Common Reasons Why Dogs Shake and How to Help Them


Why does my dog constantly shake?

Watching your dog shake uncontrollably can be distressing and may leave you wondering what might be causing this behavior. However, shaking is a common symptom in dogs and can have a variety of causes. Understanding why your dog is shaking is the first step in providing them with the help they need.

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One common reason why dogs shake is because they are cold or wet. Just like humans, dogs shake as a way to warm up or dry off. If your dog has been outside in cold or rainy weather, it is natural for them to shake afterward. Providing your dog with a warm and dry place to rest can help them feel more comfortable.

In some cases, dogs may shake due to fear or anxiety. Loud noises, unfamiliar environments, or stressful situations can all trigger a fear response in dogs, leading to shaking. If you notice that your dog shakes in certain situations, it is important to identify the triggers and try to alleviate their anxiety. Providing a calm and peaceful environment, using positive reinforcement training techniques, or seeking the help of a professional dog behaviorist can all be helpful in reducing your dog’s anxiety.

Another reason why dogs may shake is because they are in pain. Dogs may shake as a way to release tension or discomfort. If you suspect that your dog is shaking due to pain, it is important to consult with a veterinarian. They will be able to identify the source of the pain and provide appropriate treatment.

Physical Causes of Dog Shaking

Dogs can shake for a variety of physical reasons. One common cause is pain or discomfort. If a dog is experiencing pain in the muscles or joints, it may shake as a result. Arthritis, sprains, or muscle strains can all cause dogs to shake. In some cases, dogs may also shake as a reflexive response to pain. If you notice your dog shaking, especially if they are also limping or showing signs of discomfort, it may be worth taking them to the vet for a check-up.

Another physical cause of dog shaking is hypothermia. When dogs get too cold, their bodies may shake as a way to generate heat and warm up. This shaking can be accompanied by other symptoms of hypothermia, such as shivering, weakness, and a decreased heart rate. If you suspect your dog is suffering from hypothermia, it is important to warm them up immediately and seek veterinary attention.

Neurological issues can also lead to dog shaking. Conditions such as seizures or vestibular disease can cause dogs to shake uncontrollably. Seizures are abnormal electrical activity in the brain and can manifest as shaking, convulsions, or tremors. Vestibular disease affects the inner ear and can cause dogs to have difficulties with balance, leading to shaking. If you suspect your dog is experiencing neurological issues, it is important to consult with your vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

In some cases, dog shaking may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Conditions such as low blood sugar, kidney disease, or liver problems can cause dogs to shake. It is important to seek veterinary attention if you notice your dog shaking, as it could be a sign of a more serious health issue.

In conclusion, there are several physical causes of dog shaking. These include pain or discomfort, hypothermia, neurological issues, and underlying medical conditions. If you notice your dog shaking, it is important to observe any accompanying symptoms and consult with your vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Emotional Causes of Dog Shaking

Dogs can experience emotional distress and anxiety, which can often lead to shaking or tremors. Just like humans, dogs can feel a range of emotions, and when they are feeling anxious or stressed, it can manifest through physical symptoms such as shaking.

There are several emotional causes that can trigger dog shaking:

  • Fear: Dogs can shake when they are afraid of something. This can include loud noises, unfamiliar environments, or certain people or animals.
  • Anxiety: Dogs that struggle with separation anxiety or general anxiety may shake as a way to cope with their emotions. This can occur when they are left alone, during thunderstorms, or in other stressful situations.
  • Trauma: Dogs that have experienced a traumatic event, such as abuse or an accident, may develop shaking as a response to the emotional trauma.
  • Excitement: Sometimes, dogs can shake when they are extremely excited. This is usually seen in high-energy dogs who may shake their bodies as a way to release pent-up energy.

It is important to note that each dog is unique, and their reasons for shaking can vary. If you notice your dog shaking and are concerned about their emotional well-being, it may be helpful to consult with a veterinarian or a professional dog behaviorist to determine the underlying cause and develop a plan to help them feel more secure and comfortable.

How to Help a Shaking Dog

If you notice your dog shaking, it is important to find the cause and provide appropriate help. Here are some steps you can take to help your shaking dog:

  1. Observe your dog: Pay close attention to your dog’s behavior and body language. Look for any signs of distress, pain, or discomfort. If your dog is shaking excessively or showing other signs of illness, it is recommended to consult a veterinarian.
  2. Create a calm environment: Dogs may shake due to anxiety or stress. To help your dog feel more at ease, provide a quiet and comfortable space with minimal distractions. Avoid loud noises or sudden movements that can further agitate your dog.
  3. Provide comfort: Offer your dog a soft blanket or bed to help them feel secure. You can also try using a Thundershirt, which is a snug-fitting garment that provides gentle pressure to help reduce anxiety in dogs.
  4. Engage in calming activities: Consider engaging in calming activities with your dog, such as gentle massages or slow, relaxing walks. These activities can help promote relaxation and reduce shaking.
  5. Offer distractions: If your dog’s shaking is due to fear or nervousness, providing distractions can help redirect their focus. Offer interactive toys or engage in games that require mental stimulation. This can help divert their attention and reduce shaking.
  6. Address medical concerns: If there is no apparent cause for your dog’s shaking and it persists or worsens, it is crucial to seek veterinary attention. There may be underlying medical issues that require diagnosis and treatment.
  7. Follow veterinary advice: If a vet determines the cause of your dog’s shaking, follow their advice for treatment. They may recommend medications, behavior modification techniques, or additional tests to help address the underlying issue.

Remember that every dog is unique, and what works for one dog may not work for another. It is essential to consider your dog’s individual needs and consult a professional for guidance if needed. Your love and support can go a long way in helping your shaking dog feel calm and secure.


Why is my dog shaking?

There are several reasons why your dog may be shaking. It could be due to fear or anxiety, pain or discomfort, cold or wet weather, excitement, or even certain medical conditions. If your dog is shaking excessively or showing signs of distress, it is best to consult with a veterinarian to determine the underlying cause.

What can I do to help my dog stop shaking?

If your dog is shaking due to fear or anxiety, providing a calm and secure environment can help. You can try using a ThunderShirt or other anxiety wrap to provide gentle pressure and make your dog feel more secure. Distraction techniques such as playing with toys or engaging in activities your dog enjoys can also help redirect their focus. If the shaking persists or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, consulting with a veterinarian is recommended.

Is it normal for my dog to shake after being outside in the cold?

It is normal for dogs to shake after being outside in the cold as a way to warm themselves up and regulate their body temperature. Shaking helps to increase blood flow and generate heat. However, if the shaking is excessive or your dog is showing signs of discomfort, such as shivering or curling up, it is important to take steps to warm them up and ensure their well-being.

Can certain medical conditions cause a dog to shake?

Yes, certain medical conditions can cause a dog to shake. These conditions include but are not limited to neurological disorders, tremors, seizures, muscle weakness, pain, or side effects from medications. If your dog is experiencing frequent or intense shaking episodes, it is crucial to take them to a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

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