thanks for taking the time to go into great detail, Rebecca! It’s reassuring to hear a vet’s perspective.

  37. Elizabeth says

    Hi Rebecca,

    I found your post really interesting, particularly the likely diagnosis of focal partial seizure. My boxer passed a month ago from mast cell cancer. The absence of her sweet boxer self has devastated the whole family, but helping her cross was the kindest thing we could do for her. Shortly before her cancer diagnosis, she began having head tremors when she laid down and was in the process of lying her head down. These lasted only seconds, but then — over a period of months — they began to increase. The last week of her life the tremors would happen while she was sitting and they were so violent that they would cause her to fall over if we didn’t hold her. The final day she fell while standing up and, because of other signs (not eating, wanting to sleep outside on the concrete, etc..) we knew it was time to end her suffering. We didn’t want to put her through all the tests that your little guy took because of her diagnosis, but I am still wondering what caused these tremors which — at the end of her life — appeared to be more like convulsions although she never lost consciousness. Any insights you could provide would be most appreciated! Elizabeth

  38. Rebecca says

    Hi Elizabeth,

    So sorry to hear about your dog. It’s never easy losing a beloved family friend. My thoughts would be that the tremors were definately related to the mast cell cancer, either directly via small tumours growing in her brain, likely to her cerebellum if there was a loss of balance? The other possibility is through high calcium levels in her blood- this is always hand in hand with mast cell tumours and most cancers. As discussed about calcium disturbances can result in muscle tremors. Hope this helps?

    Rebecca ( and Branston Pickle )

  39. Rebecca says

    Pps- the neurologist I met with suggested Keppra (Levatiracetum) as a treatment in Branstons tremors progressed. Anyone tried this with their dogs? It works very well
    In humans.


  40. Elizabeth says

    Thank you to everyone for the expressions of sympathy for the loss of my beloved Boo. To say that I am “grieving” doesn’t even come close to the emotional void that I am experiencing.

    A couple of quick follow-up questions for Rebecca if you’ll indulge me here. :) Boo’s oncologist always maintained that the tremors (even when they worsened significantly) had nothing whatsoever to do with her cancer. I always felt that there had to be a connection, particularly when at the end the tumors were growing like wild fire on her skin and the tremors were terrible. But you said something about a connection between calcium and mast cell cancer — does this type of cancer cause a calcium deficiency or overproduction? I fed her the Budwig protocol everyday (in addition to high quality/high protein food and loads of immune boosters and other anti-cancer supplements) which is a mixture of fish oil and cottage cheese. The oncologist never mentioned a calcium connection (but then never mentioned anything but chemo.) Just trying to understand the connection so I can be a better mom if this ever happens again to one of my furries. Thank you so much for your patience and thank you to everyone for your kindness. Elizabeth with spirit Boo and her sister in body bulldog Pie

  41. Rebecca says

    Did Boo ever have an MRI? Many cancers result in high levels of calcium as a result of chemical and inflammatory proteins given off by the tumours themselves.
    I suppose the more likely option is one of the mast cell tumours started growing in her brain, it sounds like Boo had advanced an aggressive mastocytoma. I would say however I am just a general practitioner so if a specialist neurologist and oncologist felt they weren’t related then I would tend to believe them? Just very unlucky to have two conditions at the same time perhaps . My gut feeling tells me they have got
    to be linked!

    I know mast cell tumours are very common in certain breeds and especially
    Boxers so the only lesson worth knowing is if any lump appears that you not happy with get your vet to take a look and take a sample ASAP.

    Hope this helps


  42. Elizabeth says

    Thank you once again Rebecca. Very helpful. When we first discovered the first lump on her right thigh, we scheduled surgery immediately to have it removed and, while prepping for surgery, our primary vet found several other lumps and referred us to an oncologist instead of trying to remove everything. When we first saw the oncologist, she did an initial ultrasound to see if the cancer had spread internally, but there was nothing visible. We went through three kinds of chemo, she took prednisone throughout (which caused her to have muscle wasting and pant/pee constantly), benadryl, pepcid, and all kinds of other supplements (K9 Immunity Plus being one of the primary ones.) By the time the tremors got really bad, our strong Boo girl had been through so much we decided not to haul her out to the specialty hospital to have an MRI. We never consulted with a neurologist because we knew that s/he would order unpleasant tests and the prognosis was already poor with the cancer. Plus, I had read many articles about idiopathic tremors and had the impression that — even if extensive testing was done — there isn’t a whole lot that can be done. Then, almost overnight, the tumors started growing very quickly all over her body. On her last day, her left ear flopped over and was twitching. She was losing control over her body, piece by piece. I’m with you — my gut told me that the tremors were related to the cancer and it had spread to her brain. In all my reading on mast cell cancer, I did not read anything about the link with calcium levels and am most grateful for that information. It will go into my brain vault and I will share it with others! Much appreciation again, Elizabeth

  43. janis says

    My tibetan terrier started with tremors last night and then again today. Vet said this morning that he couldn’t see any issues. The breeder said she has heard of this but not in her pups and will research this. What she has heard was that it typically starts at about 4 or 5 months and stopped at about 9 months, of course this is in TTs and might be different for other breeds. Very scary to watch. His last shots were several weeks ago, so I do not think it was that. I am going to try the added calcium people were suggesting. Thanks

  44. divvydog says

    We have a young English Bulldog Female Puppy who has just begun to present head tremors. It is sooooo scary, I’m glad your temperament keeps you calm! One thing I read that can, but not always, works with Bulldogs is to give them honey or Karo syrup. A glucose level check can be as simple as a blood test from your regular vet and can help rule out blood sugar problems. It’s not always the answer because idiopathic is what we (sometimes) joke is the “you’re and idiot for worrying about everything” diagnosis.

  45. Andrew Hagelshaw says

    Our 18 month old pit bull Jasmine has been dealing with head tremors for the last few months. They usually happen at night or in the early morning, when she is resting. The one pattern we have noticed is they seem to happen after times when she gets really stressed out. She seems fine during- even one time wanted her belly rubbed while she was having one. We, of course, freak out and get worried. We have taken her to several vet appointments, and the one thing that shows up in her blood work is low blood sugar, which can bring on head tremors. But tests have shown its not an insulinoma and its not addison’s deisease, so our vet had no clue what’s causing her blood sugar issues. We’re hoping its due to a big growth spurt she has been going through for the last few months, and she’ll outgrow it. Very scary and upsetting- she seems to be a pretty healthy dog in other ways.

  46. Adela says

    Rocky, our four year old Boxer just started having tremors last night, then again in the morning, and one more time tonight. Going to try the calcium and a visit to the very. This is all so scary, but we are doing or best to keep calm for our baby’s sake.

