5 Reasons Why Your Dog May Shiver and How to Prevent and Treat It

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It is not rare to see some dogs tremble and shake even when the weather outside is not cold. Many small dogs such as Chihuahuas are easy victims of this condition. When is missing like a regular way of life for some dogs to shiver it could also be a sign that something is wrong.

There are various possible reasons why your dog might be shaking but whether the cause of the shaking is severe or not will be your veterinarian’s decision to make. However, sometimes it might be difficult to pin down the cause of shivering in dogs so don’t be surprised if you have it tells you that he can’t figure out why your dog is shaking.

Why do dogs shiver or shake?


The reasons why dogs shiver or shake are numerous and in this article exploring some of them starting from the list serious to the most serious.

Cold weather

Even human beings shiver during cold weather when they have no protection against the cold. This it is no surprise that dogs with low body fat or thin coats such as Doberman and greyhounds get really cold easily. Some dogs can get chilly even when it’s just about 50 or 60 degrees Fahrenheit outside.

When it is rainy or humid, it is vital that you are more careful because these dogs will definitely feel colder. If after warming your dog up it’s still shaky you should consider taking it to the vet for proper examination so that you can treat whatever condition might be responsible.

Generalised tremor syndrome

Some small dog species naturally tremble a lot. You will have noticed that if you have a chihuahua or a miniature pinscher around you. It has remained a mystery to experts why these little fellows get shaky easily, but it suspected that they might react to cold this way because they are more anxious, less active, or maybe because they are very tiny.

Any dog owner should be more concerned if the pet’s trembling is a new behaviour or if it is accompanied by some other changes in your dog’s expression.

If your lap dog or puppy begins to shiver too much, consult your vet immediately. The vet might then access your pet’s muscle tone said to check for some other possible reason for the trembling. There is also a chance that your vet will diagnose your canine with Generalized Tremor Syndrome (GTS), but it can easily be treated using corticosteroids.

Signs of injury or body weakness


Have you ever had to work out so much so that you notice your muscles quiver a little? You may even notice that one of your pulled muscles will begin to vibrate when you make a wrong move.

Your dog can experience that same thing when they are injured, weak, or in pain. If you notice that the shaking is restricted to a single area of your dog’s body such as the hind legs, consult your vet immediately. Such shakiness may start after a heavy exercise, and it could be accompanied with a decrease in the level of activity.

If what your dog is dealing with is muscle tremor, it may become worse if you try to massage or stretch the area, or if you try to exercise your canine. When your dog trembles due to weakness and pain, it may also appear stressed.

Excitement, fear, or anxiety

Strong emotions can cause your dog to shiver and tremble. If you notice that your dog gets shaky in specific situations like when you go to the vet, when you take a walk, or maybe when you have guests around, then there is a chance that the reason for the shivering is more emotional than physical.

Even if you discover that your dog shakes out of excitement and not necessarily fear, it is advisable to consult your vet and rule out health reasons, then find ways to train your pet to compose itself when excited.

The best option you have when it comes to teaching your dog to be settled is to visit a certified dog behaviour consultant. The local obedience trainer cannot help your dog deal with behaviour problems; he can only teach your dog to respond of reacting to commands, so he isn’t the best person to consult in cases like this.

If the dog behaviour consultant notices that the behaviour modification isn’t working as it should, he may advise that you discuss with your vet on the possibility of using behavioural medication for your dog.

Medical reasons or diseases

There are numerous scary disease conditions out there that can make your dog begin to shake all of a sudden. Diseases like kidney disease, distemper, neurological disease, seizure disorder and many other conditions can cause your canine to start shaking.

If you notice that your dog starts shaking, pay attention to fire any changes in its activity level, behaviour, and appetite. It is also imperative that you pay attention to the consistency, odour, assume the frequency of your dog’s urine and stool.

Once you notice your dog shaking for the first time and you discover some other symptoms call for concern, visit your vet immediately so that the issue can be diagnosed and treated before it gets out of hand. The vet may have to do bloodwork and some other tests before making a diagnosis.


While it is possible to treat or manage some of the conditions that cause dogs to shiver or shake, some other conditions such as distemper are severe and fatal in most cases. You can prevent your dog from having distemper by vaccinating it against such disease.

You can also discuss good preventive care against kidney disease with your vet. What you may have issues with are the causes of neurological disease and seizure disorders as they can be more difficult to pin down.


Eating a variety of toxins can make your dog have a series of seizure activities and shake. If your dog starts to tremble after eating something make sure to call your vet and call animal poison control if that is available in your country. Toxins can cause a medical emergency very quickly so do not choose to wait and see if your canine will get better


The treatment for shaky dogs will be determined by the underlying cause of the condition as there are various treatment options available for specific causes. For a dog that is excited or cold, treatment might be as simple as calming her down or warning her up. The only things you have to visit a vet in this condition is when warning up and calming down doesn’t work.

Some warning signs let us know when to visit the vet with our canines. These signs include:

  • When symptoms such as vomiting and limping come with the shaking.
  • The shaking affects its ability to play or do other things. It would naturally do with ease.
  • A dog appears distressed while shaking
  • Your dog begins to shiver after eating something it shouldn’t eat.

If your dog is injured or sick, the chances are that you do not need to attempt treating without consulting your vet. Book an appointment with your vet and have them find out what the problems and solutions are so that your animal can feel better with time.

Depending on what a canine has invested, in a case of shaking due to consumption of toxins, your dog may only need to vomit. However, make sure to consult a poison control centre to be precise about what to do.

Preventing shaking in dogs

The only way you can avoid shaking in dogs is by first finding out what causes the shaking. Keeping your dog away from cold weather, making sure she is always warm, well exercised, relaxed, and far from anything poisonous can help to prevent shaking. However, there are surviving dog breeds that are more prone to shivering. Therefore, it is best to visit your vet and seek their advice on the best preventive measures to adopt.

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