Why Is My Dog Shaking, Shivering And Trembling?

So, your dog is shaking and you’re here wondering what’s wrong with them. Truth be told, if your dog is shaking, shivering or trembling, there could be so many different reasons that are causing this, which we will be talking about in just a minute.

Shaking in dogs can be a completely normal issue or a sign of a very serious illness, and this article will be informing you about how you can differentiate between the two situations.

However, before we go on with this article, we must go over one very important point, and that is the difference between shaking/trembling/shivering and seizures, because many people tend to mistake one for the other.

If your dog is shaking, they can still maintain eye contact with you and respond to your commands.

However, if your dog is having a seizure, they will lose control over their whole body, will not be able to maintain eye contact with you or respond to your commands and will shake violently.

Many things may cause a dog to shiver or tremble. It could be from joy that you’re home, or it could be from eating toxic foods.

What are the most common reasons a dog shivers or shakes? Is treatment necessary? And when should you talk to your vet?

Why Do Dogs Shake?

Here’s a list that goes through some of the most common causes of shaking in dogs:

– Normal Movement: Your dog can shake for completely normal purposes, such as drying themselves off or get up and alert after a small bout of sleep.

– Feeling Cold: It’s only normal that your dog starts shaking and shivering if they feel cold, just like we do.

It’s a normal movement where your dog’s body is trying to generate heat by shivering to make up for the decrease in temperature.

– Fever: In situations where your dog is suffering from a fever, their body starts shivering in an attempt to raise the body temperature.

Your dog has a serious fever if their body temperature reaches anywhere from 103 to 106 degrees, in which case it would be best that you have your veterinarian properly treat them.

– Feeling Hungry

– Excitement: When your dog is excited, their body released adrenaline to help them deal with whatever is causing the excitement, and this release of adrenaline often leads to trembling.

– Happiness

– Anxiety/Fear: Any situation that instills fear or anxiety in your dog will most often lead to trembling.

Anything from hearing sudden loud noises such as fireworks, preparing for a needle injection, moving homes and adapting to a new environment or many other events, all of these make your dog anxious and lead to trembling.

– Stress: A stressed dog which is agitated with almost always start trembling, however they return to normal after the reason for stress/agitation is gone.

– Low Blood Sugar Levels

– Low Blood Calcium Levels

– Pre-Seizure: Often times and just before they are about to have a seizure, dogs start shaking

– Old Age And Pain: The older your dog gets, the higher the chances of them developing tremors in their legs become.

And, not only do these tremors cause your dog’s legs to shake uncontrollably when standing, but they also cause pain, which can worsen the shaking situation.

– Nausea: For many, many reasons, dogs can get nauseous just like we humans sometimes do, and shaking is one of the signs that become apparent in your dog if they’re feeling nauseous.

– Poisoning: If your dog ingests something poisonous or toxic to them, that can lead to tremors and shaking.

– Kidney Disease And Kidney Failure: If your dog suffers from kidney disease or kidney failure, you may notice that they start shaking all of a sudden and the disease takes more toll on your dog’s body with time.

– Brain Disease

– Addison’s Disease: This disease leads to insufficient amounts of cortisol in your dog’s body and is a major culprit in making your dog tremble uncontrollably.

– Injury

– Distemper: Most often, this disease that is often accompanied by fever, coughing and nasal discharges occurs in younger puppies and older dogs that haven’t been properly vaccinated.

If you notice your dog is suffering from distemper, you have to immediately get them to the vet.

– Generalized Tremor Syndrome (GTS): Also known as White Dog Shaker Syndrome, This disease is quite a tough one, since it’s not yet clearly known what triggers and leads to it happening.

You can notice GTS symptoms in your dog if they are anywhere between 9 months and 2 years of age.

– Behavior Problems: A dog can learn to shiver for no reason because it often gets them a reward, which is bad behavioral training on the part of the dog owner.

Sometimes, dogs shiver for no reason and are overwhelmed with love and care.

Do this one too many times, and you teach your dog that whenever they shake and shiver, even it it’s for no reason, they’ll have your utmost attention and care. Refer to this article about dog training to see how you can solve this behavioral issue.

My Dog Is Shaking, What Should I Do?

So, if your dog starts to shake, tremble or shiver out of the blue, what should you do exactly?

Ideally, you immediately contact your veterinarian and let them know about the ongoing issue when you see your dog shaking as well as these symptoms:

  • Shaking for no specific reason
  • Has severe tremors
  • Is also vomiting
  • Also has diarrhea
  • Collapses
  • Is lethargic and weak
  • Is not eating like they used to
  • Is showing signs of depression like always wanting to be secluded
  • Is coughing and gagging

You should also jot down and notify your veterinarian about other important details they should know about, such as:

  • Whether your dog also has diarrhea
  • Whether your dog is also vomiting
  • Whether or not your dog is also showing signs of physical pain/injuries (such as limping)
  • Your dog’s appetite
  • Your dog’s thirst levels and bladder
  • Your dog’s bowel movement

These details and anything else that you can notify your veterinarian about will definitely make the process of pin-pointing why exactly your dog is shaking much easier.

From there on, your veterinarian will specify and conduct the necessary tests to determine what exactly seems to be the problem with your dog, and will specify the required course of treatment.


  1. Thanks for explaining when shivering in a dog is not a big deal and when you should call the vet. My husband and I adopted a greyhound not too long ago, and we notice he shivers quite frequently. I’ll monitor his food and water to make sure nothing has changed. If he is eating/drinking less or starts coughing, I will know to call a vet.

  2. Do not take it too lightly. I would have him xrayed, br sure there are no tumors.
    Eating and drinking normally are not always signs things are ok.
    Speaking from experience.


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