My dog is shaking: what does it mean?

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There can be many reasons why your dog is shaking or trembling. Shaking in dogs is not uncommon and can have many causes, such as when they are excited or trying to dry their fur. You often need to look in context to find out exactly why your dog is shaking: it doesn’t always mean your dog is sick. Certain breeds have it in their genes, but it can also be related to age or how insecure he feels. So if your dog is shaking, you should first stay calm and observe him and the situation carefully.

We want to help you understand when your dog’s shaking is harmless and when you should consult a veterinarian.

When a Dog Shakes: The Causes

When Do Dogs Shake? Here, we have compiled for you the 11 most important reasons why dogs shake:

Shake off excess moisture:

If your dog just got wet from a swim or a walk, shake him to get rid of the excess water. In this case, shaking is perfectly normal and may even be good for your dog, as it can help prevent hypothermia.

Just by shaking, dogs can remove up to 70% of the water from their fur – so if you’re in his splash zone, you can easily get soaked!


Some dog breeds have thin coats, especially small dogs that are more prone to freezing. Just like we shiver, your dog shiveres when it’s cold. In this case, a dog coat or other dog clothing will certainly help protect him from the elements. However, if it’s cold outside and your dog is shivering for prolonged periods of time, you’d better take him to the vet, as his shivering could also be a sign of hypothermia in this case.

Stress or anxiety:

Dogs may also shake from stress or fear, which is common in a veterinarian’s office or during a fireworks display. Tremors in dogs may also be accompanied by signs such as whimpering, whining, growling, or panting, and they may tilt their ears back and hide them. If your dog often seems anxious, you should be aware of possible triggers that may be spooking him. You can try to avoid such triggers or seek help from a dog behavior therapist.

Excitement and emotions:

Other possible reasons why a dog keeps shaking is excitement or anticipation. Your dog may be shaking when he’s playing with you, or when you’ve just come home and he’s happy to see you. Or, if you’re taking him for a walk. When dogs shake with excitement, it helps them release excess energy and gain better control. This is most common in puppies, as they tend to have weaker impulse control. It’s a good educational idea to pay your dog less attention and then reward him with quiet petting until he’s calmed down.

Old age:

Sometimes a dog’s trembling is due to his age. It’s not uncommon for an older dog to shake, and it’s normal to twitch or shake occasionally – just like old people do. But sometimes excessive shaking can also be a sign of pain, especially joint pain. If you’re not sure, it’s best to take your dog to the vet as soon as possible.

muscle weakness:

Are your dog’s hind legs shaking? Muscle weakness may also be the cause of tremors. It usually manifests primarily as tremors in the legs – especially the rear legs. Usually, the shivering subsides once your dog has had a chance to rest. However, if you think your dog has this condition, it’s best to take him to the vet. He may prescribe exercises to strengthen muscles or treatments such as massage or hydrotherapy.

Muscle tremors from exertion:

Your dog is shaking all over? Many dog ​​breeds like to be active and really get some exercise. As a result, your dog may be shaking all over after a long period of vigorous exercise, while his muscles need to recover after exertion.

breed-related shivering

For example, shaking is common in Chihuahuas. They are one of the most wobbly breeds. Due to their smaller size, they are more prone to cold and more prone to freezing.

Plus, Chihuahuas have a fast metabolism and are true energy beams: therefore, they burn energy faster and lose heat faster. Terriers also tremble a lot because, as hounds, they are constantly under power. In addition, there is what is known as “white dog shaker syndrome” – a genetic disorder that primarily affects white dogs. According to a 2013 study by the University of Sydney, lighter dog breeds are more excitable and hyperactive, and therefore more likely to shake from excitement. They’re also more susceptible to factors that cause tremors, such as attachment problems, anxiety, or fear.


For example, eating foods that are toxic or drug-induced to dogs. If you suspect these are triggers for your dog’s shaking, you should take him to the veterinarian immediately.


Distemper, gastric torsion (especially in large breeds), or seizures may also be the cause of your dog’s shaking. If there are other symptoms of illness along with shaking (dizziness, vomiting, limping, whimpering, shouting, and loss of appetite), you should have him checked by a veterinarian. By the way, a seizure is different from a tremor in that your dog is still responsive and can maintain eye contact with you during the tremor. This is no longer the case with seizures and seizures. Other causes of disease-related tremors in dogs can include kidney failure, heart disease, stroke, and other brain disorders.


Dog Shivering While Sleeping:

Your dog shakes in his sleep? Don’t worry, the same goes for most of his peers. Dogs also process the experiences of the day in dreams, which can be very vivid, with corresponding muscular movements. Don’t worry: If your dog shakes in his sleep, it usually means he’s really relaxing.

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