Dog Shivering or Trembling: Why is My Dog Shaking?

Dog Shivering or Trembling: Why is My Dog Shaking?

If you are a dog owner, you should have realized by now that dogs shake, shiver, or tremble a lot. A dog panting and shaking is caused by several reasons that should not ring any alarm bells. This is especially the case in small-sized dog breeds. The simple reasons can range from hot temperatures to thirst. However, there are some cases of dog shivering that should give you a cause for concern. And, if you are reading this article for answers, the chances are that you’ve recently been asking yourself ‘why is my dog trembling?’ and your dog trembling is giving you some concern. In this article, we will give you all the information you need about dog trembling and what you can do about it.

Shiba inu dog lying

Reasons Why Dogs Shake or Tremble

Let’s now go into further detail and examine the reasons why dogs tremble.

  • Cold Weather

Dogs get cold too. But dog breeds that have low fat or and thin coats such as the Dobermans and the Greyhounds are easily affected by cold weather. So, do not be surprised (if you own a dog from any of these breeds) to find your dog shivering and shaking when the temperature is about fifty or sixty degrees Fahrenheit. This situation can get a little serious during very cold weather. Thus, always keep your attention on your dog during rainy days or winter, and make sure to get them warm winter coats, Ensure that it is always kept warm during such temperatures. And, if your dog continues to shiver or shake uncontrollably after keeping it warm. Do not hesitate to visit the vet.

  • Injury Or Muscle Weakness

Sometimes, in humans, the wrong body posture or movement, especially during exercise, can cause some muscles to quiver a little. We may also notice, sometimes, that a pulled muscle will vibrate uncontrollably when we position our bodies in certain ways. A dog’s muscle can quiver too. And, this, most often, is as a result of pain from an injury. It can also be as a result of weakness. The first thing to do is to observe your dog closely. Find out if the quivering is focused on a specific part of your dog’s body. For example, one of its legs could be shaking while the rest of the body remains relatively still. Once you are able to confirm this (that the shaking is limited to only a specific area of the body) and is accompanied by stress or a considerable decrease in your dog’s activities, immediately consult your vet. Restlessness and stress in dogs can be a sign of pain.

In dogs, sometimes strong emotions can be a source of trembling. Have you ever noticed that your dog begins to tremble when you finally get home after a long day at work? Sometimes, your dog might tremble when you have certain guests at home, or even during visits to the vet. Depending on what your dog is afraid of, or what gets it excited, situations such as the ones mentioned are enough to send its body shaking. When you notice this about your dog, it is important that you begin to teach it to be calm during such moments. A good way to do this is to constantly stroke it gently to reassure it of your presence. If this does not help, you can always consult your vet or speak with a certified consultant that specializes in dog behavior. Please note that it is a bad idea to bring in a dog trainer in this type of situation as dog trainers only teach dogs to obey commands. But emotional problems are outside their scope of expertise.

Be sure to check out our guide on Calming Chews for Dogs.

  • Medical Conditions And Diseases

In humans, there are a lot of diseases and medical conditions that come with trembling. The same is true for dogs as there are several medical conditions that will cause your dog’s body to shiver and become lethargic. The diseases can range from mild to severe ones such as seizures and kidney-related diseases. The best way to give your dog a proper diagnosis is to take it to the vet. However, there are a few things you can do at home to be sure that there is something wrong with your dog’s health. Pay attention to your dog’s physical appearance and behavior as often as you can. Keep track of its eating habits and level of activity. If you notice a constant drop in any in its energy level as well as appetite, then something is wrong. Other signs to look out for include bad odor, discoloration in urine and stools, vomiting, diarrhea, limping, as well as watery stools. Do not try to treat your dog at home as you may not be sure of what it may be suffering from.

  • Tremor Syndrome

One common question that puppy owners ask is, “why is my puppy shaking?”. General tremor syndrome is usually associated with puppies or smaller dog breeds. Smaller dogs shake and tremble a lot. And, experts are yet to determine the exact reason why. Some have speculated that smaller dogs and puppies become cold easily as compared to grown or bigger dogs. Generally, there is nothing to be worried about if your puppy shakes a lot of if your chihuahua cannot seem to stop trembling. However, if you notice that your dog is trembling and lethargic at the same time, then it needs to get some medical attention as soon as possible.

Scared chihuahua dog

To Summarize

In conclusion, trembling, shivering, and shaking in dogs is generally nothing to worry about, as there are several natural causes that do not require much attention. However, the alarm bells should start ringing when there are other symptoms associated with trembling. Such symptoms include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, odor, discoloration in stools and urine, watery stools, and lack of appetite. It is also important to remember that puppies and smaller dog breeds tend to tremble more often. It is important to always monitor your dog during these times to look out for any of the above symptoms and consult your vet as soon as you have reason to believe that your dog is unwell. If your dog’s emotions trigger the shivering. You can try to calm it down by stroking it gently and giving it constant reassurance.


  1. Claire Youngerman, Fear in Dogs, UC Davis Veterinary Medicine
  2. Dog Shivering and Trembling: Causes and Treatments, WebMD
  3. How to Give First Aid to Your Dog, HowStuffWorks
  4. Bethney Foster, Why Is My Dog Trembling While Sleeping?, The Nest

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Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.