  47. cindy says

    My Sparki started her tremors about six month ago at about a year and a half old. As almost everyone else has done, we rushed to the vet who did blood tests and said that it was IHT. I have been monitoring her for a pattern and have put her on the yogurt treatment. She has an episode about every 4-5 weeks, usually at night or first thing in the morning. I have noticed that she drinks alot of water either before or during her episodes. Has any else notices this?

  48. Antoinette says

    Snoopy my Doberman first did is last year Xmas day , we took him to specialists and they also said its just head tremors , don’t know what causes it and that from what ey know it doesn’t harm them . I was told some vets may try to give anti seizure meds but to avoid these as they are unnecessary and won’t help . Snoops did this regularly once or twice a week for a month or so ..well that we witnessed he may have done it more …always when relaxed .. He has never been stressed when he has had a tremor . Interesting we were talking to a friend of ours who is a vet in October and she asked how the tremors were . It dawned on us Snoops hadn’t had any for six months or so then once again just before Xmas they started again . I’ve seen three since then the last being today . Again usually when he is relaxed or just wakes up and I seem to be able to get him out of it with food . Sad though as he doesn’t like it , today I could hear him rushing up and down the hall looking for me throughout the house he eventually found me and comes rushing over with his head shaking away , cute in a way like a child saying look look what’s wrong . It’s difficult as I know they say its nothing to worry about but on the other side it’s not normal and as the specialist told us they basically don’t know much about it except they don’t think it hurts or will harm them.

  49. Felicia Lisa says

    I have had this little Schnauzer mix for about 10 months now. She’s a rescue with no prior history available – age approx 18 -20 months. About a month ago I noted an abrupt change in her eating habits. She went from a dainty *one kibble at a time* eater to inhaling her bowl in seconds – like 10-15 second. I’m the only one who feeds her and this change appeared over night. I placed a flat rock in the center of her food bowl which has helped slow her down, but she continues to be a frantic food GULPER. Here we are a short time later and this morning she had a few minor head tremors. Ck’d her over for a possible tick on her neck/spine and found nothing out of the ordinary on her anywhere. After a full body I checked her ROM etc. She seemed perfectly fine. This evening she has had several “head shaking” episodes that are more pronounced yet I can call her and she’ll get up and walk over appearing fine and the tremors cease. They happen more often when she’s relaxed just observing us as others have stated.

    No increased water consumption….

    I have a friend in FL and her boxer started this “out of the blue” when he was about 18 months old. There has been no contbetweeneent the dogs. After a thorough work up he was DX’d with IHT.

  50. Benjamin Jones says

    I have Two Boxers and our white one Zydeco started to get head tremors about 5 months ago. We had a full blood panel done and everything was OK. Dr put her on seizure meds and after about 3 weeks she was still having them. I took her off medicine and started her on Vitamin B-complex. From all the research I have done and reading through several Vet medical journals this seems to be the only thing that actually works.
    So If you dog is having Head tremors have a blood panel done “for the just in case”. If nothing comes up try Vitamin B-complex. Don’t give them Seizure medicine as it does damage the pups liver.

    • Antoinette says

      I was told by the specialist as well to stay away from seizure meds as they don’t work . Snoops stopped for around 10 months then started up again last month and seems to have stopped again . Vit B may have helped but seems it looks like its something that comes and goes . The specialists I went to said they basically have no idea and looking at the research that has been done they are not very close to finding out :( luckily he has stopped for now but what was interesting is they started last year around Xmas went off and on for a few months , stopped then started back up just before Xmas this year and have now stopped again ? Looks awful when it happens poor Snoops is a sook and last time it happened he came rushing around the house to find me , stood there looking at me shaking away .

  51. Dana says

    My 3 year old curly coat retriever, border collie mix has had a single event (so far) 4 days ago. However while he had a head tremor, he was also unsteady and had trouble walking. One eye was partially closed and head tilted. Shied away from my hand when I reached out to him toward his face. Not sure how long this went on as we had just arrived home. That day he was completely normal running and playing however did not eat his dinner. No interest in food or treats which is different from other accounts. Called vet that evening and his assessment was likely an inner ear infection. Brody laid still and did not attempt to get up for about an hour. He finally moved to his bed and slept. The next morning he appeared normal. Ate breakfast, drank water and normal movements. Went to the vet that morning. No ear problems or anything else. I am waiting on blood work now.

    The vet thinks it is epilepsy but I am not sure what we witnessed was a seizure. But did involve more than just his head. He did not have full control of his legs and noticed he scratched his ear with his back leg and then sort of held his leg up for several seconds like he could not bring it back to rest. He is completely normal, jovial high energy self so no idea what caused this. I hope we never see it again. Any thoughts or similar experiences are appreciated.

  52. says

    I have a lab 7months old who just started with the head tremors.My vet said it is untreatable but the dog can live a nomal life.If it was cerebellar abiotrophy then it would be fatal.His symtoms are more like idiopathic head tremors.acures when falling asleep,easily discourged with food or post tic symtoms after(eg. sleepy or needs too sleep).My question is do all these remedies eg.mag. potassium and calcium work and can it be human form ?Or do you have too get it from your vet?

  53. Erica says

    My current Doberman has the tremors and so did one of my past Doberman’s ( now deceased). The deceased dobeman died about a year after I first noticed the tremors, of lymphoma…not sure if there is a connection; both dobermans male. It was very frightening the first time, because the vet had no idea what was going on. Thanks to websites like this, I was able to ease my worries. Just want to see if anyone that has experienced the tremors in their dobermans has lost them to lymphoma?

    • Linda says

      I have a female Dobermann pup. She started with the head bobbing when she was 6 mos old. Finally got the Vet to see them and after she did some research it has been decided that she has Idiopathic Head Shaking. The cause is unknown but it is a genetic disorder. There is no danger to the animal because of it. We also discussed the possibility of Focal Seizures, but the shaking does not last long enough to merit the giving of any meds. By the time we were to retrieve the meds, the shaling is done. Most seizures will last for a minute or more, so we have dismissed that possibility for now.

  54. Antoinette says

    I lost my male Doberman at 4 but the vet thinks it was his heart or anbleed in the brain as it was very sudden . He was a big Male but had never had any head tremors . Snoopy who we have now is also big at 55kg he is 3 and started a yearbagomwith the tremors however they seem to start then stop for several months . At the moment he hasn’t had one for a few months well not at I’ve seen and he hangs around us all the time

  55. Rebecca J says

    I haven’t noticed anyone on this forum linking the tremors to certain noises, but our 15-year old beagle-mix started to have tremors linked to metallic noises, like dropping pans, two pans clinking together or metal tags clinking. She is on Lasix, and she has congestive heart disease, but she still quite active and able to run without coughing. In fact, I have a hard time keeping up with her. I noticed that these tremors related to noise started about the time her hearing really got worse. Our vet said that her mix of poodle and Dalmation makes her hearing loss possibly genetically related. She wasn’t ill, and there was no sign of infection. I have given her a high potency, water soluble b-vitamin supplement that seems to help, and I will try calcium. Has anyone noticed sound-related tremors? She has no tremors unless stimulated by metallic sounds, not light, nor movement. Any ideas?

