Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs

Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs

Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs are also known as “bulldog head bobbing”“bulldog head shaking”,  “bulldog head nodding” and  “idiopathic bulldog head tremors

Bulldog and French Bulldog head tremors, head shaking, and head bobbing are interchangeable terms.

Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs CAUSE:

There is more than one cause that underlines bulldog head tremors, thus you should have your bully examined for this condition.

The most common type of bulldog and French bulldog head tremors is IDIOPATHIC


The origin of this bulldog head nodding and bobbing is mostly unknown (idiopathic) thus is considered “benign”


In some bulldog head tremors cases, the thinking is that it might be a focal seizure or a stretch mechanism localized to the head.

Bulldog focal seizures that involve the head could imitate the more common bulldog idiopathic head shaking (“bulldog head bobbing, bulldog head nodding, bulldog head tremors).

The area of the brain affected in bulldog focal seizure head tremors is the area that controls movement.


The presentation of “bulldog intention tremors” can be very similar to the more common bulldog idiopathic head shaking (“bulldog head bobbing, bulldog head nodding, bulldog head tremors).

Bulldog’s intention tremors origin is the cerebellum, the tremors are jerkier than the idiopathic bulldog head tremors.

Bulldog and French bulldog intention tremors are typically observed when your bulldog eats or drinks, or during other voluntary movements.


Sleep Disorder Head Tremors usually present during times known as REM (rapid eye movement) and are associated with active dreaming.

Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs

Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs PRESENTATION:


Bulldog and French bulldog idiopathic head tremors patients remain alert and responsive


Bulldogs and French bulldogs suffering from focal seizures exhibit a change in mental status.


Bulldog intention tremors presentation is similar to bulldog idiopathic head shaking, though the tremors are typically jerkier.


Bulldog sleep disorder head tremors present during the dreaming phase (REM sleep).

Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs DURATION:

Most of the head shaking, tremors, nodding and bobbing in bulldogs and French bulldogs are short-lived, but occasionally, could last for a few minutes.

Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs DIAGNOSIS:

Common diagnostic testing conducted for a bulldog and French bulldog head-shaking is:

  2. BILE ACID TEST:  to help rule out portosystemic shunts (liver shunt).
  3. CBC, URINE & CHEMESTRIES: a general blood test to r/o diabetes and other medical conditions that can lead to seizures. The test should also include electrolytes and thyroid levels
  5. OTHER: spinal fluid analysis, EEG 

Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs TREATMENT:

Bulldog and French bulldog head tremors are usually intermittent and are usually considered harmless, thus NO treatment is required.

Seizure medication is controversial, if your bulldog has no seizure history, I usually do not prescribe anything.

Dr. Kraemer’s V4B Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs TRUTH & MYTH

Bulldog Head Nodding Myth #1 SUGAR TREAT: Offering ice cream or sugary liquids is not recommended.

Those are often given to treat seizing bulldogs and French bulldog puppies suffering from hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) events.

To stop idopathic bulldog head tremors, simply distract your bully with food, treat, or toy.

Bulldog Head Nodding Myth #2 CALCIUM SUPPLEMENT: Offering calcium supplements to a bulldog or French bulldog with a head shake has little merit.

Those are often given to females bulldog suffering from “postpartum calcium deficiency” (i.e. eclampsia).

Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs TIPS & WARNINGS:


Bulldog Head Tremors Tip #1 HARMLESS: Don’t panic! Bulldog head shaking (bulldog head bobbing) is not an emergency, nor a life-threatening event.  It is considered idiopathic (arising from an unknown cause) and harmless.

Bulldog Head Tremors Tip #2 DISTRACTION: Typically, I advise distressed bulldog owners to try and have their bully move his/her head and neck, distract them with a toy, or a treat.

Distraction with food, toy, “lets go play or for a walk”, or by showing the leash, will usully stop your bulldog or French bulldog head tremors. 

Bulldog Head Tremors Tip #3 NON PAINFUL Bulldogs and French bulldogs exhibiting head tremors and head bobbing are usually fully alert and otherwise acting normally.

As far as we know, bulldog and French bulldog idopathic head tremor is not a painful condition or a distress signal 

Bulldog Head Tremors Tip #4 NEURO DISEASE:  We do not know of any medical and/or neurological conditions that are a direct result of bulldog head bobbing.

Bulldog Head Tremors Tip #5 GENETIC LINK: There may be a genetic link to head tremors,  head shaking, or head bobbing in bulldogs and French bulldogs.

Bulldog Head Tremors Tip #6 SHAKING DIRECTION: Your bulldog puppy’s head shaking can present as an up-and-down movement (saying “yes”) or a side-to-side movement (saying “no”).

Bulldog Head Tremors Tip #7 IMPACT: Bulldogs with idiopathic head shaking do NOT develop other neurological signs as a result of this condition.

Bulldog Head Tremors Tip #8 TREATMENT: There is NO known treatment for head bobbing in bulldogs and French bulldogs.

You can usually stop your bulldog and French bulldog’s idiopathic head from shaking by distracting him/her with food, a favorite treat or toy, a leash (“let’s go for a walk”), or having them tense their neck muscles by turning side to side.

Bulldog Head Tremors Tip #9 LEG SHAKING: Many senior bulldogs and French bulldogs owners wonder why their aging dog’s hind legs are shaking.

Shaking of the extremities can happen standing up or lying down and can be progressive.

Like head shaking in bulldogs, the origin of the senior bulldog leg shaking is likely idiopathic.

The theory is that “senior bulldog leg-shaking may be associated with disk disease, neuropathy, arthritis, myelopathies, etc.


There is no known treatment for aging bulldog idiopathic leg shaking, but usually.Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs treatment

I will prescribe anti-inflammatory medication, or recommend supplements like my:



Bulldog Head Tremors warning#1 DISTEMPER VIRUS Your bulldog might be head shaking or leg shaking due to other conditions, thus you should always consult your veterinarian.

Head shaking due to advanced cases of distemper virus usually also involves the jaw and leg muscles and can be observed even while your bulldog is sleeping.

Distemper encephalomyelitis is rare because of the introduction of the vaccine and its integration to our canine pet’s wellness core vaccine series.

Bulldog Head Tremors warning#2 POISONS & TOXINS: Other types of tremors can be due to poisons and toxins, hormonal abnormalities, and electrolyte imbalance.

“An Ounce Of PREVENTIVES Is Worth A Pound Of CURE”

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*This guide was compiled courtesy of Dr. Kraemer, a “must-read” manual for any current or future bully owner

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