My Dog is Shaking: The 5 Common Causes

Is your dog trembling uncontrollably? This behavior can be a cause for concern, leaving pet owners wondering what’s causing the shakes. The good news is, there are several explanations, ranging from pure excitement to underlying health issues. In a recent PT MD article, it shared “Dog Breeds Predisposed to Shaking Issues,” which was insightful for all owners. This comprehensive guide will help you decipher why your furry friend might be shivering and trembling. We’ll explore the five most common reasons behind dog shaking and provide tips on how to address each one.

1. Cold

my dog is shaking

Just like us humans, dogs can get cold too, especially if they have thin fur or if they’re not used to the cold weather. If you live in a cold climate or if your dog has spent a lot of time outdoors in the cold, shivering is a natural way for them to try to generate heat and stay warm.

Here are some signs that your dog might be cold:

  • Shivering or trembling
  • Curling up in a tight ball
  • Lifting their paws off the ground
  • Whining or barking

What you can do:

  • Bring your dog inside where it’s warm.
  • Dry off your dog if they’re wet.
  • Give your dog a warm blanket or bed to curl up in.
  • If your dog has short fur, consider getting them a sweater or coat to wear when they’re outside in the cold.

2. Excitement

5 Reasons Your Dog May Be Shaking

Sometimes, dogs may shake out of excitement, especially during playtime or when anticipating something enjoyable like a walk or treat. Below is 4 reasons for excitement in your dog.

1. Emotional Overflow: This is the most popular explanation. Some experts believe that dogs have intense emotions just like humans, and the shaking is a way for their bodies to physically express that excitement. It’s like their internal fireworks display bursting out into their muscles.

2. Anticipation and Energy Release: When your pup gets excited, their body gears up for action. Muscles tense, adrenaline pumps, and energy builds. The shaking might be a way to release some of this excess energy before they explode with zooms and zoomies.

3. Communication and Bonding: Some scientists think that the shaking might be a way for dogs to communicate their excitement to other dogs or even to humans. Think of it as a happy dance that says, “Hey, I’m super excited about this! Let’s play!”

4. A Throwback to Puppyhood: Wild canines sometimes shake when they play or discover something new. Maybe the shaking in our domestic dogs is a kind of ancestral memory, a reminder of their playful roots.

3. Stress, Anxiety and Fear


Fear and Anxiety: Just like us, dogs can experience stress and anxiety that manifests in physical ways, including shaking. Loud noises, new environments, separation anxiety, or even meeting unfamiliar dogs can trigger these shivers. Unlike the happy jiggles of excitement, these tremors are often accompanied by other signs like flattened ears, tucked tails, and whimpering.

What to Do:

  • Comfort and Reassurance: Your presence and soothing words can go a long way. Stay calm and offer gentle pats or cuddles.
  • Remove the Stress Factor: If possible, try to identify and eliminate the source of your dog’s anxiety. For example, create a safe space during thunderstorms or avoid situations that overwhelm them.
  • Distraction and Redirection: Engage your dog with toys or activities they enjoy to focus their attention away from the stressor.
  • Be the Calm Leader: Remember, dogs mirror our emotions. Stay calm and composed yourself, as your composure can help soothe your anxious pup.

Mimicking Your Emotions: Dogs are incredibly perceptive and can pick up on your own stress and anxiety. If you’re feeling tense or worried, it’s possible your dog is reflecting those emotions through shaky behavior. Working on managing your own stress can inadvertently help calm your furry friend.

When to See a Vet:

While occasional stress-induced shaking is normal, persistent tremors or those accompanied by other unusual symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy should be checked by a veterinarian. They can rule out any underlying medical conditions and offer further guidance on managing your dog’s anxiety.

4. Seeking Attention – My Dog Is Shaking:

Attention Seeking Dog Behaviour

While showering your dog with love is natural, sometimes rushing to comfort every tremble might backfire. Remember, like toddlers testing boundaries, some dogs can be clever! They might realize that wiggles and shivers get them instant cuddles or extra treats, leading to strategic shakes during playtime or even at the dinner bowl.

To break this cycle, it’s important to be a smart dog owner. Instead of automatically responding to every tremor, observe the context. A playful wag and excited shivers after work likely deserve some scratches and attention. But persistent shaking, especially without the usual tail wags and happy eyes, might require a different approach.

Here’s how to navigate the attention-seeking wobbles:

  • Observe and Differentiate: Is your pup bouncing with excited tail wags or trembling with flattened ears and anxious whimpers? Understanding the context helps distinguish playful antics from genuine distress.
  • Reward Desired Behavior: For attention-seeking shakes during playtime, redirect their energy with toys or engage in their favorite activity. This rewards the behavior you want (engaging play) and avoids reinforcing the shakes.
  • Ignore Strategic Shivers: When your dog seems to be “turning on the shakes” for extra treats or cuddles, resist the urge to immediately give in. A short pause or ignoring the behaviour sends the message that shaking isn’t the route to attention.
  • Focus on Consistency: Be consistent in your approach. Don’t give in to strategic shakes one time and respond differently the next. This keeps the message clear and helps break the attention-seeking cycle.

