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Why Is My Dog Shaking? 7 Causes That Can Trigger Shaking

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Your dog can be shaking for several reasons. Stress and low body temperature are the most common causes of shaking in dogs. Dogs can also shake and shiver due to anxiety, pain, or simply to dry off.

Having a dog can be amazing. Random snuggles and hugs can make one’s day. 

Sometimes dogs exhibit strange and unusual behaviors though. Behaviors that make owners scratch their heads. 

Random shaking is one of them.

If your dog is shaking out of nowhere, there might be an underlying condition that requires attention. You should try to read their body language to identify the probable cause for this behavior.

Why is My Dog Shaking?

Dogs shake due to extreme stress and anxiety. If something is scaring your dog, it may shake as a sign of fear. Other reasons include low body temperature, injuries, excitement, and infections.

Stress, anxiety, and fear are common causes of shaking in dogs. So are excitement, freezing, and if they get wet.

There is no single reason that causes shaking. It depends on the circumstance. There can also be other medical conditions that cause your dog to shake. 

Notice when the shaking starts. Finding out the root cause of their unusual behavior is the key to solving their problem.

7 Reasons Why Your Dog is Shaking

Several things can cause dogs to shake: low body temperature is one of the leading causes of shaking in dogs. So is feeling cold. Stress, anxiety, fear, and excitement are also probable causes of shaking in your dog.

Dogs shake for several reasons. Each is cured in its own way. 

To stop your dog from shaking, you need to identify the stressor that is causing this behavior so you can take the necessary steps to stop it.

Here are the seven most common reasons why dogs shake.

1. Stress or Anxiety

Stressed dog

Shaking is one of the signs of stress in dogs[1]. If there are no signs of physical reasons for shaking, your dog may be suffering from stress or anxiety. Dogs feel the pressure of stress and anxiety, much like humans. They can develop these issues at any point in their lives.

Notice when the shaking starts. If it occurs when you take them to the veterinarian, it can be a sign that your dog is tense. Some dogs also develop anxiety in the presence of multiple people. 

If your dog starts shaking or exhibiting other unusual signs, such as burying its head in you, when you have visitors, your dog is likely suffering from stress and anxiety.

2. Low Body Temperature

Low Body Temperature on dogs

Shivering in the cold is a natural phenomenon for humans and dogs alike. If you see your dog shaking for no apparent reason, and the temperature is low, it’s likely due to the cold. 

Dogs with single-layered short coats are more likely to freeze during the cold season.

Shivering while cold is the body’s way of pumping blood into the body and preventing hypothermia[2]. Large dog breeds are less likely to shiver due to their mass and greater insulation. Senile dogs or dogs with health problems are more likely to shake due to low body temperature than healthy dogs.

If the temperature is too low for your dog, shaking is a sign that your dog is feeling cold.

3. Fear

dog in fear

Many dogs shake when they are scared, and they can be scared of many things. A loud noise, thunderstorms, or any other stressor can frighten your dog, which leads to shaking.

Dogs often fear a particular thing or person. Notice when the shaking starts. Figure out what triggers it to prevent it from happening in the future.

Smaller dogs can also be afraid of larger dog breeds. If you have multiple dogs in your house, check if the shaking occurs when the other dogs are in the room. You should eliminate all the stressors to stop your dog from getting scared.

4. Ear Problems

dog with Ear Problems

Ear infections are common among dogs. These infections can make dogs shake their head due to pain and discomfort. If your dog recently went for a swim or had a bath, shaking can be a sign of an ear infection.

Check your dog’s ears for signs of infection: 

  • Redness
  • Inflammation
  • Dirt
  • Pungent smell

You should always clean your dog’s ears thoroughly after a bath or when they have been in the water.

If left untreated, a simple ear infection can lead to Ear Hematoma[3] which can be extremely painful for dogs. Visit a veterinarian if the condition persists or if you see signs of an ear infection.

5. Generalized Tremor Syndrome

dog with Generalized Tremor Syndrome

Your dog may be shaking due to Generalized Tremor Syndrome[4]. The cause of this disease is unknown. It results in random shaking without any visible source of fear or stress. This disease is not common, but it is something to look out for.

Dogs of all sizes and breeds can develop this disease. It can be treated if caught early. Some dogs recover fast, while others live with the disease their entire life.

6. Poisoning

Dog Poisoning

Your dog can also be shaking if they are suffering from poisoning. If the shaking starts after you feed your dog a new food, chances are that they are suffering from toxins. 

Look for the following symptoms which indicate poisoning:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Behavioral changes
  • Seizures

If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms while shaking, intoxication is likely the reason behind it. 

