Why Is My Dog Shaking?

Oct 27, 2023 | Dogs & Puppies | 1 comment

As a devoted dog owner, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the heartwarming moments when your canine friend wags their tail, gazes into your eyes with unwavering affection, or curls up beside you for a cozy cuddle.

However, there might be instances when you notice an entirely different behavior from your beloved dog shaking. This phenomenon can be perplexing, evoking a mix of concern and curiosity. So, let’s embark on a journey of exploration to unravel the intriguing world of dog shaking.

The Causes Behind Dog Shaking

Dogs, our loyal companions, often communicate their feelings and emotions through body language. One common behavior that frequently raises concern among dog owners is shaking. Understanding the underlying causes behind this behavior can pave the way for effective solutions, ensuring your furry friend’s well-being and happiness.

Physical Discomfort and Pain

Just like humans, dogs experience physical discomfort and pain. When they’re unwell or in pain, shaking can be their way of signaling distress.

The discomfort might arise from a hidden injury, arthritis, or an internal ailment. Observing your dog’s behavior alongside the shaking can provide clues about potential sources of pain.

Temperature and Environmental Factors

Dogs have a natural way of regulating their body temperature. When they’re exposed to extreme cold or wet conditions, they may shake as a way to generate heat and keep warm.

Similarly, intense heat can also trigger shivering as a response to cooling down. In such cases, ensuring your dog’s comfort by providing appropriate shelter, clothing, or a warm blanket can help alleviate the shivers caused by environmental factors.

Anxiety and Stress

Dogs are sensitive creatures who can experience anxiety and stress just like humans. Loud noises, unfamiliar environments, separation from their owners, or even changes in routine can cause dogs to shake in response to heightened emotions.

If your dog exhibits shaking behavior during thunderstorms, fireworks, or other anxiety-inducing situations, offering a safe space and comfort can make a significant difference. Gradual exposure to triggers and positive reinforcement training can help them cope with stressors better.

why dog shaking

Medical Conditions and Illnesses

Various medical conditions and illnesses can lead to dog shaking. These can range from infections and neurological disorders to metabolic imbalances. For instance, conditions like epilepsy or hypoglycemia can manifest as shaking episodes.

If the shaking is frequent, severe, or accompanied by other unusual symptoms such as vomiting or seizures, seeking prompt veterinary attention is crucial to identify and manage potential health issues.

Behavioral Triggers

Sometimes, dogs shake due to behavioral reasons rooted in their instincts and past experiences. Excitement, anticipation, or even the joy of seeing their owners after a long day can lead to trembling.

These shakes are usually short-lived and are often followed by enthusiastic energy. Understanding your dog’s unique quirks and patterns can help differentiate between behavioral and more concerning shaking episodes.

Seeking Solutions For Your Shaking Dog

When you notice your beloved furry friend trembling or shaking, your immediate instinct might be to alleviate their distress. Understanding that there are numerous ways to support and comfort your shaking dog is crucial in maintaining their overall well-being. Here are some practical solutions that can make a significant difference in your dog’s life:

Offering Comfort and Reassurance

Just like humans, dogs seek comfort and reassurance during times of unease. When your dog is shaking, it might be experiencing fear, anxiety, or discomfort. In such instances, being a calming presence can work wonders. Sit or lie down beside your dog and gently stroke its fur. Speak to them soothingly, letting them know they’re safe.

Your physical touch and comforting words can go a long way in easing their nerves and reducing their shaking.

Adjusting the Environment

The environment plays a crucial role in your dog’s emotional state. Factors like noise levels, temperature, and lighting can contribute to their shaking. If you suspect that environmental conditions might be causing your dog’s trembling, consider making adjustments.

Create a quiet and cozy space where your dog can retreat when feeling overwhelmed. Ensure that the temperature is comfortable and that there’s enough light to alleviate any potential anxiety triggers.

Implementing Relaxation Techniques

Just as humans use relaxation techniques to calm their nerves, dogs can benefit from similar approaches. One effective method is deep, slow breathing. Sit beside your dog and take deep breaths, allowing them to hear and mimic your rhythm.

This can have a soothing effect on their nervous system. Another technique involves gentle massage. Massage your dog’s neck, back, and shoulders using soft, circular motions. This promotes relaxation and strengthens the bond between you and your furry companion.

Consulting a Veterinarian

When you notice your beloved furry friend shaking uncontrollably and you’ve tried various home remedies without success, it’s time to seek professional guidance. Consulting a veterinarian is crucial in unraveling the mystery behind your dog’s shaking and ensuring its well-being.

Veterinarians possess the expertise to accurately diagnose the underlying causes of your dog’s shaking. They will conduct a thorough physical examination and might recommend additional tests, such as blood work or imaging, to rule out any potential health issues.

dog shaking solutions

Training and Positive Reinforcement

Training and positive reinforcement are powerful tools to address behavioral triggers that might be causing your dog to shake. Sometimes, your dog’s shaking is linked to anxiety, fear, or specific situations that induce stress. You can help your dog overcome these triggers and build confidence by incorporating training techniques and positive reinforcement.

  • Identifying Triggers

Identify the specific situations or stimuli that lead to your dog’s shaking. It could be loud noises, unfamiliar environments, or encounters with other dogs. Once you pinpoint these triggers, you can gradually work on desensitizing your dog to them.

  • Desensitization and Counterconditioning

Desensitization involves exposing your dog to the trigger in a controlled and gradual manner, starting with low intensity. As your dog becomes more comfortable, you can gradually increase the exposure. Pair this with positive experiences, such as treats or playtime, to create positive associations with the trigger.

  • Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement involves rewarding your dog for desirable behavior. When your dog remains calm and doesn’t shake in the presence of a trigger, offer treats, praise, or playtime as a reward. This encourages your dog to associate the stimulus with positive outcomes, gradually reducing their anxiety and shaking.


By identifying the specific situations or stimuli that trigger shaking and working on desensitization and counterconditioning, you can help your dog build confidence and overcome anxiety-related triggers.

If your furry companion is shaking frequently, or if you notice sudden and severe shaking, don’t hesitate to consult a veterinarian to ensure that any underlying health issues are promptly identified and managed.

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What if my dog only shakes during thunderstorms?

Shaking during thunderstorms can indicate noise phobia or fear of loud sounds. Providing a safe and cozy space for your dog, using calming techniques, and gradually desensitizing them to thunderstorm sounds can help alleviate their anxiety.

Should I be concerned if my older dog starts shaking suddenly?

Sudden shaking in older dogs should be taken seriously. It could be a sign of an underlying health issue that requires prompt attention. Consult a veterinarian to rule out any potential medical conditions contributing to the shaking.

Are there natural remedies to help with my dog’s shaking?

Natural remedies like calming supplements, aromatherapy, and music therapy can help alleviate mild anxiety that might contribute to shaking. However, it’s essential to consult your veterinarian before introducing any new treatments.

Is shaking always a cause for concern?

Shaking can have various underlying causes, some of which might be harmless. However, if the shaking is sudden, severe, or accompanied by other concerning symptoms like vomiting or lethargy, seek immediate veterinary attention.

My dog only shakes during car rides. What can I do?

Car anxiety is common in dogs and can result in shaking during rides. Gradual desensitization by taking short, positive car trips and rewarding experiences can help your dog associate car rides with positive outcomes.


1 Comment

  1. Samantha

    Wow, this article was so enlightening! My little Max shakes sometimes, and I never knew it could be due to anxiety or environmental factors. I’ll definitely try the relaxation techniques and create a quiet space for him. Thanks a bunch!

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