Why is my dog shaking? Causes and treatments

Why is my dog shaking?
Causes and treatments

by Ditte Young

Updated on September 21, 2023
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes 

It might not be cold, but your dog might still be shaking. That’s because chilly temperatures are far from the only reason that causes our dogs to tremble.

Dogs often shake for completely harmless reasons. Sometimes, however, their shivering can be a cry for help. As pet parents, we are responsible for listening to what they are trying to tell us. That means figuring out why they are shaking — and we are here to help you do just that.

This article will cover some of the most common reasons your dog might be shaking. As a professional dog communicator, I will walk you through behavioral, environmental, and medical reasons your dog might be shaking and what you can do to help your dog when he or she needs it.

Table of Contents

Reasons your dog might be shaking or trembling

Generally, we can divide the different reasons for dogs shaking or trembling into three categories:

Help your dog stop shaking with “Dogs: Personality profiles and behavioral issues” by Ditte Young

Want to get to know your dog’s personality profile and learn what you can do to help your dog stop shaking?

With Ditte Young’s online course “Dogs: Personality profiles and behavioral issues,” you can learn exactly what you need to know about your dog to help him overcome stress, fear, or anxiety. 

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Behavioral reasons


Does your dog shake when you’re playing with him, when he spots something exciting on a walk, or when he greets you at the door when you’ve been out? Many dogs — particularly younger dogs — will shake or bark when they become very excited or know something exciting is about to happen.

Shaking with excitement is a normal physical reaction when dogs experience an overwhelming feeling of happiness. The shaking should stop once the dog has calmed down.

If you want to ease your dog’s shaking, you can try to keep things a little more relaxed when he gets excited. Shaking with excitement, however, is harmless. If your dog sometimes shakes with excitement, it’s nothing you should worry about.

Additional reading: Why is my dog whining and why is my dog limping?

Stress, fear, and anxiety

If your dog is shaking or trembling, he might not feel safe. When your dog is stressed, fearful, or anxious, adrenaline surges flood his body, preparing him to defend himself or run away from danger. This can cause him to shake or tremble. 

Common causes for this reaction include fireworks, thunderstorms, and trips to the veterinarian. For example, suppose your dog shakes after hopping off the examination table at the vet’s, or following an encounter with a stranger. In that case he is likely trying to relieve the tension he has been feeling due to being stressed or scared.

Other signs that your dog is stressed, anxious, or fearful include:

If your dog is shaking due to stress, fear, or anxiety, the shaking itself isn’t something to worry about. However, the reason behind the shaking may be something your dog needs help with. Separation anxiety in dogs is for instance quite common and your dog could perhaps be suffering from separation anxiety as well. 

As your dog’s guardian, it is important to listen when your dog is telling you he doesn’t feel safe. By removing the cause of stress or managing his stress levels, you can help your dog feel happier, safer, and more relaxed.

To help your dog, we recommend seeking the advice of an experienced animal communicator who can help you better understand what your dog is feeling and why.

An animal communicator, also known as a dog whisperer, can help you understand what your dog is telling you. With help from an animal communicator, you can get to the root of the problem, causing your dog to feel stressed, fearful, or anxious. This gives you the tools you need to ease your dog’s problem and give him the best life possible — it also helps you get to know your best friend better.

Additional reading: How to stop a dog from humping and how to stop a dog from jumping on people?

Environmental reasons


Just like us, dogs shiver when they are very cold. If your dog is shivering, it might be an involuntary response to help him warm up.

When your dog shivers, his muscles cycle between tensing and relaxing. This generates heat, helping to raise his body temperature. Slim dogs, smaller dogs, and dogs with thinner coats lose heat more quickly, making them more likely to shiver in the cold.

If your dog is prone to shivering from the cold, consider getting him a coat or booties to help him stay warm. If your dog shivers when out for a walk, make sure to go home and help him find a cozy place to warm up.

Medical reasons


Many animals hide their pain well. Dogs are no exception, which can make it challenging for you to identify the source of your dog’s discomfort.

If your dog is shaking because he is in pain, however, you will likely also notice other signs, including:

Pain and anxiety can sometimes look similar. If you’re unsure if your dog is suffering from one or the other, we advise you to take him to the vet. If you suspect your dog is in severe pain, please seek emergency veterinary aid.

Medical conditions

In some cases, shaking or trembling in dogs can indicate a disease or other medical issue. These include:

You might also be interested in: How to stop dogs from peeing in the house.


Toxins and poisons that affect the nervous system, blood sugar, or electrolyte levels can cause dogs to tremble, shake, or develop seizures.

Such toxins and poisons can be found in:

Many of the toxins and poisons listed above can be very dangerous — even fatal. If you suspect your dog has ingested any of the substances above, you should immediately take your dog to the veterinaria.

Muscle weakness, fatigue, and old age

If your dog’s legs shake after a long walk or run, it could be a sign of muscle weakness or fatigue — perhaps he is not used to that amount of exercise. If this happens regularly, we advise you to talk to your vet about how to build up the strength in your dog’s legs.

As dogs age, their leg muscles weaken, and their bodies cannot regulate their temperature effectively. It is, therefore, not uncommon for dogs to develop tremors with age. However, shivering legs could also indicate arthritis or joint pain. If you notice that your aging dog is starting to shake, we recommend you take your dog to the vet’s for a checkup.

Additional reading: How to calm a dog down?

Is your dog stressed? Learn how to help him with animal telepathy by Ditte Young

Ditte Young has been a spiritual coach, therapist, and clairvoyant for 25 years. She is the author of 3 books about animal communication and is known as the most recognized animal communicator in Denmark and Europe.

With Ditte Young’s online course “Dogs: Personality profiles and behavioral issues,” you can learn exactly what you need to know about your dog to help him overcome his stress, fear, or anxiety.

In this course, you will learn about your dog’s personality profile and how to help your dog overcome behavioral issues such as excessive barking, shaking, separation anxiety, and much more. 

Ditte Young will guide you through how your dog experiences and interacts with the world and how this reflects your dog’s behavior.

You will gain a new, more profound understanding of how your dog understands you, responds to you, and reads your signals. You will get to know your dog better and get to know yourself better through your dog, too.

Further reading: How to stop a dog from barking.

Want to learn behavior techniques to calm down dogs from Europe’s most recognized animal communicator and dog whisperer? Now is your chance.

You can now participate in Animal Telepathy Mastery from anywhere in the world.

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Ditte Young | Author | Animal communicator | Clairvoyant

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