    • Teri-Lynn says

      I have noticed this beng related to stressful incidents… Note what “we humans” may find stressful is very different from that of a dog… There was a small stressor -as far as out baby boy is concerned- that could’ve brought his on this evening…and there are studies showing this as a possibility, as well as the low blood sugar/calcium link, hence the cottage cheese/honey (or Karo) remedies… Please let me know via email if anyone digs up anything else?

  56. Diane and Tony says

    Our two-year-old pug/beagle mix began having head tremors just over a month ago. The first one happened about an hour after I’d witnessed him colliding at a full run with his big brother (a considerably larger dog) in the front yard… Three different veterinarians therefore believe the tremors were caused by a head/brain stem injury.

    Our regular vet prescribed phenobarbital, but we had concerns about side-effects, which range from lethargy to liver damage. So we opted not to give him phenobarbital, and instead sought alternative care/treatment from a DVM with 30 years experience, who practices both western and eastern veterinary medicine.

    After three acupuncture treatments and a three week course of Chinese herbs (powder form, taken with food twice daily), our “puggle” is doing remarkably better! Before treatment, he’d been having several episodes daily. Now, it has been several days since his last episode. They are drastically decreasing in frequency, duration and severity.

    In our case, actually witnessing a collision/accident/injury helped with proper diagnosis (rather than just “idiopathic.”) If you have a rough-and-tumble type of dog like ours who is experiencing head tremors, don’t rule out a head injury — even if you might not have witnessed it taking place.

    The acupuncture and Chines herbs are effective in clearing blood stagnation in the brain stem that resulted from the injury… without ANY side effects (unlike phenobarbital.) We are very glad that we pursued alternative treatments, and so relieved our dog is getting better!

  57. Elizabeth says

    Thank you for your posting Diane. A good reminder that head trauma is something to keep in mind. Also, it is helpful to know that Chinese herbs and acupuncture were successful. So happy for you and your puggle baby! Elizabeth

  58. Sandy says

    My AMPT, Raphaela, had an episode yesterday morning at around 3am with 3 more in quick succession in the 45 minutes afterwards. We went directly to the emergency vet hospital – I thought maybe she’d been poisoned because I’d just let her outside to go potty. Luckily for me she had another episode upon arrival at the vet’s so they were able to see what had me so worried. She had no more episodes until I picked her up around 2pm in the afternoon and then she had many in quick succession until about 8pm when they finally started slowing down. She had a few through the night but they didn’t seem to bother her much. None this morning from 4:45am to 6:30am so I came to work. The neurologist asked me to keep a log of any episodes and to record any I could and send to him. I just wish I knew why it was happening. They did a bunch of tests and determined her to be an average healthy 3yo pitbull. If the tremors continue with the same intensity, I’ll have them do an MRI so we can rule out a brain tumor or lesion.

  59. Alicia says

    My bulldog started these tremors in December. They were very infrequent and always at night when he was asleep. In March he started to have them every other week and the vet put him on seizure medication. We tried many different medications and nothing controlled the tremors which were becoming a daily occurrence sometimes lasting for more than 8 minutes. That’s when I found an article on idopathic head bobbing syndrome. I’m now convinced my dog doesn’t have seizures. I wish I knew why this happens and we have another appointment at the vet tonight.

  60. Katlyne says

    My husband & I have a pittbull named Dexter. It’s just over a year & we’ve noticed that he will shake his head exactly like your dog Cooper in the video. It doesn’t seem to put him in pain…. It seems more annoying than anything. Anyway, we were telling our friend about what he does & she informed us to try to give him something salty & something sweet … We ended up giving me a couple cheez-it’s with peanut butter on it & right before our eyes instantly the shakes went away. We haven’t tried anything else other than the cheez-it’s with some peanut butter over them because it works!! & there is no reason to fix something that isn’t broken! My suggestion instead of any medications that may or may not fix the problem, that are very expensive… Just give the cheez-it’s & peanut butter a try.. I’m sure you will be amazed as well!!

    • Sandy says

      Thanks to everyone that posted! As an update, Raphaela continued to have many tremor episodes on Wednesday and into Thursday but they started waning on Thursday evening and as far as I am aware she hasn’t had any since then. I used the diversionary tactics mentioned in this blog and found them very helpful. All the best to you and your furry companions :)

  61. Maggie says

    Thanks for updating us, Sandy! How’s everyone else doing? No real changes here for Cooper. I’m getting faster at diverting him out of it, though!

  62. Erica Hunn says

    My American Bulldog, Whiskey, is being treated for a parvo outbreak in our area and she contracted it. Last night before I took her to emergency care, she started doing this. I was terrified she was having a seizure but found another video of a boxer doing this. Whiskey is depressed from the parvo but she seemed alert during this. She looked up at me when I called her name in a blind panic. It slowed when I laid her head down. Since then, she has had four. Since 1am this morning. She is now at the vets on an IV. I just found this post and am very happy there is nothing severe wrong with her as far as we can tell so far. Thank you and good luck to Cooper.

  63. Kat says

    Our 17-month old Dobe recently began the head tremors. We’ve only had her for 3 months. At first I thought it was really intense sniffing, but after the second episode I realized that’s not it at all. I’ve seen her do it twice and my husband once. Will try the calcium routine with either the cottage cheese or vanilla yogurt and report back.

  64. Sandy says

    Erica – My thoughts are with Whiskey and my prayers are for her speedy recovery. Raphaela has continued to be tremor free so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will be so for your pup as well. Best wishes to you and the rest of the pups and their companions dealing with this perplexing situation.

  65. Laura says

    Hi, Just thought I would provide an update about Nikita she has been incident free for a few months now we still give her calcium but have lowered it to every second day and give her supplements twice a week (cod liver oil), The only impact we have noticed is that with long exercise she can get disorientated, so we limit it to short more frequent exercise.

  66. Maggie says

    Thanks for the updates and for sharing your stories, everyone! I’m in the process of contacting vets trying to find someone with expertise on idiopathic head tremors. I’m hoping to get a guest post and/or a Q&A together because I think we all could use a little more information and answers! Hug your babies!

