Quivering in Dogs

Why is my dog quivering?

What is Quivering?

Dogs quiver, or shake, for many different reasons. Dog quivering is characterized by dogs shaking uncontrollably, as if they are having muscle tremors. This condition can be constant throughout the day or sporadically. Dog quivering can be a sign of a serious illness, or can be something that can easily be treated, such as if a dog is cold or anxious. 

There are many different reasons why dogs quiver, and if you know the reason why your dog is shaking and it stops once you stop what is causing it, then a visit to a veterinarian is probably unnecessary. If your dog is quivering and you are unable to figure out why, or if your dog is quivering all the time, a veterinarian appointment should be made as soon as possible. Reasons why a dog can quiver include:

  • Anxiety or excitement
  • Cold
  • Nausea
  • Poisoning
  • Kidney disease
  • Distemper
  • Generalized tremor syndrome
  • Low blood sugar
  • Pain
  • Shock
  • Fever

Why Quivering Occurs in Dogs

Quivering in dogs can be a result of several different factors. All dogs can quiver, and some breeds do quiver more than others. The Chihuahua is one breed that quivers often, because they are so very small and get cold easily. Quivering can occur due to:

Anxiety or Excitement

When dogs become scared, anxious, or excited about an event or happening, they may shake, shiver, and quiver. They may also pant loudly and drool, and may even urinate as a result of the anxiety or excitement. Typically, this is temporary and happens very sporadically.


The colder temperatures or severe hyperthermia can cause dogs to quiver and shake uncontrollably. This is also a temporary condition and can be treated by warming the dog’s environment.


Various health ailments can cause nausea. If your dog’s stomach is upset, he may quiver and shake before and after the bout of nausea.


If your dog has consumed something poisonous, such as a poisonous plant or substance, the toxic chemicals can make your dog very sick. Your dog may quiver if he is suffering from a poisoning.

Kidney Disease

One symptom of kidney disease is uncontrollable quivering or shaking. If your dog is suffering from an abnormality in his kidneys, he may exhibit this symptom. Late stages of kidney failure can result in your dog quivering.


Canine distemper is a virus that affects the gastrointestinal system, the respiratory system, and the central nervous system. One of the main symptoms of canine distemper is shaking, or quivering.

Generalized Tremor Syndrome

This tremor syndrome can occur in specific dog breeds, such as Maltese, and is unknown as to the origin or cause. It is characterized by dog’s shaking uncontrollably.


Seizures occur when the muscles respond to an atypical burst of nerve signals from the dog’s brain. If your dog is having seizures, he may have a condition known as epilepsy or a dysfunction of the nervous system.

Low Blood Sugar

Low blood sugar in dogs, or hypoglycemia, can cause quivering, or tremors, in dogs, due to the loss of the energy source.


If a dog is in pain, which can be caused by many factors, your dog may shake either sporadically or consistently.


If your dog is in shock, caused by the blood pressure dramatically dropping and the lack of blood flow to organs, your dog may quiver uncontrollably.


A high fever can be caused by a variety of illnesses, and when a dog’s fever becomes too high, he may tremble due to having severe chills.

What to do if your Dog is Quivering

If your dog is showing signs of quivering, think about what could be causing him to do so. If you realize that your dog is anxious or cold, then you can try to remedy the situation and see if the quivering goes away.

If you see that your dog is quivering and are not sure what could be causing it, make a phone call to your veterinarian. Set up an appointment for a date as soon as possible. Once you take your dog to the veterinarian, he will do a complete physical examination and closely observe your dog’s quivering, if possible. He may perform several laboratory tests, including any neurological testing which he feels is necessary. The vet will also want to gather as much information as possible from you about your dog’s specific symptoms and whether he has any other signs of possible distress.

If your dog has an illness that he is able to diagnose, your veterinarian will offer treatment options depending on the severity of the illness. If your dog is quivering due to another issue other than illness, your veterinarian will give you advice about how to care for him to lessen or stop the quivering.

Prevention of Quivering

If your dog does not have a serious illness, such as distemper or kidney disease, there are ways to prevent the quivering. Once you and your veterinarian are able to find the cause of the quivering, finding ways to prevent it will result in your dog feeling much better. 

Keeping your dog warm, changing your dog’s diet to prevent his blood sugar from dropping (with the advice of your veterinarian on types of food), making sure he always has fresh water, and keeping him comfortable if he has a fever can help. 

If you need more suggestions on how to prevent your dog from quivering, let your veterinarian know and he will help you find solutions to keep your dog happy and healthy.

Cost of Quivering

Since there are many causes of quivering in dogs, treatment methods will vary, as well as the cost. For more moderate to severe medical conditions that can cause quivering, the cost can range from $3000 for epileptic seizures to $7000 for kidney disease.

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Quivering Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals


lab pit hound




1 Year


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0 found this helpful

My pet has the following symptoms:
Can you help my nursing dog Korra? Dog just had 5 puppies. She is thin, panting, slightly weak and is shaking. Pups are 3 weeks old. She IS peeing and pooing normal and is drinking normal. not sure what is happening. Her breed ir lab, pit, and hound.

May 18, 2018

0 Recommendations

There are various causes which may be causing these symptoms; commonly after whelping a dog may shake and pant for a few weeks due to pain and other factors from whelping. Other causes may be due to nutritional deficiency, infections or other causes; however without examining her I cannot say what the specific cause is however I would recommend having your Veterinarian check her out and have blood calcium levels checked in case they are low (eclampsia). Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 18, 2018

Korra has just developed a large red circle on one of her breasts. All my research says that it may be Mastitis. I am now very frightened, because we may have no way to get her to the Vet for a few days. How long does she have. I don't want to lose her. Please say that there is something that I can do.

May 20, 2018

Korra's Owner

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