Remember, building a strong bond with your dog goes beyond constant attention. By offering a combination of love, playtime, training, and some healthy independence, you’ll not only avoid reinforcing attention-seeking shakes but also raise a confident and well-adjusted furry friend.

5. Pain or Illness:

How to Tell if Your Dog is in Pain

We often think what to do when my dog is shaking, Sometimes a dog’s shaking can signal something beyond playful anticipation. Here’s when those shivers might warrant a closer look:

Shivers as Symptoms:

  • Medical Maladies: Shaking can be a symptom of various illnesses, from distemper and hypoglycemia to even Addison’s disease and inflammatory brain disease. More common culprits could be an upset stomach or internal discomfort.
  • Chronic Tremors: Persistent, unprovoked shakes could point to generalized tremor syndrome, a chronic condition requiring veterinary attention and potentially medication.
  • Painful Pangs: If your dog shows unusual shaking alongside limping, whimpering, or any change in behavior, pain could be the culprit. A trip to the vet is crucial in such cases.

What to Do:

  • Observe and Compare: Is the shaking isolated or accompanied by other red flags? Does it seem different from their usual playful wiggles? Observing the context and comparing it to their normal behavior is key.
  • Vet Visit, ASAP: If the shaking seems persistent, unusual, or accompanied by worrying symptoms, don’t delay. Consult your veterinarian promptly to rule out any underlying medical concerns.
  • Early Action is Key: Addressing potential health issues early on can make a world of difference for your furry friend’s well-being. Remember, prompt action is always better than watchful waiting.

Calming Your Shaking Dog: Can CBD Oil Help?

Many dog owners face the common concern: why is my dog shaking? Often, this shaking stems from stressful situations that leave pups pacing, panting, or cowering. CBD oil has emerged as a natural solution for calming anxious dogs. But is it effective?

Let’s explore three potential ways CBD oil might benefit your canine companion:

  • Calming the Nerves: CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, which regulates functions like mood and anxiety. While research is ongoing, some studies suggest CBD may dampen stress responses and promote calmness in animals, potentially reducing anxious behaviors.
  • Promoting Relaxation: CBD oil might also elevate levels of Anandamide, a “feel-good” neurotransmitter. This can lead to tranquility and relaxation, easing tension and helping your pup feel more at ease during stressful events like thunderstorms or fireworks.
  • Addressing Underlying Pain: Some anxious dogs might experience chronic pain. CBD’s potential anti-inflammatory properties could help manage this discomfort.

Remember, those happy shivers are a joy to see. But staying informed about the nuances of your dog’s shaking is crucial. By being observant and taking thoughtful action, you can ensure your dog’s tail wags represent a joyful symphony, not a silent plea for help.

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Dogs are often subject to distressing situations such as thunderstorms being frightened of strangers aggression or even being left alone. Vetalogica Canine Tranquil Formula contains Tryptophan and essential B group vitamins to help maintain normal emotional balance in dogs

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Why My Dog is Shaking

Q: Is it normal for dogs to shake?

A: Occasional shaking in dogs is normal, especially during times of excitement or in response to cold temperatures. However, persistent or severe shaking may indicate an underlying issue that requires veterinary attention.

Q: What should I do if my dog is shaking uncontrollably?

A: If your dog is shaking uncontrollably or if their shaking is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, such as weakness or difficulty breathing, seek veterinary care immediately.

Q: Can anxiety cause shaking in dogs?

A: Yes, anxiety and stress can cause dogs to shake. Providing a calm and secure environment for your dog, along with behavioral training and support, can help reduce anxiety-related shaking.

Q: Are there any natural remedies for calming a shaking dog?

A: Some natural remedies, such as calming supplements, pheromone diffusers, and aromatherapy, may help reduce anxiety and stress in dogs. However, it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian before using any new products or treatments.

Why is Dog Shaking: Closing Thoughts

Understanding why your dog is shaking can be crucial for their well-being. From common causes like cold weather or excitement to more serious issues such as stress, anxiety, or pain, it’s important to observe your dog’s behavior and context carefully. While occasional shaking may be normal, persistent or unusual tremors could indicate underlying health concerns that require veterinary attention. Additionally, the use of CBD oil has emerged as a potential natural remedy to help calm anxious dogs, although further research is needed to fully understand its effectiveness. By staying informed and attentive to your dog’s needs, you can ensure they remain happy.

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