Why Is My Dog Shaking?
Why Is My Dog Shaking?

Why is My Dog Shaking? Reasons and When to See a Vet

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Since we cannot directly communicate with our dogs, there are certain behaviours and actions that immediately concern us. One of these behaviours is a dog shaking. No, not the fun way they shake off water starting from their nose all the way to the end of their tail. We’re talking about that full-body trembling you’ve likely seen your pooch do from time to time. Why do they do it? And is it something you should be worried about? 

Why is my dog shaking?

A majority of dog owners in an IAMS™ survey* (64%) think the reason behind a dog shivering is that they are cold. Other top responses were because the dogs are scared (57%) or anxious (54%). High-fives all around because it turns out there are a number of reasons why dogs shake, and all those are possible correct answers. Here are some probable reasons behind a dog trembling: 


  • They're chilly

Just like their owners, dogs will often shiver when cold. Dr. Tammie King, Applied Behaviour Technical Leader at Waltham Petcare Science Institute, says: “Dogs shiver in response to falling temperatures. Dogs with short or no hair are especially susceptible. You should get them warm, put coats on them or bring them inside.”


  • They're anxious or scared

“Shaking is a response to epinephrine or adrenaline secretion — a sign of anxiety where the dog is on high alert,” says James Serpell, B.S., Ph.D., Professor of Humane Ethics & Animal Welfare at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. You may notice this when you’re at the vet or there’s a situation where they feel threatened. Dr. Serpell also offers a way to help in some cases: “Identify what’s triggering the behaviour. Provide them comfort. Going forward, you can gradually desensitise your pet to the thing it’s afraid of.”


  • They’re having seizures

Seizures, a serious medical condition, can be hard to differentiate from normal shaking. Dogs may shake for numerous reasons, with most being relatively harmless. However, seizures require immediate medical attention. Especially because this health issue can result in your dog’s muscles seizing up, causing a loss of mobility and awareness of its surroundings. Hence, if you notice violent shaking in your dog, rush to an emergency room as quickly as possible.


  • They’re excited

This is probably the most comforting answer to every dog owner’s concern. Apart from being a response to anxiety or stress, a dog’s trembling can also be a result of excitement. This trembling or shaking is not a matter of concern and will stop once the animal calms down.


  • They're not feeling well

Trembling can also be a sign of serious issues like injury, poisoning, or kidney disease. Dr. Jo Gale, BVetMed CertLAS MRCVS, Senior Manager, Global Science Advocacy at Waltham Petcare Science Institute urges pet owners to be vigilant: “If a pet is unwell in another way, they could be trembling.” If their shaking is accompanied by symptoms like diarrhoea, limping, or vomiting, you should consult your vet straight away.


  • They’re suffering from Shaker syndrome

Shaker syndrome has been observed in white dogs of smaller-sized breeds. It causes shivering in a dog’s entire body. The precise cause of this syndrome is not yet known; however, your vet will be able to prescribe medications upon close examination.


  • They’re getting old

Old age is also a pretty common cause of shaking and shivering in dogs. This is because age reduces tolerance to even a slight amount of cold. Besides that, shaking can also be a result of other old-age-related issues like joint pains or weakening of limbs.


When to see a vet for dog shivering or shaking?

As mentioned earlier, you should immediately consult a vet if, along with shaking, your dog is also experiencing vomiting, limping, or diarrhoea. Even though shaking is a common symptom of old age-related issues, you must take your dog to the vet. If they are suffering from joint pain, early treatment is necessary. It is also advisable to visit a vet if your dog’s shaking or shivering hasn’t stopped even after a few minutes.


Now that you know why dogs shake, ensure that you pay close attention to your furry friend’s well-being. Though most of these reasons pose no threat to its health, some can be concerning. Additionally, look for other symptoms like diarrhoea, vomiting, fever, and blank stares as they can help you gauge the seriousness of the situation.

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Frequently asked questions on Why is my Dog Shaking?

  1. Why is my dog shivering?
  2. Your dog may be shivering due to the cold or because they are stressed out. If you are unable to identify the exact cause of dog trembling or shivering, do reach out to a vet immediately.

  3. What should I do if my dog is shaking?
  4. Firstly, identify the potential cause for your dog to shake or tremble. If your dog is shaking out of excitement, anxiety, or stress, it is not a matter of concern, and you can simply try to calm the pet down. If the animal is shaking due to cold, wrap it in blankets and layers until the dog’s shaking stops. However, if neither of these is the cause, look for other symptoms of illness or injury. The shaking might be due to either of those, and your dog may need immediate medical help.

