why is my dog shaking? 6 causes, prevention and treatment

why is my dog shaking

If you’ve ever noticed your furry companion trembling or shaking, you might be concerned and wonder, Why is my dog shaking? Dogs shaking can be a sign of various underlying issues, some of which may require attention and care. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore six common causes of shivering in dogs, along with the appropriate treatments and potential cures.


Dogs, like humans, can experience shivering for a variety of reasons. While some shivering is normal and harmless, excessive or persistent shaking could indicate an underlying problem. As responsible pet owners, it’s crucial to understand the potential causes of your dog’s shivering and take appropriate action.

Normal Shivering in Dogs: why is my dog shaking

Just as humans shiver in response to cold temperatures, dogs may shiver to generate heat and regulate their body temperature. This type of shivering is usually short-lived and not a cause for concern.

Understanding the Shivers: why is my dog shaking

Shivering in dogs can broadly be categorized into two main types: physiological and behavioral.

Physiological Shivering

Physiological shivering is a natural response to external factors, such as cold weather. It’s the body’s way of generating heat to maintain a stable core temperature. However, if your dog is shivering excessively even when adequately warm, it could be a sign of an underlying issue.

Behavioral Shivering

Behavioral shivering is often linked to emotional or psychological factors such as anxiety, fear, or excitement. Dogs may shake when they’re nervous or stressed, similar to how humans might experience trembling in certain situations.

Common Causes of Excessive Shaking

While occasional shivering might be harmless, persistent or severe shaking could indicate an underlying problem. Here are six common causes of excessive shaking in dogs:

1. Cold or Anxiety?

Some dogs are more sensitive to cold temperatures than others. Additionally, anxiety and stress can also trigger shivering in dogs, even in comfortable environments.

2. Pain and Discomfort

Physical pain or discomfort, such as muscle aches, joint problems, or injuries, can lead to shivering as a response to the discomfort.

3. Infections and Diseases

Various infections, such as canine influenza or distemper, as well as diseases like fever, can cause dogs to shake.

4. Poisoning and Toxins

Ingesting harmful substances or toxins, such as certain plants, chemicals, or human foods, can lead to shaking and other adverse symptoms.

5. Neurological Disorders

Neurological issues like seizures or disorders affecting the nervous system can manifest as shaking or trembling.

6. Age-related Tremors

As dogs age, they may develop benign tremors, especially in certain breeds. These tremors are usually not harmful but can cause noticeable shaking.

If you are concerned about your dog’s shaking, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and take him to the vet to get checked out. The vet will be able to rule out any serious medical causes and recommend the best course of treatment for your dog.

Here are some tips on how to calm a shaking dog:

  • Create a calm environment. Take your dog to a quiet, comfortable place where he feels safe.
  • Talk to him in a soothing voice. This can help relax him and make him feel less anxious.
  • Pet him gently. This can also help calm him down.
  • Offer him a treat. This can help distract him from the shaking.
  • Play calming music. This can help create a relaxing atmosphere.

If your dog’s shaking is severe or doesn’t improve with these measures, it’s important to take him to the vet.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If your dog’s shaking is concerning or persistent, it’s essential to consult a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Diagnosis and Treatment

-Consulting a Veterinarian

A veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination and gather information about your dog’s symptoms and medical history.

-Diagnostic Tests

Depending on the initial assessment, your veterinarian may recommend diagnostic tests such as bloodwork, X-rays, or ultrasounds to identify the underlying cause.

-Appropriate Treatment Plans

Treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the shivering. It might include medications, lifestyle adjustments, or specific therapies to address the issue effectively.

Home Care and Support

In addition to veterinary care, there are steps you can take at home to help alleviate your dog’s shivering.

-Creating a Comforting Environment

Provide your dog with a warm and cozy sleeping area and minimize exposure to cold drafts.

-Nutritional Considerations

Ensure your dog is receiving a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs. Proper nutrition can contribute to overall well-being.

-Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Engage your dog in regular physical activities and mental exercises to keep them occupied and reduce stress.

-Administering Medications

If prescribed by a veterinarian, administer any prescribed medications as directed to manage the underlying condition.