  67. Sandy says

    Thanks for doing that, Maggie. I’ve found your blog to be very insightful. Please give Cooper a big hug from us :)

  68. Gail says

    I experienced this for the first time last night in my 21 month old Lab, Barlow. He was sleeping, laying across my legs while I was watching TV. I felt the “twitching” and thought he was having a puppy dream, so nudged him. Kept doing it, I called his name and shuck him a little harder, still doing it. Finally I looked down and saw that he was awake and his eyes were focused on me. I realized something was wrong. Got him up and he stopped and seemed fine. Later that night while laying on the bed he started up again, and then when he was curled up in his bolster bed again. That’s when we googled and found all of this info on head tremors. Barlow was bred and raised to be a guide dog for the blind, but was career changed for behavior reasons. He has always been in the best of health and now this. I’m relieved to hear that it’s common, and supposedly not life threatening Still one wonders why? He had a normal day, no stress, heavy exercise, etc. so not sure what set it off. I will continue to read more and will contact Guide Dogs for the Blind’s Vet Clinic to see what they have to say.

    • Sandy says

      Gail – sorry to hear about Barlow. Is it possible he got into something in the yard? My vet mentioned that head tremors in humans can be caused by certain toxins – which I’m wondering if Raphaela’s was from as she’s not had another episode since I first wrote about them. I had just laid bark in the yard the day before and the last two bags I put down smelled “off” – kind of moldy – I’m wondering if that might have been the problem as she was “rooting” around in it. I checked and it wasn’t Cocoa Bark, just the regular old pine kind. I’m hoping it was a one off kind of thing. Best of luck!

  69. Gail says

    I just read Linda’s comment. Update on Barlow. I have only noticed the tremors three times – all three times he was laying on his side with his head either draped over my legs (while watching TV) or draped over the bolster of his bed. Each time I lifted his head out of that position, the shaking stopped. I’m wondering if it’s a nerve in the neck area or the cervical spine that is being impinged when he lays in that position.

    Glad to hear that after reading all these comments the general concensus is no danger to the dog.

  70. Linda says

    We had Lady Liberty (Libby xrayed yesterday and everything looked normal. She was a bit stressed at the Vet so the Dr wa able to take pictures of the head bobbing. She called me this morning gave me her diagonosis…Idiopathic head bobbing syndrome.Said it was genetic like I said before. Libby is not always a Bobblehead…only whenshe is tired or stressed.

  71. Marilyn says

    I have a horrible experience to share with you – don’t worry, it has turned out okay. I recently switched our Lab puppy (18 months old), Tucker, to partial diet of homemade food. I was still feeding him Hill’s ND (cancer formula) 1 can and the equivilent of one can of the homemade diet. I was giving him a calcium supplement and some other supplements since he is undergoing chemotherapy.

    Yesterday morning, around 3 a.m., we woke up to Tucker having terrible, what appeared to be seizures, involving his head. The tremors were so violent that his lips were flapping and making noise. SCARED is not the word. We went to the E-vet where they didn’t have many answers but said that Tucker was having Petit mal seizures. They gave him a shot and we left there and went to our regular Vet that opened at 8 a.m. We did complete panel blook work and it all looked good. They continued to blast him with valium injections and sent us home with an iv port and some injections for me to do at home in case this continued. The episodes were lasting up to 30 minutes. It was awful. We had used both vials of meds by 1 hour later and were back at the vet. They then decided to try him on Phenobarbital since they felt he was having seizures but I didn’t think he was. He was totally coherent during the episodes and responded to commands. We were there all day and finally made it home late yesterday afternoon with 2 shots of Phenobarbital in him and a shot in case of emergency and a prescription for Phenobarbital. Every time he laid down to sleep the head tremors started again.

    In the meantime, my really good friend (and wonderful doggie Mom), Sherri, had been researching like a mad woman. She found information on Ideopathic Head Tremors in dogs. There are tons of dogs that have this, it is not harmful to them, and appears to be intermittent. After reading for hours on this blog and finding a section from a Veterinary Neurology book (page 216 & 217), we determined that this is what Tucker had. In reading through the blog, I found a common thread of calcium deficiency. I immediately gave him some cottage cheese and 2 calcium soft gels. I did not give the Phenobarbital last night after getting home from the Vet. He is markedly improved with only a few really mild episodes last night. I also switched him back to full Hill’s ND diet until I can dial in his calcium requirements with the homemade diet.

    The other cause could have been the Vincristine from Tuesday’s chemo treatment but, we are thinking it was calcium deficiency even though his blood work showed his calcium within normal levels.

    I am sorry this is SO long but wanted to share because we were frightened beyond belief and want to spread the word in case this happens to you. If it does, a little honey or peanut butter will help the episode stop or even distracting with a toy will stop it. We are hoping this is over, for the most part, but in reading the blog it can be internmittent and come and go with months in between episodes. Right now he is resting and happy with no tremors. Thank God!

  72. Antoinette says

    Interesting ,Snoop is now 4 . Heis a large Doberman , our second . The first never had a tremor Snoops has them . He has them on and off and can go months without one -well that we see anyway – possibly he could have them while we are at work I don’t know – luckily we went straight to a very good specialist who sent us home with the information and the advice there isn’t much you can do and they don’t seem to affect the dogs health . We were told the local vets may try to give anti seizure meds etc but avoid this as it does not help for Idiopathic Head Tremors. Snoops hadnt had any for at least six months and the other night I woke to head shaking away . Funnily enough though he was on a diet that included alot of calcium and he still got them , we went to home made food , premium food etc but thy still come and go sometime mons apart. I know the Doberman society in the States were researching as its more pre levant in this breed but as far as I’m aware it’s still unknown . We had a top neuro specialist look at Snoops and luckily we had video , thankfully she did not have to do any testing she knew straight away it was Idiopathic . Hope yours settle down but don’t be surprised if they appear to stop then months later you see it again , we went around 7 months from when he was first noticed to be doing this and he had several episodes in those two weeks then nothing for at least seven months and now they seem to come and go but not on a regular basis however they could be happening when we are not around but I don’t think so . Snoops has them when he is relaxed or sleeping and the information I was given said this is when most dogs get them this way .

  73. Antoinette says

    For his cancer I was told by another very good vet to look into Dr Budwig who was a German scientist and curing cancers with cottage cheese and flaxseed oil . ThIs vet is amazing so please check it out as I had a quick google and from what I was reading I thought if I ever had anyone in the family I would be straight on it . Dr Joana Budwig was apparently employed by the German gov back in the 30s for her work n fats and oils was nominated for the Nobel award , from what I briefly read someone you wouldn’t dismiss . Hope it all goes well

  74. Maggie says

    Hey, everyone! If you’re still following along on this thread, I wanted to let you know that a veterinary clinic wrote up a brief article about idiopathic head tremors for us. You can find it here:

    They’re also willing to answer specific questions, so if you have any questions, please visit that post (not this one – they’re only going to check that post) and leave your question in the comments!