Common toxic foods for dogs include:

  • Chocolate
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Avocado
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Cigarette butts (while it isn’t food, it is highly toxic to dogs).

Consult a veterinarian if your dog ingests anything other than their own food.

7. Excitement

Excited dog

Excitement is one of the least concerning reasons for shaking in dogs. If your dog is excited about a particular thing, it can show signs of shaking due to the anticipation.

Notice your dog when they do their favorite activity. If they tremble with excitement every time they go on a walk or meet other dogs, it can be a sign of happiness.

Related: Dog’s Leg Shaking (Causes and Treatment)

How to Stop Dogs from Shaking

To stop dogs from shaking, remove any stressors that can trigger this behavior. If your dog shakes due to fear, eliminate any loud noises or other scares. Try addressing their stress and anxiety by calming them down. Consult a veterinarian if you are unsure about the possible cause of your dog’s shaking.

The first step to stopping dogs from shaking is to find the root cause of the problem. Then you have to address it.

There is a possibility that your dog is exhibiting such behavior out of habit. In this case, do not encourage it and give your dog its favorite treat when they stop.

Other steps you can take to stop your dog from shaking are:

  • Eliminate any loud noises that can cause your dog to be scared.
  • Comfort them if they are feeling anxious or stressed.
  • Check for signs of ear infections and give your dog the necessary medicine to treat them.
  • In case of poisoning, take your dog to the veterinarian at the earliest to avoid further complications.
  • Generalized Tremor Syndrome requires expert guidance and proper veterinary care and cannot be treated with home remedies.

In case you are unable to identify the main cause of shaking in your dog, taking them to a professional veterinarian is the best course of action.

sick dog on vet clinic

When to See a Vet

You should visit a veterinarian if your dog is shaking rapidly and uncontrollably. Shaking can be the result of an underlying condition that must be addressed.

Dogs usually shake due to conditions that can be resolved with home remedies. In case of fear, you can calm your dog down and show affection to them. You should also try to cover your dog if they are feeling cold.

If your dog’s condition persists or you are unable to identify the root cause of shaking, consider taking your dog to a veterinarian. A checkup will indicate the potential problems your dog is facing and provide treatment to relieve them of their shivering.

Conclusion

Dogs shake for emotional and medical reasons. You should be aware of your dog’s mental and physical well-being to understand what is bothering them.

Shaking can be the result of something harmless such as excitement or drying off their fur. Other times, it can be due to a condition that requires proper care. Identify the key issue with your dog or consult a veterinarian if you are unable to pinpoint the exact cause of shaking.

FAQs

What Should I Do If My Dog Is Shaking?

You should identify the root cause of the problem. If it is due to low body temperature, try covering them up with a blanket. Your dog can also be shaking due to fear of loud noise. Try hugging them when they feel afraid to calm them down.

What Does It Mean When Your Dog is Shaking?

Shaking can be a result of several things such as fear, cold, stress, excitement, or even medical problems. You should look for the signs indicating the stressor and address them to provide comfort to your dog. 

Why is My Dog Shaking After a Bath?

Dogs shiver after a bath because they’re trying to get rid of the excess water. According to research, dogs remove around 70% of the water[5] in their fur by simply shaking their body. If your dog only shakes after getting wet, there is nothing to worry about. Shaking off water is completely normal.

Should I be worried if my dog is shaking?

In most cases, dogs shake for simple, harmless reasons. Most of them can be treated at home without the consultation of a veterinarian. If your dog is shaking continuously, it can be the result of a medical issue. You should take them to a veterinarian to find out what is bothering them.

Why is my dog shaking for no reason?

Your dog can be shaking if it is feeling cold or if there is a medical problem. if the temperature seems nice and warm, your dog can be shaking due to fear or anxiety. Some dogs are natural shakers and shake their bodies for no apparent reason.

What does shaking indicate in a dog?

Shaking can be the result of a lot of things in dogs. It can mean that they are afraid, cold, excited, stressed, anxious, or suffering from medical conditions that are causing discomfort to them.

Why Does My Dog Shake After Shots?

Dogs can start shaking after receiving vaccination shots because their body is producing antibodies against the dormant disease they’ve received. This is normal but should be monitored.

Related: Dog shaking after shots

Why Does My Dog Shake After Surgery?

Your dog’s body is adjusting to the surgery. They may be in a bit of pain, and shaking is normal for the first couple of days. Seek medical help if this persists.

Related: Dog shaking after surgery

About Dennis Stapleton

Dennis Stapleton has a passion for animals, especially dogs, and their relatives. He’s intrigued by their social structure and loves to write and teach about the world's most popular pet animal.

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