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

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

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Since we cannot directly communicate with our dogs, there are certain behaviours and actions that immediately concern us. One of these behaviours 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 Behaviour 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 behaviour. Provide them comfort. Going forward, you can gradually desensitise your pet to the thing it’s afraid of.”

  • They’re having seizures

Seizures, a serious medical condition, can be hard to differentiate from normal shaking. Dogs may shake for numerous reasons, with most being relatively harmless. However, seizures require immediate medical attention. Especially because this health issue can result in your dog’s muscles seizing up, causing a loss of mobility and awareness of its surroundings. Hence, if you notice violent shaking in your dog, rush to an emergency room as quickly as possible.

  • They’re excited

This is probably the most comforting answer to every dog owner’s concern. 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 diarrhoea, 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 diarrhoea. 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.

Now that you know why dogs shake, ensure that you pay close attention to your furry friend’s well-being. Though most of these reasons pose no threat to its health, some can be concerning. Additionally, look for other symptoms like diarrhoea, vomiting, fever, and blank stares as they can help you gauge the seriousness of the situation.


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Frequently asked questions 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 I comfort a shivering dog?
  6. If your dog is shivering due to the 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 diarrhoea, 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.


  • How to Take Care of Newborn Puppies
    How to Take Care of Newborn Puppies
    How to Take Care of Newborn Puppies

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    Bringing a furry friend home is one of the greatest things you will do. If you are someone who has been longing for a furry companion, you should wait no more... however, only if you are confident that you can take complete care of this four-legged angel. Puppies need love and care, so as their caregivers, you need to help them grow into happy and healthy dogs.

    Stay by your pet’s side throughout its growing stage. This is that time of its life where you need to do more than just provide food, love, and fun times; you must understand dog nutrition, follow the vaccination schedule, and potty train your puppy. Sparing some time and energy to provide your pet with basic puppy care can help you build a loving relationship with your pooch. So, let us explore a few things you can look into while nurturing a puppy. This basic puppy care guide will also keep you informed with what to expect in the first few months of being a caregiver.

    • Bringing your puppy home

    Wondering what to know about taking care of a new puppy? Let us start with the most basic things like puppy proofing your house. That is right. Puppies and babies fall in the same category: delicate and fragile! You need to be careful about their surroundings and make sure that there is nothing hazardous around. Puppies are naturally curious. Make sure they do not encounter things like chemicals, electrical cords, harmful houseplants, valuables, and especially breakables. You also need to get necessary pup supplies like a feeding bowl, collar, leash, and more. Set up a cosy corner for your puppy to rest in!

    • Feeding your pooch

    Choosing the right puppy food is of paramount importance. You must pick out puppy food that is specifically formulated for growing puppies as it needs the right kind of nutrients to grow stronger. So, avoid adult dog food if your pet is still a pup.

    Not sure when to make a switch to adult dog food? Well, it totally depends on the breed size. If you have a small or medium breed dog, you can switch to dog food once it turns 9 to 12 months old. If you have a large breed dog, continue feeding puppy food until it turns 12 to 24 months old. Apart from that, make sure your pup always has access to fresh and clean water!

    This is what a typical puppy feeding schedule would look like: 

    • 6-12 weeks old: Four meals per day 
    • 3-6 months old: Three meals per day 
    • 6-12 months old: Two meals per day 

    At IAMS™, we offer a range of puppy as well as adult dog food that nourishes your furry friend with vitamins, minerals, proteins, and other essential nutrients. Our products are made with premium-quality ingredients to ensure that your dog enjoys every bite of its food.

    • Vet visits and vaccinations

    Taking your furry friend to the vet is the most important part of taking care of a puppy. Your dog’s first visit to the vet will help you learn about your dog’s overall physical health. Vet visits will also keep you informed about the vaccination schedule.  In fact, it is recommended to make a list of all questions that you may have. This list should include topics like: 

    • Vaccination schedule 
    • Spaying or neutering 
    • Potty training 
    • Basic obedience training 
    • Any symptoms 
    • Diet and nutrition 
    • Deworming
    • Socialisation

    Puppies should meet a variety of different people, dogs, objects, and situations – all in a positive way. The most important time for pups to socialise is between three and 12 weeks of age, however, it should continue throughout a puppy’s development. As pet parents, you can take your pooch to puppy classes as it provides a great opportunity to socialise puppies.

    • Potty training

    You can get started with potty training from the day one. This will help inculcate basic bathroom manners in your dog and will save you from cleaning the floor every time your pooch excretes. So, pick a bathroom spot outside your house and take your pup to the same place whenever it is potty time. Praise it right after it is done. You can also reward it with treats. However, under no circumstances must a puppy be yelled at since it may ignite fear.

    The best way to train is to reward good behaviour and ignore unwanted behaviour. It is never too early to begin training a puppy, but owners must remember that very young puppies become tired or distracted easily so training sessions should be kept to a short duration.

    • Oral care

    Dogs are prone to losing tooth, bad breath, and periodontal diseases. Moreover, they are good at hiding their dental pain. Hence, owners should introduce some form of oral care for their puppy as early as possible. Consult your vet to ensure that you pick the best dental care option for your pooch.

    • Exercise

    Amounts of exercise should be controlled for puppies during growth. They should not be forced to exercise beyond the amount of time they would engage in with another puppy of the same age. Moreover, your furry friend must be allowed to rest when they need to. So, instead of offering a one long playtime period, go for two short walks.