  5. How do I comfort a shivering dog?
  6. If your dog is shivering due to the cold, wrap them in blankets until they feel warm. If they are feeling anxious, you can take them to a place where they feel safe. You can also talk to them in a comforting tone until they feel calm.

  7. Should I be worried if my dog is shaking?
  8. A dog’s shaking or shivering is not always a matter of concern. For instance, if it is caused by anxiety, stress, or excitement, the shaking will stop in a few minutes, or as soon as your dog calms down. Also, if it is caused due to cold, it will stop once your dog feels warm again. However, if it is caused due to an injury, or is accompanied by symptoms like vomiting and diarrhoea, it is a matter of concern and needs immediate attention from a vet. You may also need to consult a vet if your dog is a senior suffering from shaking or trembling.

  9. What does it look like when a dog has tremors?
  10. Tremors in a dog are involuntary and rhythmic muscle movements which may occur in the entire body or in parts of the body. These movements may either be fast or slow.

  • How to Leash Train a Puppy
    How to Leash Train a Puppy
    How to Leash Train a Puppy

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    Leash training can help your puppy safely explore the world beyond your house or backyard. It can enhance your dog’s walking experience and help you bond with it better. We must remember that dogs are not born with the ability to walk on a leash, they need to be taught. As their caregivers, we need to help them learn this skill comfortably. 

    If you have a large breed pup, it is imperative that you train it while it is still young. Once your fur baby grows up to be heavy, you will have a tough time handling it on a leash. You do not want to be dragged along the ground or see your dog get into an easily avoidable fracas. 

    In case you are wondering at what age to start leash training a puppy, here’s your answer: You are start at 10 weeks of its age, however, you must know that it can be done earlier. It will help your pup grow into an obedient pawsome pal. Leash training also makes it easier for you to travel with your pet and embark on exciting adventures seamlessly! Train your puppies while they are still young as it will stay with them for the rest of their lives. 

    If you are facing any trouble with how to teach your puppy to walk on a leash, here are some tips to get you started:

    • Pick the right collar

    Picking the right collar is the first step to getting your dog used to a puppy leash. It is imperative that your fur baby feels comfortable in it. So, make sure that the collar is neither too tight nor too loose; there should be space for at least two fingers under it. While leash training your puppy, breathability and comfort is of paramount importance. 

    Note: If you plan on training your puppy at an early age, stay attentive during sessions. Since your little furry friend will be at a developing stage, it will outgrow its collar soon. Make sure that you keep checking the fit of the collar and change it as and when needed.

    • Introducing your puppy to a leash

    Your puppy will need some time to get used to the leash. For puppies, this is an alien thing, and they will need some time to adjust and accept this new accessory. You can help your pup ease into this process by trying a few tricks. It needs to resonate a leash with fun times. Let it spend some time playing with the leash. You can also make your canine companion wear it every time you are having a fun time together at home. Do not put it on when it is alone, sad, or irritated.

    • Treats go a long way

    As you teach your puppy how to walk on a leash, remember that rewarding it with treats will only promote good behaviour. Grab a treat in your hands and take a few steps back. This will encourage your pooch to walk towards you to devour its favourite treat. To avoid overeating, you can also reward the pup with toys, praises, or belly rubs. 

    Note: Do not stretch your dog’s leash training for prolonged hours. It might get exhausted and shy away from training.

    • Indoor practice

    Indoor practice is the best way of gauging how your canine companion fares with the concept of walking on leash. This will also help you get your puppy used to the leash without losing control of it. Choose a decent stretch of floor in your home, make sure there are no obstructions, and just start walking with your puppy on a leash. At the end of one stretch, reward it with treats. Stay attentive during these session to know when your pup is ready for the world outside your home.

    • Start with short outdoor walks

    Teaching your puppy how to walk on a leash is going to be full of surprises. If you think that your pet will easily walk on a leash outdoors once it has learnt to do it indoors, you are mistaken. Being curious is only natural and that is exactly what will happen once your four-legged friend realises that it is not at home anymore! Your dog will want to sniff every corner, every plant, and whatever it sets its eyes on. Hence, start with short outdoor walks! 

    Note: Carry some treats with you to encourage your puppy to follow you! 

    Remember that patience is key! And your furry friend is not the only one who needs to be patient during this process. Your puppy is going to need some time to get used to this walking style and you need to give it that time. Moreover, make sure that this transition is smooth and comfortable for your pup. Once you start putting these tips into action, you two can start taking long strolls together.