Why is your dog shaking? 6 Common Causes of Dog Shivers



Last Updated on December 30, 2020

Image by Ilona Krijgsman from Pixabay

We tend to shiver when we’re cold or afraid, and even though that may also be the case in dogs, there are many other causes that you might be missing.
As a dog owner, you should keep yourself informed about everything related to possible health problems in dogs.
So without any further ado, let’s hop right into the causes of shaking and shivering in dogs and what you should do about it.

1. Your dog is cold

The first reason why your dog is shaking is the most common one, he/she’s just cold. Depending on your dog’s breed and fur, it’s normal that some might not be prepared to be in colder areas. This is why it’s always important to think about what dog breed is the right dog for you and your living conditions. If you live in a cold area, maybe it’s not the best idea to adopt a Weimaraner or a Shih Tzu. The key to solving this problem is to provide your dog with a warm blanket or cozy spot around a heating vent. You can also get your dog a soft sweater.

2. Your pup experiencing anxiety and fear

Every now and then, your dog might experience fear and stress. The causes are endless; it can be a result of a confrontation with another dog, it can be due to separation anxiety, or maybe your dog is just afraid of fireworks or thunderstorms. Even though this type of cause is not as alarming as others, no owner wants a nervous dog. Not only because it makes them less obedient but because you’ll also become restless and anxious yourself. To help your dog, reassure him/her, then try to figure out what’s causing the stress, and remove or hide it. Whenever there are fireworks, put your dog in a safe place, play some loud music, and surround them with toys. This way they’ll feel safe and happy, even though fireworks are blowing up outside.


3. Your dog is excited!

Do you know when a dog comes running to you just can’t stand still? You might even notice his entire body shivering while he waits for you to pet him. This is the best type of shiver because it simply means you have an excited dog. However, how you deal with it might cause future behavioral problems. If the excitement is because your dog is happy to see you, then you can go ahead and pet them of course, but if your dog is too excited, it might lead to hyperactivity, which is a nightmare for dog owners, especially those who live in small apartments. Now we all want an active dog that can run and play games with our kids, but being active has nothing to do with hyperactivity. Being active is a necessity for a healthy dog, hyperactivity is not. So how can you deal with it? Simply reward your dog whenever he’s relaxed and ignore his “excitement phase.” This will let them know that if they’re calm, they will get more attention and treats, so they’ll stop acting out eventually.

4. Pain or disease

This is the worst cause of shivering since it could mean your dog has some type of illness or is in pain. An upset stomach, hypoglycemia, distemper, or an inflammatory brain disease are all illnesses that could cause your dog to shiver. There’s also something called «generalized tremor syndrome,» which is a chronic disease that can be fought with medication. In any case, if you suspect you have a sick dog, make it a priority to take him/her to the vet immediately. The sooner they get diagnosed, the better chances they have of healing quickly and efficiently.

5. Your pup is just getting old

If your dog is getting old or is already old, it’s totally normal for him/her to shiver, especially when he/she tries to walk or do basic movements like sitting down or getting up. Arthritis in dogs is very common once they get older, joint pain too. As you know, arthritis makes normal activities extra hard for your dog since it affects their mobility and can cause severe pain. Arthritis can be fought with the right medication, but in older dogs, it’s very unlikely they’ll recover their full mobility. However, daily slow walks can also help sometimes.

6. Looking for attention

Dogs are incredibly smart, they pick up on things very quickly, and if they notice that whenever they shiver they get your full attention, they might use it as a way of manipulating you into getting what they want. Some might shake to get some treats or some affection. And even though it might sound cute, it is not a behavior that should be accepted. If you already know that attention is the main cause of your dog’s shivers, then it’s best to ignore it for them to realize it’s not getting them anywhere. If you’re not sure, however, taking them to the vet is what you must do. Important tip: Shaking or shivering is not the same as dog seizures. A dog having a seizure is enough reason to get to the emergency vet as soon as possible. If a dog is having a seizure, normally, they tend to lose awareness and mobility. They might fall down and appear to be confused. A dog shaking and vomiting can also indicate some type of seizure or serious disease which should be taken care of immediately. If you reached the end of this article, you already know that, fortunately, shivering causes aren’t as dangerous as you could expect them to be, but they can still be a sign that something is wrong with your dog’s health. Whether it is physical or mental, having regular check-ups with your vet is the best way to prevent future illnesses and problems. Don’t be afraid to call for help.