3 min read


Why Do Dogs Tremble



3 min read


Why Do Dogs Tremble




f you have ever noticed Fluffy trembling you may have wondered what is causing the shaky demeanor. Well, you’re not alone in your wondering. Many of us have watched our pups shiver or tremble and been curious what causes this seemingly spastic action. Fortunately, there has been input from a wide variety of experts, ranging from trainers to veterinarians. And while there are several possibilities, most of the experts do agree on the main source of the behavior. So, if you’re like me and you have ever asked why dogs tremble, the variety of reasons may just intrigue and surprise you.

The Root of the Behavior

Not so surprisingly, one of the main reasons for you dog to tremble is dues to being cold. Unlike humans a dog’s body temperature can be as high as 102.5℉ and still be within normal range. And since your pup’s temperature can run much higher than yours just feeling of him or her may not tell you if they are indeed cold. However, if the weather feels too cold to you it is safe to assume that Fluffy is cold as well. During winter month’s especially dogs are more likely to exhibit trembling caused by their environmental temperature.

Another common cause of trembling in dogs is anxiety or fear. There are a large number of dogs who are afraid of loud noises such as fireworks, gun shots, or thunderstorms. Aside from noise changes in your dog’s normal environment may bring on anxiety induced trembling. Talking with your vet may be in order if the trembling is brought on by fear or anxiety. 

A less troublesome reason you may see your fur baby tremble is due to excitement. For instance, if they see a squirrel outside that they want to chase, they may tremble or shake with excitement. Similarly, when you have food or treats in sight of your pooch they may excitedly tremble in anticipation of getting something to eat. And who could blame them?

Trembling and shaking could also be a learned behavior. The school of thought behind this theory is that you give extra attention to your pup when you see them trembling. You may baby them a bit more, talking sweetly to them, and even picking them up and snuggling with them. Over time your smart little canine relates the extra attention to the act of trembling, so they actually engage in the act just to get that extra attention. How smart is that? 

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Encouraging the Behavior

One reason for trembling and shaking that should be encouraged is when your pup is drying himself off. While letting Fluffy shake off inside the house will make a horrible mess for you, there is no argument that this reflex is beneficial. This type of tremble or shake is helpful to your pup in that it can aid in preventing hypothermia. Did you know that a dog can remove up to 70% of the water from their fur just by shaking? If only it were so easy for humans to dry themselves.

No one knows your fur baby’s normal behavior better than you do. Being observant of the trembling and shaking, and noting if there are any unusual symptoms that accompany the behavior, can help you rule out something more serious. You should never ignore when your pooch trembles, shakes, or shivers. While most of the time it is a harmless behavior, it is important that you pay attention to them and make sure they get help if needed. A quick call to your veterinarian is never a bad idea if you are unsure. They can help you determine if the trembling is due to a medical or physiological issue instead of something benign.

Other Solutions and Considerations

There are more hazardous issues to consider that can cause your dog to tremble or shake. Certain toxins can cause convulsive responses in animals. Often times the convulsions can be misinterpreted as a tremble, shake, or shiver. In a lot of cases trembling or shaking from the ingestion of some sort of toxin will be accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea. If these symptoms are present a call to your vet or emergency pet service is definitely in order. You should also watch for signs that the trembling or shaking seems to be caused by your pooch being in pain. There are a wide variety of illnesses that can cause pain that results in trembling.


So the next time you catch Fluffy trembling or shaking you will have a better idea of what the cause may be. Knowing that it isn’t always a negative should help to ease your mind a bit. In fact, that little tremble you see may in fact be just the thing to keep your fur baby from becoming a pupcicle!

By a Shiba Inu lover Patty Oelze

Published: 02/06/2018, edited: 01/30/2020

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