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 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:


shake fr dogs

  • 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.”


shake fr dogs


  • 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 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 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 actually 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. 


  • Nutrition for Large- and Giant-Breed Adult Dogs
    Nutrition for Large- and Giant-Breed Adult Dogs
    Nutrition for Large- and Giant-Breed Adult Dogs

    Healthy joints and proper weight are especially important for dogs that grow to be more than 50 pounds. But not all large- and giant-breed adult dogs have the same nutritional needs. Is your dog getting proper exercise? Is she about to have puppies? Special conditions can dramatically affect your dog’s nutritional demands. Giving her a food specially formulated for her large size, life stage and activity level is the easiest way to make sure she’s getting the nutrients she needs.



    Choosing a Food for Overall Health

    To address the special needs of your large- or giant-breed dog, look for these features:

    • Less fat to help maintain an ideal body condition for less joint stress
    • Vitamin-rich fish oils for healthy skin, shiny coat and overall health
    • Essential vitamins and minerals to help support the immune system and help maintain good health
    • High-quality animal-based protein sources to help maintain muscle tone
    • A moderately fermentable fiber source, such as beet pulp, to maintain intestinal health, enhance your dog's ability to absorb nutrients, and reduce backyard cleanup
    • A carbohydrate blend to help sustain energy by maintaining normal blood sugar levels


    These components are key to good nutrition. Look for them in treats, wet dog food, or dry dog food, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Adult Large Breed.



    Maintaining Healthy Joints and Cartilage

    Joint health is a big concern for owners of large- and giant-breed dogs. A large- or giant-breed formula that contains high-quality protein can help nourish healthy joints. Vitamins and minerals help promote the production of cartilage. Also, keeping your dog at a healthy weight will help minimize joint stress.



    Guarding Against Weight Gain

    Dogs with lower activity levels and dogs that have been neutered or spayed are all prone to weight gain. Controlling your dog’s weight is an important step toward protecting against the health effects of excess weight, such as diabetes or joint health problems. If you use a weight-management food, look for these characteristics:

    • A reduced fat level that still offers essential nutrients for skin and coat health
    • L-carnitine, a key nutrient that helps burn fat and maintain muscle mass during weight loss
    • Special carbohydrate blends that help maintain energy while managing weight
    • Vitamin-rich fish oils for overall health



    Providing Nutrition During Pregnancy

    Pregnant dogs have substantial nutrition requirements. Starting in the seventh week of her pregnancy, a mother dog will need to increase her energy intake up to 50% by the time she gives birth and increase it even more when she starts nursing her puppies. Because she may lose her appetite at times, it's important that she eats a nutrient-dense food. A complete, balanced puppy formula can give her the extra nutrients she needs. But avoid puppy food created for large and giant breeds; these formulas contain specially adjusted levels of energy and minerals that may not be sufficient for a pregnant or nursing dog.



    Switching to a Mature Diet

    Dogs who grow to be more than 50 pounds are considered mature or senior at age 5 or 6, which is earlier than small-breed dogs. So, it’s critical to make a proactive transition to a specially formulated mature diet, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Mature Adult Large Breed, to help keep your dog healthy and active as she ages.

    Nutrition for Large and Giant Breed Adult Dogs
    Nutrition for Large and Giant Breed Adult Dogs