  75. Lori says

    I, too, am relieved to know that other pet lovers have experienced this with their dog and that it probably is not a seizure or epilepsy/stroke. I have Zee, short for Zoloft, an Arkansas rescue pup who I bring to my therapy office every day to comfort my clients. She is beagle/boxer/dingo, 2 years old approx., 30 lbs. Anyhow, do any of your dogs experience drooling when this occurs? I’ve noticed a wet spot from time to time where she rests her head in her bed, thought it was normal sleep-drooling. But today’s episode was the first one I saw in person (at work, while in session no less!) and she had the head tremor, glazed eyes as if she were sleeping with her eyes open, and there was a drool spot where she had rested her head. She snapped out of it when my client and I patted her and talked to her, and she’s been fine the rest of the day. Before this nap I noticed that she seemed very picky about where to sleep and finally went to her bed which she usually has avoided in the summer. So, anyone have a drooler or experienced glazed sleep-walker eyes??
    Many thanks.

  76. Janine says

    My dog also has idiopathic head tremors. She’s a 6 year old Shepherd-Husky mix. She was diagnosed back in 2009 with “psychomotor seizures”, but after doing some online research, I’m convinced it’s idiopathic head tremors. Many of the descriptions from dog owners that I’ve read online (plus the videos of dogs experiences the head tremors) describe my dog exactly! We call them the ‘head shakes’. They always occur when she has been lying down sleeping and suddenly wakes up, although sometimes they appear to start when she has been startled out of sleep. A few times we thought that they started because she was overly tired, but I’m not convinced that’s the case. During the head shakes, she is alert, responsive, and doesn’t appear to be in any pain whatsoever. She will respond to commands and even wag her tail. We are able to break the head shakes with treats/food/peanut butter. Often they stop immediately with a treat and don’t restart, but other times they restart within 2-3 minutes and can again be stopped with treats. She typically experienced head shakes about once every 3-5 months since 2009, but in the past 2 weeks she has experiencing them daily, sometimes up to 3 different times per day. They have only increased in frequency, not severity, but the increased frequency worries me. Any thoughts or suggestions? I’m taking my dog to a holistic vet this week to get his recommendations. Has anyone tried a particular type of diet, vitamins, acupuncture, etc.?

  77. Diane and Tony says

    Janine, the frequency of our dog’s tremors has been drastically reduced (down from daily episodes to once about every 4 months) with acupuncture and Chinese herbs. He is a pug/beagle mix (“puggle.”) The vet also believes the onset of the tremors had something to do with a neck/cervical spine injury that likely occurred when our dogs collided at a full run in the yard. Chiropractic adjustments have also helped. You are doing the right thing by (1) checking this blog… which also got us started on the right path and (2) seeking holistic treatment. We truly understand how unsettling the tremors can be (mostly for owners) and hope your dog has them less often — or better yet — not at all. Kind regards.

    • Janine says

      Thank you so much for your reply. And yes, all of the information on this blog has been tremendously helpful! I have an appointment with a holistic vet 2 days from now, and I will be sure to mention this to him. I also identified a neurological specialist in my area, and if I need to go that route I will do so. Abby’s tremors have been occuring daily off and on throughout the day in the past week . . . they used to occur once every 4 months or so. Thus, this increased frequency is very concerning and I need to figure out how to reduce the tremors. Thank you again for the information!

      • Maggie says

        Janine, Best of luck! Let us know how it goes with the holistic vet. I’m curious about alternative treatments.

  78. Rick says

    I have witnessed our 3yr old cockapoo-puggle, Patches experiencing this head-bobbing. When it first happened, I was concerned that it might be a side effect of using a bark collar. Can we rule this out? Has anybody else used a shock collar to train their dog and had them exhibit this behaviour.

    • Maggie says

      One of the themes that has emerged from these discussions – on this post and on the other two about head tremors – is that stress seems to cause or exacerbate the condition. There’s no question that a shock collar causes stress to a dog. I think it stands to reason that by using the shock collar, you’re creating additional stress for Patches, which could cause the head tremors. I would strongly encourage you to look into other non-aversive methods to work on Patches’ excessive barking. I’d be happy to share some resources and tips with you.

      • Rick says

        Unfortunately, we all have to deal with stress, including our pets. The bark collar has been the only thing that works to control his incessant warning when anything happens in the yard. He barks continuously even if somebody so much as walks by on the street. At least with the collar he will whimper instead of bark. It even works long after the batteries are dead. Unfortunately what he has learned is that he is not allowed to bark when he wears the collar. If he doesn’t have the collar on he is back to his old self. For this reason, we recognize that it isn’t extremely effective, however, we need something to control him when people are trying to sleep. Of course I am open to suggestions. My biggest concern was that the shock collar could cause neurological side effects that might be permanent.

        • Maggie says

          I agree – we all have to deal with stress. My point was that a shock collar causes undue stress, which could exacerbate a stress-induced condition like head tremors. I have a handful of resources for you, which I linked to below. As you said, you’re worried about permanent damage, and there is a ton of research that shows that the use of shock collars causes a mix of physical and psychological damage. I know you have Patches’ best interest at heart, so some of the links below should help guide you. Also, I don’t know where you are geographically, but I’d be happy to hook you up with a positive trainer in your area.

          But a couple quick thoughts: Before you start training anything, make sure Patches is getting plenty of exercise – long walks, hikes, jogs, swimming, fetch, whatever. You’ve probably heard the saying “a tired dog is a good dog” and it’s true, though I’d add that a tired dog is a QUIET dog! My dog Cooper is an excessive barker… it’s high-pitched and SO annoying, especially since I work from home. I’ve found that a 25-minute jog in the morning cuts his barking in half. The other half I use a mix of “on your bed” and “that’s enough,” which I discuss below.

          You mentioned that the collar isn’t effective but you need control when people are trying to sleep. Have you tried putting Patches in a crate when people are sleeping? If the crate is located in a quiet area of your house without visual or auditory access to the outside, that should go a long way to help! If you can’t find a quiet area, drape a dark colored cotton sheet over the crate. Also, the warning thing in the yard is a totally normal dog behavior, but I would suggest training a command to stop after a few warning barks. I use “thank you” or “that’s enough” with my guys… I allow them to do their natural warning bark for a couple seconds, then I let them know that I can take it from there.

          Here are some links for you:

          I have a ton more references, and I’m happy to answer any more specific questions! Please let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help support you in transitioning from a bark collar!

  79. says

    My 3 1/2 rednose. (Neutered male) has done this wierd teeth chattering. (For lack of a better word) for a couple years or so. This happens generally if excitment level up. But twice the last 2 days while this chattering is going on it appears his scalp is moving almost like there are bugs moving under his skin. When this happens he gets a “mean” look in his eyes..

  80. Malorie says

    I have an english bulldog who is 2 years old and he has been getting these head tremors since he was 6 months old. Its always while he is sleeping. His head shakes side to side. Sometimes he will go days without any, and other days we will be up all night with him having back to back tremors. Does this get better as they get older? What foods are your dogs on? We took him off grain and have tried different foods but the only thing we seem to find is that he has more tremors when he is in pain like when he has an ear infection.