Preventing Shivers in Dogs

While you may not be able to prevent all instances of shivering, there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of it occurring.

-Regular Vet Check-ups

Routine veterinary visits can help catch and address potential health issues before they become severe.

-Temperature Regulation

Ensure your dog is appropriately dressed for colder weather and avoid exposing them to extreme temperatures.

-Emotional Well-being

Create a calm and secure environment for your dog, addressing any sources of stress or anxiety.

Why is my dog shaking and panting?

There are many reasons why a dog might be shaking and panting. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Excitement: Dogs often shake and pant when they are excited, such as when they are playing, greeting someone, or going for a walk.
  • Pain: If your dog is in pain, they may shake and pant as a way to cope with the discomfort. Some common causes of pain in dogs include injuries, arthritis, and dental problems.
  • Nausea: Dogs can also shake and pant if they are feeling nauseous. This can be caused by a variety of things, such as motion sickness, eating too much, or eating something that made them sick.
  • Stress or anxiety: Dogs can also shake and pant if they are feeling stressed or anxious. This can be caused by things like thunderstorms, fireworks, or being left alone.
  • Medical conditions: Shaking and panting can also be signs of a medical condition, such as Addison’s disease, kidney disease, or heart disease. If you are concerned that your dog’s shaking and panting are due to a medical condition, it is important to take them to the vet for a diagnosis.

Here are some things you can do to calm a shaking dog:

  • Take them to a quiet, safe place. This will help reduce their stress levels.
  • Speak to them in a soothing voice. This will help to reassure them.
  • Gently pet them. This can help relax them.
  • Offer them a cool, wet towel to lie on. This can help cool them down and make them feel more comfortable.
  • If you think your dog is in pain, give them their pain medication as prescribed by your vet.

If your dog is still shaking and panting after trying these things, or if you are concerned about their health, it is important to take them to the vet.

Why is my dog shaking his head?

There are many reasons why a dog might shake its head. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Ear infection: Ear infections are one of the most common causes of head shaking in dogs. They can be caused by bacteria, yeast, or mites. Ear infections can be very painful for dogs and can lead to other problems, such as hearing loss.
  • Fleas or ticks: Fleas and ticks can also cause dogs to shake their heads. The bites of these parasites can be itchy and irritating, which can lead to head shaking.
  • Allergies: Allergies can also cause head shaking in dogs. Allergies can be caused by food, environmental factors, or medications.
  • Foreign object in the ear: A foreign object, such as a grass seed or a piece of dirt, can also get stuck in a dog’s ear and cause it to shake its head.
  • Pain: Head shaking can also be a sign of pain, such as pain from an ear infection, an eye infection, or arthritis.
  • Neurological problems: In rare cases, head shaking can be a sign of a neurological problem, such as a brain tumor or a stroke.

If your dog is shaking its head, it is important to take it to the veterinarian to rule out any medical problems. The veterinarian will examine your dog’s ears and look for any signs of infection or irritation. They may also recommend a blood test or other diagnostic tests to rule out other possible causes.

FAQs About Dog Shivering

Can anxiety cause my dog to shake?

Yes, anxiety and stress are common triggers for shivering in dogs. If you suspect anxiety is the cause, consult your veterinarian for guidance.

Is shivering in older dogs normal?

Some degree of shivering can be normal in older dogs, especially in certain breeds. However, any significant changes should be evaluated by a veterinarian.

Why is my dog shaking when he breathes in?

If your dog is shaking when breathing, it is important to seek veterinary attention as soon as possible. The sooner the cause of the shaking is identified and treated, the better the chances of a full recovery.

How can I keep my dog warm in colder weather?

Provide your dog with appropriate clothing, ensure a warm sleeping area, and limit outdoor exposure during extremely cold temperatures.

Why is my dog shaking and throwing up?

Your dog might be shaking and throwing up due to an illness or an upset stomach. It’s best to consult a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.


In conclusion, while occasional shivering might be normal, persistent or severe shaking in dogs could signal an underlying issue. Understanding the causes and taking appropriate steps, such as seeking veterinary care and creating a comfortable environment, can help address and manage the shivers. By prioritizing your dog’s well-being and addressing their needs, you can provide them with the best possible care and ensure their happiness and health.

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