Trembling and Shivering in Dog Language

Trembling and Shivering in Dog Language

One of the number one complaints of pet owners is that their dog shakes. When they present this symptom to the vet, they usually do not get an immediate answer. This is because trembling and shaking in dogs can have a wide variety of causes, and the reason cannot be guessed by simply looking at the dog.

Since dogs can’t talk and tell us what is wrong, the vet may need to do a series of tests to determine why your dog is shaking. Sometimes, if a breed has a long standing history of shaking, the vet may be able to tell you the exact reason at the drop of a hat. They may still want to do some lab work to determine whether the dog has an underlying condition.

Here are the top reasons your dog may shake or tremble:


One of the most common reasons that dogs shake is because of an internal excitement. This can be genuine excitement, fear, or anxiety. Things like storms, loud noises, getting ready for walks or an approaching feeding time can cause a dog to shake.


Shivering is a natural response to being cold. When the temperature drops your dog may shiver in an effort to control their body temperature. If your dog continues to shake after being moved into a warm environment, then the problem may be unrelated to the cold.


Just like with humans, dogs get fevers when they are sick. Having a fever can cause your dog to shiver and shake. Your vet will determine if there is a health reason behind your dog’s fever, but like humans, they develop common illnesses that must run their course.


Dogs exhibit pain in many ways and shaking and trembling are one of their body’s responses. One of the first responses your dog has to pain is trembling or shaking, therefore, your dog’s vet will determine whether your dog is pain.

Weakness or Exhaustion

Weakness and exhaustion are some of the reasons your dog may exhibit shaking or trembling.  Their muscles, just like yours, twitch when they are exhausted. Giving your dog a few days off of physical activity will ensure that your dog’s muscles will recover completely before the next exercise session


Poisoning is a main contributor in a dog shaking. This could either be because they ate something they shouldn’t, snuck into your chocolate stash, or ate a contaminated food. If you think that your dog may have eaten a contaminated food, or that they have eaten a food that is toxic to dogs, you should take them to the vet as soon as possible.

Their Breed

Some breeds shake a lot. Among these breeds are chihuahuas, dioxins, poodles, and other small dogs that fall into this category. They are known to shake because their breed is naturally nervous and anxious. Typically, their shaking increases around the time of puberty and can worsen from there.

Understanding why your dog is shaking can help you to accommodate their life and make adjustments to their surroundings.

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