Staci is a writer living in Atlanta, Georgia. When not writing, she spends most of her time trying to keep up with her four rescue cats and Australian shepherd puppy.
Health Learn About Dogs Raising a Dog

Why Is My Dog Shaking?

Aug 6 ·

Why is my dog shaking?

You may find yourself asking this at some point in your dog’s life. If a dog starts shaking, it can be scary if you’ve never seen it before. You might worry that it’s a sign something is seriously wrong. In actual face, there are many reasons a dog might be shaking, and they can range from mild to serious.

Why Is My Dog Shaking? – Possible Reasons

small sleepy dog

These are the reasons a dog might be shaking.

The Temperature

The most obvious reason a dog might shake is due to the temperature. Just like us, if dogs are cold, they will start shivering as their body attempts to warm them up!

You can easily tell if your dog is shivering due to the cold by noting the environment. Make sure they aren’t lying next to a door or window that might be letting some cold winter air through too.


Not all shaking is bad — some dogs shake when they’re excited! You might notice your dog practically vibrating when they meet new people. This is a positive reaction that means they’re happy and finding it hard to control themselves.

They may also shake when they see something they want to chase, if they have a bit of a drive for that.


Another thing humans and dogs have in common — we shake when we’re anxious!

If your dog is afraid of other dogs, traffic, fireworks, or anything really, close contact with them might cause him to shake. If your dog starts to tremble, look around to see if there’s a specific trigger for this.


Small dog

Your dog might simply be shaking because they’re nauseous, and this could be caused by a whole variety of things. It could be from a bug they’ve picked up, or it could be as simple as motion sickness. If the trembling is followed by your dog throwing up but then they seem to be fine again, it looks like you found the cause!

Serious Illness

Unfortunately, there is always a chance the shaking could be due to something serious, though many of us would rather not consider the possibility. It’s one of the rarest options, but some illnesses do have trembling as one of the symptoms.

It could be caused by seizures, which are not fatal but do need to be looked at by a veterinarian. It could be something worse, like distemper, but would usually include other symptoms such as:

  • Fever
  • Discharge
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy

Unvaccinated puppies are susceptible to distemper.

It’s always important to consider if the shaking is accompanied by anything else concerning, as then there’s a higher chance that it’s actually something dangerous.


Unfortunately, there’s also the chance your dog might have been poisoned though again, it would be accompanied by more symptoms like the ones above.

Dogs can be poisoned by a whole myriad of things you might have no idea about. They could have gotten into a cleaning product, yes, but they could also have eaten something that may seem harmless to you — like a grape!

Shaker Syndrome

Lastly, there’s a chance it could be Shaker Syndrome. This is diagnosed by ruling out everything else, and is thought to be an autoimmune disorder though there’s still a lot that’s unclear about Shaker Syndrome.

Just like humans, again, some dogs just have tremors!

What Should I Do?

Small dog

If your dog is shaking, it’s important to examine why they’re shaking.

If it’s due to excitement, the cold, or something minor like motion sickness, you don’t have to do anything at all. It will pass.

If it’s due to anxiety, you might want to try and calm them down around that specific trigger. For example, if they’re afraid of fireworks, play some white noise over the sound on holidays. You can also desensitize them over time by playing firework sounds on YouTube for a few minutes a day and slowly increasing the volume while providing lots of praise and treats when they don’t react.

In severe cases of anxiety, your veterinarian can provide medication.

If the trembling is sudden, frequent, and doesn’t seem to have any specific trigger, you should see your vet. If it’s accompanied by other symptoms, don’t wait. Take them to the nearest emergency vet clinic if yours isn’t open. Shaking isn’t usually serious in a dog, but it can be.

It’s better to be safe than sorry, so if you’re in any doubt at all, a vet visit is the safest option.

So if your dog is shaking, don’t panic right away. Chances are, you’ll catch your dog shaking a few times throughout their life. However, it’s important to keep a close eye on them and stay on top of things to make sure it isn’t anything serious. Usually, it’s not, but you know your dog best and should make a good judgment call.

Staci is a writer living in Atlanta, Georgia. When not writing, she spends most of her time trying to keep up with her four rescue cats and Australian shepherd puppy.
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