Why Is My Dog Shaking?

Your dog may shake or tremble from time to time. The cause of your dog shaking may be no big deal, but it also may be a sign of a serious issue.

It is a good idea to determine the root cause of your dog’s shaking to ensure there is no serious issue. Pay close attention to your dog when you notice them trembling and seek your vet’s opinion if you believe there is a reason for concern.

Some breeds are more likely to shiver or shake as part of daily life. This is most common in small breeds such as chihuahuas. If you have a small breed dog like this, pay attention to any changes in this behavior.

Why Does my Dog Shake?

Is shaking or trembling a sign of pain in dogs? Maybe yes, but maybe no.

There are several main reasons that your dog may be shaking, including cold weather, excitement, anxiety, or medical reasons.

Shaking from Cold Weather

If the temperature outside is below freezing, you would likely not be surprised if your pup is shaking. However, your dog may be shaking when the air temperature is 50 or 60 degrees. This is likely the cause if your dog has a thin coat and low-fat content.

Once your pup is warm, they should stop shaking if this is the cause. If they do not stop shaking after being warmed up, you should take your pet to visit the vet.

Shaking from Generalized Tremor Syndrome

Generalized Tremor Syndrome is a condition that your vet may diagnose as a reason your small breed pup frequently trembles. Chihuahuas and miniature pinchers may tremble or shake often and experts aren’t exactly sure why. Some theories include that small pups are colder, more anxious, or some other unknown reason.

Your vet can check your pup’s muscles and other factors that may contribute to this trembling. If your dog is small and trembles frequently, it is likely not a reason for concern. However, if this behavior is new or accompanied by other changes, it is a good idea to get things checked out.

Shaking from Injury or Weakness

After an intense workout, you may have experienced a trembling muscle from an area you overworked a bit. Your dog may experience the same thing. If it appears that your pet is only trembling in one specific area, such as one leg, it may be a result of pain or injury in that area.

If you notice the localized trembling after your dog has done extreme exercise or a new activity, this may be the cause. You may notice your pup also seems to be stressed or have lessened energy. When you touch or massage your dog in the area which is trembling, notice if they appear to be in pain. If so, it is best to bring your dog to the vet for an examination.

Shaking from Fear, Anxiety or Excitement

Your pup may tremble or shake when they feel afraid, anxious, or excited. If you notice that your dog is shaking only during specific activities, this may likely be the cause. For example, your pup may begin to tremble when you visit the vet but stop once you leave.  

Shaking may occur for your dog when they are overly excited as well. For example, they may shake when guests come to visit your home. Although this emotional response is not a health concern, it is important to notice and address it.

You want your pet to feel safe and secure no matter what emotional event may occur. If the shaking becomes very frequent or severe, you may choose to seek a behavioral specialist to help train your dog to relax even in stressful situations.

Shaking from Medical Issues

The most concerning cause behind your dog’s shaking is a disease or another medical condition. Shaking is a common symptom of many dog diseases or issues. Although some of these are easily curable, others may be life-threatening and should be addressed quickly.

Distemper, kidney disease, and neurological issues are all some possible medical reasons for your dog’s shaking. Some of these diseases can be prevented by taking your pup to get annual vaccines and ensuring proper care. However, it is important not to rule out medical concerns from their shaking.

In addition to the shaking behavior, notice any other changes in your pet’s demeanor. You should begin to track their activity level, appetite and stool, and urine appearance and odor. These factors can also help your vet to diagnose and possible medical issues.

If you suspect an underlying medical concern as a reason for your dog’s shaking, take them to the vet for a full evaluation. It may turn out to be something easily treatable. If the condition is more serious, early detection can help your pup recover more quickly.

How Do You Stop A Dog From Shaking?

Once you have determined the possible cause of your dog’s shaking you can help lessen the trembling in a few ways. If the cause is a medical concern, the best option is an immediate vet visit.

If your dog is shaking from being cold, you may want to consider using a dog sweater, dog jacket or a warm vest. You can find many types of coats and sweaters for your dog on Amazon.com or at local pet stores. Be sure to also monitor the amount of time your pup spends outdoors in cold temperatures, especially if they have a short-hair coat.

Your pup may be trembling from fear or anxiety. In this case, work to create safe spaces for your dog. You may also be able to limit their exposure to high-stress situations. If your dog tends to tremble when children are present, be sure they have a safe space, like his crate, to escape rather than forcing their interaction.

Pay careful attention when feeding your dog new food or treats. If the shaking starts immediately after they ingest something new, you may want to avoid that new treat or food. You may also consider giving your furry friends Probiotic Soft Chews as a supplement to aid in his stomach support and eliminate indigestion.

If the simple fixes do not help your dog’s shaking cease, see your vet. Although shaking may be a small issue, it is best to rule out any serious conditions.


Many dogs shake regularly for a variety of reasons. Although it may be a common behavior, it could be a sign of medical concerns as well.

Be sure to pay close attention to when your dog is shaking and any changes in behavior that follow. It is always best to take extra precautions when ensuring a healthy and happy pet.