What Does It Mean If Your Dog Is Shaking?

What does it mean if your dog is shaking? There are a number of things that could be responsible for your dog shaking. And these causes range from mild to it’s time to call in the vet.

What Does It Mean If Your Dog Is Shaking
Image by Ralf Becker from Pixabay

The basic way to find out what is what and whether or not to call in the vet is by paying attention to the attendant symptoms. However, before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s find out what it could mean if your dog is shaking.

Some Reasons That Dogs Shake


While it is not very common, it is possible that your dog is shaking or shivering from the cold.

You’ll notice this kind if your dog is just coming in from outside and the weather is really cold. Most likely, you’ll be feeling really cold too.

More often than not, dogs who shake or shiver as a result of cold are hairless or have a really short fur.

So, you could consider getting your dog a really nice and warm sweater even before they start to shiver if they are hairless or have a short fur.

That said, cold is definitely not the only reason that dogs shiver.

Excitement Or Anxiety

We are trying to work our way from the not so worrying to the really worrying.

That said, your dog could be shaking out of excitement. This is more common with puppies because dogs tend to grow out of this kind of behavior.

You’ll notice that it is excitement if your dog is always like this when you or anybody in your home comes back from work or school or maybe when they get a new toy or even at the prospect of their favorite treat.

Now, whether or not this is a behavior you want to encourage is totally up to you.

But if you are not up for your dog always vibrating because they are excited, you could train them to stop that by teaching them to sit before giving them what they want.

On the exact other hand, your dog could be shaking because they are anxious or even scared. There are a number of things that could shake up a dog real bad including fireworks.

Anxiety could also be a result of a really bad past which could be triggered by anything that reminds them of said past.

You’ll have to pay particular attention to your dog’s environment in order to easily point out what exactly is causing their anxiety and/or fear.

Generalized Tremor Syndrome

Now while Generalized Tremor Syndrome (GTS) sounds really frightening, it isn’t the worst thing and we’ll tell you why.

For one, GTS isn’t usually accompanied by any other symptoms. So basically, dogs that have GTS (usually small dogs) just shake a lot for no other reason than the GTS.

The second reason we wouldn’t say it is the absolute worst thing is that the syndrome can be managed with proper medication. Just be sure that you inform your veterinarian about it.


Cheshire Animal
Image by Liselotte Brunner from Pixabay

If you’ve ever sprained an ankle or pulled a muscle and suddenly put weight on said injured leg, you might have noticed that said injured leg would just start vibrating. The same goes for your dog.

If your dog is shaking because they are in pain from an injury, it will most likely be localized i.e. the shakes would be restricted to whatever part of the body the injury is.

You might also notice that it is difficult for your dog to move around which could also be accompanied by whining.

Other Medical Issues

A good number of times, dogs shiver or shake because they are in pain. And by this we refer to other causes of pain aside injuries.

Other medical reasons that could cause dogs to shake include canine distemper (a condition that causes dogs to shake and is accompanied by coughing, fever and even nose and eye discharge), seizure disorders and also nausea.

Nausea could also be a result of a number of different things ranging from motion sickness to kidney disease.

Your dog could also be shivering because they have been poisoned i.e. they have eaten something they shouldn’t.

When Is It Necessary To Call The Vet?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with calling your vet if you notice that there is anything off with your dog.

However, you might be able to save yourself a few trips to the vet if you know what red flags to look out for. So, consider calling your vet if:

  • Your dog is shaking for no reason and the weather isn’t even cold. Even if the weather is cold, you might need to call in the vet if your shaking dog is long furred and you aren’t even feeling the cold.
  • Your dog is or looks sick.
  • Your dog seems generally stressed or tired and doesn’t want to participate in activities they usually would.
  • Your dog is whining and favouring one part of their body.
  • Your dog is vomiting and/or has diarrhoea.
  • You notice that your dog has eaten something that they shouldn’t.

Can Anything Be Done To Prevent The Shakes?

Well, what you can do is be attentive. Get your dog some comfortable sweaters, especially if they are short furred. Also, be informed about what dogs should and should not eat so that you do not poison your dog.

However, you’ll have to bear in mind that Generalized Tremor Syndrome cannot be prevented or cured. It can only be managed.

Ifechinalu Ekwuribe

Ifechinalu is an ardent researcher and writer who dedicates some of her time to researching on issues concerning and products related to pets and dogs in particular.She has been doing this since 2018 and has been able to gather a lot of knowledge on dogs, especially.Feel free to engage with her articles in the comment section as she is always willing to discuss dogs and answer any questions you have concerning your beloved pet.

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