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Why Do Dogs Shake? 6 Most Common Reasons

Why Do Dogs Shake? 6 Most Common Reasons

If you’ve noticed that your dog is experiencing shakes and shivers even when it isn’t cold outside, you must have asked yourself – Why do dogs shake?

Mostly, it’s harmless and your dog is completely fine. But sometimes we have to take action and help them. In this article we will discuss the six most common reasons why our dogs shake or shiver.

Why do dogs shake? Causes and actions to take

In most cases there isn’t any reason to panic if your dog starts shaking. Here are the six most common reason:

They are cold

The most common reason our dogs shake is that they are cold. Shaking and shivering in cold temperatures is our body’s way of activating our heart to pump blood faster to raise our body temperature and prevent hypothermia.

Small dogs are often more prone to shivering due to low temperatures than larger ones. The reason is quite obvious, they lack in body mass and insulation.

If your dog is constantly cold, consider getting them a dog sweater or jacket. That will help them to stay warm, and it also looks pretty adorable. Also, always make sure to provide your dog with a cozy and warm place that they can rest in. A warm blanket and a cozy bed will do the trick.

Golden retriever in the snow enjoying the winter
The most common reason why dogs start shaking and shivering are cold temperatures.

They are excited

Your dog might shake or shiver when he’s excited. It’s unsure as to why, but it might just be their way to show intense emotions. This type of shaking is harmless, and should stop as soon as your dog calms down.

In most cases it’s okay to just ignore this type of shaking, or give your dog a treat once they calm down to comfort them.

Negative emotions such as stress, anxiety and fear

Negative and unpleasant emotions can also lead to shivering and shaking. It’s not dangerous, but stress and anxiety are just as harmful to your dog as they are to you.

Do your best to comfort your dog and relieve him from the stress. Start at the source – Why is your dog experiencing these negative emotions? Try to remove the cause, but if you can’t do that – try to make them feel as safe as possible. Reassure them that everything is going to be fine, give them a treat and their favorite toy.

Dogs often experience this during thunderstorms or fireworks, and while we can’t control any of these, we can try to mask the sounds. So if your dog is shaking because he’s hearing thunder, try turning up the TV.

They are seeking your attention

If you rush to comfort your dog every time they are shaking, they might start doing it just for the attention. Even though dogs are literal angels, they still know some ways to manipulate you. If they get a treat every time they shake, they’ll start doing it to earn your sympathy and get some extra food.

The best thing to do here would be to stop reinforcing it. If you’re sure that there isn’t any other reason your dog is shaking other than being super dramatic, the best thing would be to ignore it.

Golden retriever puppy standing while his owner wonders why do dogs shake
Sometimes the only reason our dogs shake is to gain sympathy and get some treats.

Pain or illness

Shaking could also be a sign that your dog is experiencing pain. Shivers and muscle tremors could also be symptoms of serious medical conditions such as hypoglycemia, brain disorders, distemper or, most commonly, an upset stomach.

If your dog is constantly shaking, it could be a sign of generalized tremor syndrome. That’s a chronic condition that can thankfully be helped with medication.

Inspect your dog and see if you see any other signs of illness or injury. Contact your vet immediately.

Old age

If your dog is a senior, his muscles might develop tremors. It can also be a sign of joint pain or arthritis.

If your senior dog is starting to shake more than usual, contact your vet as soon as possible.


Shaking and shivering is mostly harmless. It’s most often your dog’s normal reaction to low temperatures or some strong emotions. Either positive or negative.

If your dog’s shaking is lasting longer than a few minutes even after you warmed them up or they calmed down, contact your vet and ask them what to do.

Even if there isn’t any cause for concern, you’ll sleep better knowing your pup is fine.