    • Maggie says

      Hi, Malorie: I’m so sorry you’re going through this. It’s so stressful, but according to every vet we’ve talked to, the good thing to remember is that it doesn’t seem to cause lasting harm to your pup.

      Cooper’s head tremors have decreased in frequency. While I don’t have any scientific evidence as to why, I have a few theories: He is SUPER sensitive to everything. He has food intolerances, allergies, he reacts to the rabies vax, and so on. When his system is affronted, he has an increase in tremors. When I can keep his eating clean and keep him away from his allergens (nearly impossible, but I try) he stays tremor-free. Last week, he got attacked by fire ants and he had tremors for days afterward. He hasn’t had a single tremor since then, though.

      I’d suggest starting a journal to track the tremors – I’m in the process of putting together a free printable to download, so stay tuned – and if any patterns emerge, you can adjust accordingly.

      Good luck!

      • Malorie says

        My english bulldog is on simplicef for 2 days now for an infection under his tail and he had been having back to back tremors. He had 7 in a row last night. Then 4 today. Has anyone found anything to help or why this happens??

  81. Javi says

    Hey everybody. Can’t believe it’s been over a year since I found this awesome blog. I posted my experience with IHT in June of 2012 about Roscoe and I just want to do a quick update on his condition. Since that time he has had maybe a total of 5 tremors, which is great in my opinion. Some were quick while maybe 2 of them were quite long, like a minute or so. Like everybody has stated, distractions seem to work best but I’ve accepted that sometimes it just doesn’t work. You just have to ride it out with them. One time I covered his eyes and pulled him under the covers with me and it stopped almost immediately. The following time I tried the same thing and unfortunately it didn’t have the same effect. The most recent tremor happened about a week ago while i was sleeping. His tremor was shaking my bed which woke me up. The interesting part is that my cell phone alarm was going off and I was having one of those dreams where the alarm blended into my thoughts so I realized my alarm was going off for a few minutes. I am fairly certain my annoying buzzer was the cause of his tremor. I have nothing to back this up obviously, I just feel it was. Anyways, Roscoe is healthy and in the end that’s all that matters. I hope everyone that is stressed out by these pesky tremors finds this blog and receives the comfort I did. Take care everybody.

    • Maggie says

      Wow. Thanks so much for the update, and I’m thrilled to hear that things have been going well for Roscoe! All the best to you both!!

  82. Malorie says

    The tremors this week have been terrible. One after the next. He is on a grain free diet, we give him filtered water, but now he is gaining weight because we always give him treats to distract him from the tremors. What kind of food do you all feed your dogs? He eats fromms grain free food and natural balance grain free treats. He did get his lepto vaccine and one other vaccine two weeks ago so i wonder if that could be causing the tremors as well.

    • Maggie says

      I’m so sorry, Malorie. Of course, I’m not a bet. However, in our anecdotal/observational experience, Cooper does experience tremors after every single vaccine. His little system is SO sensitive that anything out of the ordinary sparks a tremor.

      As far as food, we did an elimination diet with Cooper (under the guidance of our vet) where we introduced one ingredient at a time to see what was causing reactions. Our experiment included EVERYTHING including the materials his toys were made from (i.e. we didn’t let him touch plastic for 10 days). We refined it down so that he can have a fish protein source only. It could be worth a try to do that with your pup.

  83. Gwyn says

    Thanks for all of your responses. My 1 1/2 yr old yellow lab just started thes head tremors two days ago. We did just get home from vacation and they were at a doggy bed n biscuit for 8 days. Maybe it’s stress as mentioned. He does get some yogurt and ice cream but being away he hasn’t.
    It is very scary but I feel better after reading all your posts.
    Again, thank you

  84. Florence says

    Hi ..My boxer ,Phoenix started the idiopathic head bobbing in July . I as well thought is was a seizure . We did the same thing …Seizure meds to start and then tons of test . Ended up at a top vet hospital with a neurologist looking at him and telling us it was not seizures but the idiopathic head bobbing and that they was no rhyme or reason for them . That there was not medication , no cure , but that the are scary the owner more then hurt or harm the dog . That was good to hear but I think my dog looks pretty upset ,confused while they are going on . The dr’s explained that they can “go ” as quickly as they came . They could stop , get better , get worse . Ugh

    Phoenix’s stopped until last night 12/28/13 . :( The first time I really feel as though it was from due to something I sprayed to freshen up the house . It was the first time I used it and his head bobbing started within hours of me spraying it . The head bobbing lasted a week and stopped . Now I’m not sure what may have causes this new round . This one lasted about 10 minutes or more . Phoenix’s start while he is sleeping . Usually if I wake him and make him get up they would stop . Not the case . So I too tried to research this and found that if you give them peanut butter it make the tremor stop . I tried it last night and instantly as he was licking it off my finger it stopped !!! YAY ..I have a jar by my bed . I’m hoping last night’s was a “one and done ” ….Good luck and hopefully we fine a cure . They are scary and I feel so sad for the pup’s . Phoenix looks so sad during and after :0( ……

    Oh and the neurologist told me it will not affect his life or how long of one god’s gives him . That was great to hear .

  85. Sherri says

    Our pup started doing this just before his second birthday. The first one occurred just after getting him groomed and I attributed it to stress. But then he had 2 more in 1 day and we went to the vet. Blood tests came back fine and was otherwise in top notch condition so they referred us to a neurologist. The neurologist said we could do an MRI to rule out trauma, tumor or legions but felt that most likely the result wouldn’t show these due to his age and overall good health. She did say it would be ideal to be able to rule those out but that the pup must me put under anesthesia for it which always carries its own risks. It also costs over $3000 here in Los Angeles. After discussing with my husband we opted not to do that and instead put him on Zonisamide (an anti-seizure med that isn’t as hard on the liver as phenobarbital and has no apparent side effects). The pup had five tremors in one week before the meds, but hasn’t had one since starting the meds. His last episode was 2 days before the neurologist appointment. She had expected that he’d have another before the meds kicked in due to the frequency that they had occurred (even giving us a seizure diary to keep and telling us to keep our phone handy to take video) but it’s been a month and there hasn’t been another tremor. She said that head tremors are actually a type of siezure called a focal seizure and could develop into full-blown seizures. She called it a mild type of idiopathic epilepsy and it’s best to get it under control early. On our next appointment, I’d like to see if we can reduce the twice-a-day dosage. I don’t like giving him so much medication.

