Why Is My Dog Shaking?
Why Is My Dog Shaking?

Why is My Dog Shaking? Reasons and When to See a Vet

Since we cannot directly communicate with our dogs, there are certain behaviors and actions that immediately concern us. One of these behaviors is a dog shaking. No, not the fun way they shake off water starting from their nose all the way to the end of their tail. We’re talking about that full-body trembling you’ve likely seen your pooch do from time to time. Why do they do it? And is it something you should be worried about? 


Why is my dog shaking?

A majority of dog owners in an IAMS™ survey* (64%) think the reason behind a dog shivering is that they are cold. Other top responses were because the dogs are scared (57%) or anxious (54%). High-fives all around because it turns out there are a number of reasons why dogs shake, and all those are possible correct answers. Here are some probable reasons behind a dog trembling:


  • They're chilly

    Just like their owners, dogs will often shiver when cold. Dr. Tammie King, Applied Behavior Technical Leader at Waltham Petcare Science Institute, says: “Dogs shiver in response to falling temperatures. Dogs with short or no hair are especially susceptible. You should get them warm, put coats on them or bring them inside.”


  • They're anxious or scared

    “Shaking is a response to epinephrine or adrenaline secretion — a sign of anxiety where the dog is on high alert,” says James Serpell, B.S., Ph.D., Professor of Humane Ethics & Animal Welfare at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. You may notice this when you’re at the vet or there’s a situation where they feel threatened. Dr. Serpell also offers a way to help in some cases: “Identify what’s triggering the behavior. Provide them comfort. Going forward, you can gradually desensitize your pet to the thing it’s afraid of.”


  • They’re excited

    This is probably the most comforting answer to every dog owner’s concern about dog shaking. Apart from being a response to anxiety or stress, a dog’s trembling can also be a result of excitement. This trembling or shaking is not a matter of concern and will stop once the animal calms down.


  • They're not feeling well

    Trembling can also be a sign of serious issues like injury, poisoning, or kidney disease. Dr. Jo Gale, BVetMed CertLAS MRCVS, Senior Manager, Global Science Advocacy at Waltham Petcare Science Institute urges pet owners to be vigilant: “If a pet is unwell in another way, they could be trembling.” If their shaking is accompanied by symptoms like diarrhea, limping, or vomiting, you should consult your vet straight away.


  • They’re suffering from Shaker syndrome

    Shaker syndrome has been observed in white dogs of smaller-sized breeds. It causes shivering in a dog’s entire body. The precise cause of this syndrome is not yet known; however, your vet will be able to prescribe medications upon close examination.


  • They’re getting old

    Old age is also a pretty common cause of shaking and shivering in dogs. This is because age reduces tolerance to even a slight amount of cold. Besides that, shaking can also be a result of other old-age-related issues like joint pains or weakening of limbs.


When to see a vet for dog shivering or shaking?

As mentioned earlier, you should immediately consult a vet if, along with shaking, your dog is also experiencing vomiting, limping, or diarrhea. Even though shaking is a common symptom of old age-related issues, you must take your dog to the vet. If they are suffering from joint pain, early treatment is necessary. It is also advisable to visit a vet if your dog’s shaking or shivering hasn’t stopped even after a few minutes. 


Additionally, if you ever notice violent shaking in your dog, it might be a seizure. In such a case, rush to an emergency room as quickly as possible.


FAQs on Why is My Dog Shaking

  1. Why is my dog shivering?
  2. Your dog may be shivering due to the cold or because they are stressed out. If you are unable to identify the exact cause of dog trembling or shivering, do reach out to a vet immediately. 


  3. What should I do if my dog is shaking?
  4. Firstly, identify the potential cause for your dog to shake or tremble. If your dog is shaking out of excitement, anxiety, or stress, it is not a matter of concern, and you can simply try to calm the pet down. If the animal is shaking due to cold, wrap it in blankets and layers until the dog’s shaking stops. However, if neither of these is the cause, look for other symptoms of illness or injury. The shaking might be due to either of those, and your dog may need immediate medical help.


  5. How do you comfort a shivering dog?
  6. If your dog is shivering due to cold, wrap them in blankets until they feel warm. If they are feeling anxious, you can take them to a place where they feel safe. You can also talk to them in a comforting tone until they feel calm.

  7. Should I be worried if my dog is shaking?
  8. A dog’s shaking or shivering is not always a matter of concern. For instance, if it is caused by anxiety, stress, or excitement, the shaking will stop in a few minutes, or as soon as your dog calms down. Also, if it is caused due to cold, it will stop once your dog feels warm again. However, if it is caused due to an injury, or is accompanied by symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, it is a matter of concern and needs immediate attention from a vet. You may also need to consult a vet if your dog is a senior suffering from shaking or trembling.

  9. What does it look like when a dog has tremors?
  10. Tremors in a dog are involuntary and rhythmic muscle movements which may occur in the entire body or in parts of the body. These movements may either be fast or slow.

  • Understanding Puppy Food Nutrition Labels
    Understanding Puppy Food Nutrition Labels
    Understanding Puppy Food Nutrition Labels

    How much do you know about the food you’re buying for your puppy? When shopping for puppy food, pay attention to these three sections of a dog food label.


    1. The Ingredient Panel

    This section lists all the ingredients that make up the product. The ingredients are listed in descending order according to weight before cooking. In dry food, look for a source of high-quality animal-based protein: chicken or lamb, for example. Dogs thrive on animal proteins.

    Manufacturers who use large amounts of vegetable proteins might be saving money by providing basic — but not optimal — nutrition. You should also avoid artificial colors and flavors, which offer no nutritional benefits.


    2. The Guaranteed Analysis

    Near the ingredient panel should be a chart of percentages called the 'guaranteed analysis.' These figures reveal the basic nutrient makeup of the dog food's formula and protein content. The minimum percentages of protein and fat and the maximum percentages of fiber and moisture (water) should be listed.


    3. The Manufacturer’s Name and Address

    This information must be included on the label by law. A toll-free number or web address for the manufacturer may also be listed. Manufacturers who list a phone number, such as IAMS™, generally have a high-quality product and welcome consumer calls and questions. If you would like information about IAMS products, visit our website or call us toll-free at 800-525-4267.

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