Unraveling the Mystery: Why Is My Dog Shaking? 5 Common Reasons

Dogs are amazing companions, but sometimes they can do things that puzzle us. One of these behaviors is shaking. You may have noticed your dog shivering or trembling and wondered what was going on. Is your dog cold, scared, sick, or just excited? The answer depends on the context and the cause of the shaking. Here are some of the most common reasons why dogs shake and what you can do to help them.

Why Is My Dog Shaking?

1. Cold

One of the simplest explanations for why dogs shake is that they are cold. Dogs have fur to keep them warm, but some breeds have more insulation than others. Smaller dogs, such as Chihuahuas, may be more prone to shivering than larger breeds due to their lack of body mass and insulation. Shivering in frigid environments is an involuntary response designed to get the blood pumping to raise body temperature and prevent hypothermia.

What you should do: If your dog doesn’t fare well in the cold, consider limiting their exposure. A dog sweater or coat can also help them stay warm and ease shivers. Also, give them a warm place to curl up; a dog bed near a heating vent with a warm blanket can do just the trick on a cold night.

2. Excitement

Some dogs shiver when they’re happy or excited. No one is sure why, but one theory is that it’s an outward manifestation of intense emotion. There’s no danger in this type of shivering; it will most likely stop once they calm down.

3. Stress, Anxiety and Fear

beagle in stress shaking

Other intense emotions that can cause shivers are fear and anxiety. While shivering, in this case, isn’t harmful in and of itself, stress isn’t any better for your dog than it is for you. Stress can weaken your dog’s immune system and make them more susceptible to illness. Some common triggers of stress and anxiety in dogs are loud noises, unfamiliar people or animals, separation from owners, or changes in routine.

What you should do: Do your best to reassure your dog and, if possible, remove the source of the stress. If your dog is prone to shaking during thunderstorms, for example, try to help them stay calm by introducing therapeutic toys or masking the sounds of thunder. In general, if you notice something that consistently turns your pup into a shaking state, try to redirect their attention. Dogs are also very perceptive and if you are stressed, anxious, or afraid, they are very good at mimicking your emotions. Try to stay calm and positive around your dog.

4. Pain or Illness

Shivering and trembling can also be signs of pain or illness in dogs. Certain toy and small terrier breeds shiver more than others. This kind of shivering can be a sign of pain. When your dog is nauseous, she may also shake. Some of the illnesses that can cause shaking in dogs are distemper, kidney failure, neurological disorders, poisoning, low blood sugar, and ear infections.

What you should do: If your dog has started to shake, and you don’t know why, contact your veterinarian to make sure there isn’t a more serious issue to contend with. A proper diagnosis is essential for treating a dog’s excessive shaking or shivering. Some conditions may require immediate medical attention, such as poisoning or low blood sugar. Do not ignore or delay seeking help if you suspect your dog is in pain or danger.

5. Old Age

Why Is My Dog Shaking - old beagle

As dogs age, they may develop a condition called canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD), which is similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans. CCD can affect your dog’s memory, behavior, and personality. One of the symptoms of CCD is shaking or trembling. This may be due to anxiety, confusion, or physical discomfort caused by the disease.

What you should do: If your senior dog is showing signs of CCD, consult your veterinarian for possible treatments. There is no cure for CCD, but some medications and supplements may help slow down the progression and improve the quality of life for your dog. You can also make some adjustments to your dog’s environment and routine to make them more comfortable and reduce stress.


What are some other symptoms of CCD?

Some other symptoms of CCD that dogs may show are:

  • Loss of appetite or changes in eating habits
  • Decreased interest in grooming or self-care
  • Increased vocalization or barking for no apparent reason
  • Repetitive or compulsive behaviors, such as licking or circling
  • Incontinence or difficulty controlling bladder or bowel movements
  • Depression or apathy

These symptoms may vary in frequency and severity depending on the individual dog and the stage of the disease. If you notice any of these signs in your dog, you should consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Why is my dog shaking but not sick?

Your dog’s shaking and shivering can be attributed to various common factors, including feeling cold, experiencing excitement, stress, and anxiety, seeking attention, dealing with pain or illness, or simply due to old age. These reasons are frequently observed and can explain why your furry companion may exhibit such behavior.

Why is my dog acting weird shaking?

If you observe your dog shaking without any other accompanying symptoms, your dog is probably feeling excited or anxious about something. In such cases, the shaking is often considered normal and not a cause for concern. However, if the shaking persists or your dog displays additional abnormal behaviors like vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or anything else out of the ordinary, it is advisable to consult with your veterinarian for a thorough examination and proper evaluation of your dog’s health. Prompt veterinary attention can help identify any underlying issues and ensure your furry friend receives the necessary care and treatment.


Why Is My Dog Shaking? Shaking is a common behavior in dogs that can have various causes and meanings. Some are harmless and normal, while others may indicate a problem that needs attention. By observing your dog’s body language and context, you can better understand why they are shaking and how to help them. Remember that when in doubt, it’s always best to consult your veterinarian for advice and guidance.

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