  86. Arvella Gatlin says

    Our six year old Boxer has these head tremors. Very healthy dog, except that she has low thyroid for which she takes meds. She has episodes for a couple of weeks and then none for months. Each time, she’s resting…..(she LIKES resting) and when we notice, we just call to her, I give her a quick neck massage, talk to her and offer a treat or two. Within a minute or so, she’s fine. They do not seem to upset her…as a matter of fact they are a trigger for some additional attention and treat. The vet said they are not harmful and are harder on us than on her. I’ve not seen any worsening or ill effects over the last 2-3 years she’s been having them.

  87. Laura Prince says

    My Nikita had another episode last week only minor but i put it done to the heat as its was very hot in Sydney over 40 degrees! We are going back to get some more blood tests done as a follow up.

  88. Vanessa says

    My Puggle Cindy Lu has theses weird head bobs… She’s quite a playful dog. Runs real jar around the house and up on beds and then they start. It’s seemed to get worse though. She’ll have these violent attacks and then we calm her down so she can sleep… Then she pees on herself. Our vet said its because of a parasite she had as a puppy, but I’m just wondering if anyone else’s dogs do the same thing. I’ve been to 3 vets in my hometown and I’m almost out of options.

  89. Vanessa says

    My Puggle Cindy Lu has theses weird head bobs… She’s quite a playful dog. Runs real hard around the house and up on beds and then they start. It’s seemed to get worse though. She’ll have these violent attacks and then we calm her down so she can sleep… Then she pees on herself. Our vet said its because of a parasite she had as a puppy, but I’m just wondering if anyone else’s dogs do the same thing. I’ve been to 3 vets in my hometown and I’m almost out of options.

    • Sherri says

      I mentioned in my earlier comment that when I took my pup to the neurologist for head bobs of undetermined cause, she put him on anti-seizure meds. She said that head bobs are a type of seizure called “focal seizures” and an early sign of (idiopathic) epilepsy. If not controlled early they can evolve into full-blown grand mal seizures. Meet with a specialist.

      • Maggie says

        That’s really interesting, Sherri, and I think I’m going to give my vet a call. At the very beginning of this process, we talked to a veterinary neurologist who said studies did NOT show a correlation between head bobbing and seizures and no efficacy of anti-seizure meds, so I’m wondering if maybe there are different conditions we’re talking about? More things to think about, for sure!

  90. says

    My one year old Bella almost died 2 weeks after giving birth. We drove 2 hours in the middle of the night to the nearest animal hospital after researching her symptoms. I found out it was eclampsia and every minute that passed was a threat to her life. When we got to the animal hospital she was foaming from mouth and unresponsive. She stayed in the hospital 4 days. Brought her home, but she now has head tremors. She is on keppra for seizures. I noticed that after I give her the pill her head starts to shake. Its scary to see it. I am traumatized after seeing her dying in front of me. Its a miracle my baby is still alive. The head tremors don’t seem to bother her as much as they bother me. Today she goes back for a follow up and I will ask. Thank God and the hospital she is still with us. Thanks for posting all these comments. I am glad I’m not the only one going through this. God Bless you all!!!!

  91. Maggie says

    Hey, everyone! I’m so sorry I haven’t been able to respond to everyone’s comments, but this has been an awesome discussion. I’ve learned so much for your experiences. Just wanted to give you a heads up: I created a “Tremor Tracker” to monitor Coop’s tremors, and I’ve made it available for download. Click here to go to the post and then download the Excel file:

    Hope it helps!

  92. Tonto says

    I have a Brussels Griffon and she is three years old and she has something similar but her mouth is what tremors and she will turn her head to the side. My vet said that this could be seizures and that I should take her to have an MRI done of her brain as it is probably neurological. I switched her food to an all natural food and they became less dramatic but I switched her recently to higher protein diet and they have increased again. I cannot afford to have a MRI done of her brain as she has already had to have 2 knee surgeries to correct a severe case of bow leggedness before she was a year old. She has already been through so much.
    I read online that it could be related to low blood sugar so I am going to ask my vet to check her for it but it is so frustrating not knowing if this is painful or damaging her in some way…she can’t tell me and she does this so much now that I am scared of what it could be. I want to find out if there is anything I can do to help her. Hopefully my vet will be able to help with this. I am going to switch her back to the old food and see if that helps. The videos here have helped me to realize that other dogs have similar issues and that I am not the only one who is frustrated and worried.

  93. Malorie says

    My english bulldog is now three years old, his head tremors started when he was 6 months old. We bought him from a pet store and after the tremors started we did research and found out he came from a terrible puppy mill in missouri. I wonder if the tremors could be almost similiar to fetal alcohol syndrome in babies. If my dog came from a puppy mill with parents who were not fed properly or taken care of. Now Meatball has perianal fistulas. This first started last year when he was living in florida with my family for the winter. When he is in NY he doesnt have them. It just came back again and he has been back in florida with my parents for 2 months. He has had a lot of tremors I think from the pain and antibiotics.

  94. Julian says

    I have had two dogs who sometimes exhibited this symptom. Dont be too concerned. It is not life threatening or indicative of anotther more serious problem. Try to relax and dont let your concern be transferred to the dog. In both cases a treat for the dog to chew on, or a dry crunchy biscuit generally provided a distraction to stop the tremor.

  95. jamie says

    My Boston started getting head tremors in Aug of 2013, the vet thought it may have been her response to arthritis in her back leg…so gave me a med for her arthritis. She only had these tremors 1x/week for a few months, then they became more frequent and as I am a nurse; I knew it was more pre-seizure like movement. She then urinated in our home a few times and she would never do that. So I brought her in and asked for labs to be done. It turned out her sugar was low, so they ran insulin tests and other tests for diagnose for insulinoma. The tests came back negative. About a month and a half later she had a grand mal seizure and I brought her in and her sugar was 32…she stayed overnight for IV fluids with dextrose and her sugars even dropped on that. So I had an ultrasound and she does have a tumor by her liver/pancreas, an insulinoma. Even though her lab work was okay. She is currently on prednisone, and the cancer has spread to her liver, spleen, and one lymphnode, mast cell cancer. So we started Palladia, a new chemo drug that she can take at home 3 days a week. Which is made for mast cell cancer, but has worked on insulinoma. She was nto a good candidate for surgery. Chemo is not as hard on dogs as it is people. Since I have fed her frequent small meals and given the steroids, she has not had one head shaking or seizure episode. It’s been a month and she has more energy than she has in the last 8 months. I strongly suggest to encourage your vet to look into the insulinoma…..if your dog does have one and there is no other cancer; surgery can take it away for as much as 3 years.

  96. Colby says

    Our French Bulldog just started this tonight by scratching the back of his head. It was repeated 3 times, and we were able to stop it by grabbing him. Have any of the dogs that exhibit this been around yard mulch?? We just put down Scotts yard mulch in the last week, which he has taken to chewing.

