4 min read


Why Do Dogs Quiver



4 min read


Why Do Dogs Quiver




For most dog owners, it can be fairly disconcerting seeing their animal shaking uncontrollably. With smaller dogs, there are at least a few easily discernible options as to why this could be happening, but with bigger dogs, it can be even more worrisome. There are tons of possibilities out there as to why your dog is quivering like this, things like temperature changes or even just something as simple and clear as fear. Below is an outline of some of the reasons your dog is shaking at random points in time.

The Root of the Behavior

Excitement is often the likeliest reason for your dog shaking from time to time. Oftentimes this can happen while they're engaging in play with you, the owner. The reason behind this is pretty simple. Dogs can have a ton of pent up energy, and physical reactions like this can release some of that exuberance. Generally, this isn't a problem and shouldn't be a cause for concern. Some dogs are just too clever for their humans, and will engage in specific behaviors after seeing what sorts of reactions they provoke. What might have started out as your dog shivering out of excitement could now just be him manipulating you. Once they’ve learned that shivering makes you do what they like, it's hard to know if they're being "honest" or they just want some good pets. Pain is an unfortunate cause of quivering in dogs, and it usually has to be pretty severe to even provoke this sort of movement. Illnesses that most often cause shivering or quaking include things like kidney issues, general nausea, types of poisoning, and in rare cases can be indicative of neurological disorders. If it seems like this shaking is interfering with your dog's general behaviors, it's time to make an appointment at the vet.

Advanced age can also regularly contribute to changes in your dog's movements. This is something that can usually be expected from older animals, but don't be fooled into a false sense of security. Just because your dog is getting older doesn't necessarily mean he should be having issues with his movement. If you're curious, you can always visit your vet for more information. Depending on the type and breed of your dog, quivering can be a really clear indicator of stress. Some dogs are quite prone to neurotic and compulsive behaviors, and things like separation anxiety or large amounts of added stress from changes in living conditions or health can really exacerbate these behaviors. If you've noticed these types of behaviors, it's best to work with your vet to find different types of therapies and treatments that can help ease these negative symptoms.

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Encouraging the Behavior

One of the most easily diagnosed shivers comes from your dog just being cold. Normally, dogs can regulate their core temperatures to around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that generally,  most dogs are going to be physically warmer than most humans. It is the nuances like this can make it a little more challenging to discern temperature fluctuations in your canine. It is better to provide ways for your dog to stay warm or cold prior to their exposure to severe conditions. That way they will have much better luck entering their warmed dog house while it is snowing than they will be staring at you from the porch while shivering uncontrollably. Weather can also be an easy cause for shaking. Your dog's ears are crazy sensitive, so in addition to the most obvious factors like wind and lightning, they can pick up on subtle changes in barometric pressure and the sounds or feelings that accompany them. If you are noticing that your dog has a hard time handling the weather, your only option as a dog owner is to shower them with affection in the hopes that their confidence is approved and they are feeling better because of your love.

Other Solutions and Considerations

Generalized Tremor Syndrome is a terrible neurological condition that often occurs in canines. While there's currently no definitive cause behind GTS, a lot of animal behaviorists think that it occurs when your dog's brain doesn't produce the requisite proteins for their body to regulate muscle control. This results in a deficiency of movement, and can make certain things challenging or even sometimes painful for your dog to do. Luckily, there are several types of medication on the market today that can successfully control or even stop your dog’s shaking altogether. Ask your vet for advice if you think this may be happening to your canine companion.


If your dog tends to shake, it might just be having issues regulating its body temperature. But if this behavior continues it’s entirely possible that this is indicative of a much larger issue. Consult with your vet if you’re concerned, otherwise it’s perfectly fine to let your dog shake it!

By a Shiba Inu lover Patty Oelze

Published: 02/10/2018, edited: 01/30/2020

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