  97. Lisa Spencer says

    Head tremors, give your dog his favorite treat, during head tremor. Get his attention, give treat, wait wait wait, get his attention give treat , wait wait, get his attention give treat. Do this three times, once is not enough. It seems to re set the brain, without drugs. Not a cure but control.

  98. Justine Birchfield says

    My 3 year old pit bull, old English bulldog, Labrador mix Roxie just started having episodes like this about 4 day’s ago. The only thing that makes them stop is getting her up and moving. It mainly happens at night when we are getting ready for bed. She will be nice and relaxed and all the sudden her head will just start bobbing up and down. She stays completely coherent during the episodes and once we get her moving she is ok. Butwe have to keep her up for at least 10 minutes otherwise it will happen again.

  99. Danielle Geslao says

    My lhasa apso also has these head tremors. I was told they were focal seizures and he takes phenobarbital for them. He was getting them quite frequently, but since being on the phenobarb for quite sometime now, they have become present only a few times a month.

  100. Jennifer Parks says

    I’m so glad I found this forum. My 9yr old cat, Lucy is doing this. We have seen a neurologist, who diagnosed possible seizures, and had a negative MRI and bloodwork. I’m at my wits end with worry as they seem to be getting worse. We also are exploring the possibility that it’s allergies and itchiness, as she shakes to the left and doesn’t have a back leg on that side to scratch- she had it amputated due to fibrosarcoma in 2011. It’s sooo upsetting to watch, and I’ve been thinking that it isn’t seizure activity, due to her being aware and conscious, and no other seizure symptoms.

  101. AMT says

    What an awesome forum Maggie, thank you so much. I just came from the ER vet at 1am and found your blog! My 2 1/2 tr old boxer/lab/hound maybe Rhodesian mix (faint stripe but not elevated hairline except on legs) started thus last night. Looks like cooper!!Totally freaked me out more so bc I just watched my brother lose his 3yr old puppy inexpectedy to a freak Illness and the thought of my kids losing my pup… They so don’t need another emotional trauma. My dog is their therapy dog!!! Anyway, it was also while sleeping at 9 pm, then wandered out of his’ crate cave’ and rested his head on my knee and started shaking his head. The whole thing lasted about 10 min with each little cluster lasting 10-20 seconds. I called our vet..happens to be my neighbor…he answered all my Qs but they were away, so he told me if it happened again to go to ER as if post seizure they’d want blood work. Indeed at 11:30 pm he started doing it again. But as others point out, he was alert and happy to do tricks or get in the car afterward, not groggy like I’d expect after a seizure. He looked at me the whole time, eyes focused ..never rolled. And the second time I actually pulled opened the gums to see he was clenched, not chattering or like he’d bite himself. Vet at ER pulled up a video of a bulldog on YouTube and asked me if it looked like that… Then told me he really didn’t think it was a seizure snd to do my blood work at my normal annual visit next week vs the emergency charges last night. His temp, vitals and breathing were all fine and he was completely responsive (albeit a little nervous to be there ). Said he fits the profile of type of dog they see this in and it’s really only the last couple years this has been widely paid attention to… I will try to download your tracker, great idea from my regular computer later, but wanted to touch base.. I’ll be asking vet about calcium and vitamin b ideas…. Thank you so much… I was so worried last night :-)

  102. AMT says

    Ok JUST happened again.,. This time morning and active (not sleepy or rest time) but I did test the distraction idea and started having him do tricks and he snapped out of it… My understanding is you can’t snap then out if a seizure like that, so this should help confirm that is what I’m dealing with.

  103. deb says

    I’m so glad I found this blog since there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot out there on this. My Great Dane/Lab mix, Stewie, started with the head shakes a couple years ago. They would last for a couple minutes, but they didn’t seem to bother him and he could be distracted out of them, like many others have mentioned, with treats or even just water. Almost every time they seem to happen when he wakes up…so it seems to be some sort of over-stimulation thing (just my pure speculation).

    I finally was able to capture an episode on camera ( and was able to show my vet, who said it was likely the IHT and that there really was nothing to be done and that it really wasn’t hurting Stewie. And though I’m sorry other dogs are going through this, it’s nice that we aren’t the only ones experiencing this.

  104. Malorie says

    Meatball was at the groomer and they wanted him to get the Bordetella vaccine but he was on antibiotics and they gave it to him anyway since then he has been having tremors every day and every night it has been nonstop has anyone experienced this

  105. says

    Hi I have a two yr old boxer that started having tremors the vet did tests including blood work found nothing. I then decided to do my own research and try my own experiments if u will not that blaze was given a lot of ppl food but like most pet owners they don’t wanna let there pet left out and give him/her a bite I stopped giving him ppl food completely it has been 3 months now he went from having few tremors a day to no longer having any. I’m not saying this is the case for everyone but in my experience it fits blaze is now tremor free

  106. Jill says

    Wow… I didnt realize how many dogs experience this. My golden lab/retriever mix experiences these too. She is 6 years old, almost 7 and i noticed these at a young age. For a little while i was noticing it a few times a month… I talked to 2 different vets and never got any answers. It seemed to go away at least a year ago (or as far as we know considering we are gone 6-8 hours m-f) until today. My doggie was completely fine and all of a sudden started the head wobble. Usually we can kind of talk her out of it while holding a treat… Almost like it yakes her attention off of it but this time took a few minutes. She is fine now and this is the 1st time i have read other dog stories so happy to hear were not the only one… But really wish we had an answer. I hope all of our doggie ffriends get better asap!!!

  107. Mari says

    I just noticed my baby Chico (Chihuahua) going through one of these episodes yesterday. It happened a couple times in the am (after waking up) I wasn’t quite sure I saw what I saw. It looked like Parkinson’s and then a few times at night right before going to sleep) which confirmed it. He was alert and responsive, but it is very scary maybe more for me than for him. I’m not sure exactly how long they would have lasted, had I not immediately looked to snap him out of it. I’m glad these posts are here, I was up all night searching the web trying to figure out what is wrong with him. I will take your advise and video tape him if it happens again so the vet can see what’s going on. He will be a year old next month.

  108. Lizajane says

    I have a 7 month old female pitmix. She was spayed on Friday and on Sunday morning she started having head tremors. I took her off the Rimadyl and Benadryl and she is still doing it today. It is Tuesday now. She was only on meds for one day. Being spayed changed her and I don’t know why. Hate seeing her shake like this.

  109. Stacey M. says

    My pittie mix, Raven, just started having these on Sunday afternoon and they continued into the night and then occurred Monday afternoon and once again Monday evening. She has not had one today. It was scary, but I could tell she wasn’t having a seizure because she was alert and other wise her completely normal self. I’m so thankful I found this site, because I was able to share this, and capture a video of Raven doing it, and share it with her veterinarian. Because of the info I gave him, he didn’t automatically assume seizures and jump to put her on medicine. In fact he’s super interested in learning more about it now.

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