Skip to Content

Why Does My Dog Shake? Causes & Solutions (2024)

This site is supported by our readers. We may earn a commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through links.

dog keeps shaking whole bodyHave you ever noticed your dog shaking its whole body? It may look strange, but rest assured that this is usually normal behavior. But why does it happen? While occasionally a result of being wet or cold, there are other possible explanations for why a dog keeps shaking its entire body.

In order to better understand the potential causes and solutions to this issue, let’s take an in-depth look at the topic of canine shakes and tremors.

Key Takeaways

  • Shaking in dogs can serve various purposes, such as refreshing, greeting, relieving stress, and resetting their coat.
  • It is important to identify triggers and provide a safe space for dogs experiencing fear or anxiety.
  • Weird behavior with shakes should be noted, and a vet checkup should be sought to rule out any potential illnesses or underlying issues.
  • Differentiating between shaking and seizures is crucial, as violent trembling indicates seizures, while sudden tremors could be a sign of neurological problems.

Reasons for Shaking in Dogs

Reasons for Shaking in Dogs
Greeting! Have you ever noticed your pup shaking their entire body? This is a normal behavior for dogs that serves many purposes, such as drying off after swimming or bath time, waking up to feel refreshed, shivering when they are feeling cold, and resetting their coat after rolling in grass or snow.

Additionally, play breaks often include shaking, which helps them to reset and reassure themselves that the game is still going on.

Drying Off

You might have seen your pup wet and shaking after a bath or swim — that’s because dogs shake to quickly dry off their fur coat! This efficient drying technique removes 70% of the water, which is more effective than toweling.

It also helps reset their coat, which is especially important for temperature regulation in senior dogs.

Excessive head shaking may signal ear infections or even the canine distemper virus in unvaccinated puppies/dogs. Stress, fear, and tension can cause dry shakes accompanied by panting. Providing a safe space with desensitization often helps them calm down.

Generalized Tremor Syndrome (GTS) symptoms include full-body trembling, but steroids are available for treatment if needed. Violent shakes could be seizures requiring medication such as epilepsy drugs to control them properly.

Waking Up

When you wake up, why do you sometimes feel the need to shake your whole body? For dogs, shaking can be an affectionate greeting or a sign of alertness. It could also indicate fear and trembling due to cold temperatures or health issues.

Sleep shakes are common in some breeds as they wake from their slumber and stretch out their muscles. If accompanied by panting or anxious behavior, it may signal stress that needs addressing with desensitization techniques and a safe space for them to relax in peace away from potential triggers.

In cases where shaking is prolonged, seek veterinary help right away as this could signify more serious underlying conditions such as seizures caused by epilepsy, which require medication for treatment alongside any other identified cause of trembling like low blood sugar levels or toxins ingested accidentally.

Feeling Cold

Your pup’s shaking can be a sign that they’re feeling cold and need some extra warmth. Cold weather means they burn more energy and may not be able to regulate their body temperature as well. Smaller breeds, puppies, or senior dogs tend to have the greatest warmth needs in cold weather due to age or size of breed.

Pay attention to your pup’s body language: if he’s shivering often, it could mean he’s seeking attention for snuggles or playtime, which will help him warm up! Low blood sugar can also cause shaking; this most commonly occurs with small breeds and puppies, so always make sure his diet has enough fuel for all his activities throughout the day.

After Rolling

After rolling, shaking is a natural reflex for your pup to reset their coat and refresh themselves.

Age-related tremors are usually from muscle loss in hind legs – warmth helps! Generalized Tremor Syndrome causes full body shaking all dog sizes/colors; violent shaking could be a seizure requiring medication.

Ear problems can lead to excessive head shakes – treat with vet checkup! Stressful triggers may lead to dry shaken accompanied by panting, so provide them a safe space and remove the trigger.

Pain may cause shivering or trembling – some breeds are more prone than others – nausea treatment depends on the cause but hydration and nutrition are key.

During a Break in Play

During a break in play, your pup may shake to reset and reassure you that they’re still excited to keep playing. It’s natural for them to experience playtime anxiety, weight fluctuations, or physical ailments.

Heat exhaustion is also common, so be sure the environment is not too hot and humid. Shaking can help dogs relieve their anxiety and fear of the unknown, as well as pain or illness from old age conditions like arthritis.

Shaking and Weird Behavior in Dogs

Shaking and Weird Behavior in Dogs
Shaking is a natural behavior in dogs, but if it’s accompanied by strange or weird behaviors, there could be underlying medical conditions. It can occur when they’re exposed to fearful triggers and due to age-related issues.

Older dogs may develop leg tremors from muscle loss, while senior ones might have difficulty regulating their temperature, leading them to shake from coldness.

Canine distemper virus can cause trembling in unvaccinated puppies, and Generalized Tremor Syndrome affects all dog sizes/colors, with the need for steroids for treatment. Ear infection sometimes leads to excessive head shaking too, while low blood sugar is more common among small breeds and puppies.

Here are 5 points you should look out for:

  • Check whether your pup is showing signs of stress, such as panting or nervous behavior.
  • Examine if any toxins, like chocolate, were ingested.
  • If violent shaking occurs, this often indicates seizures, which require medication.
  • Nausea-related symptoms require hydration and nutrition therapy, depending on their causes.
  • Shivering with pain signals an underlying issue that needs diagnosing.

If unexplained shaking continues even after these steps have been tried, visiting the vet is essential, especially when combined with unusual behaviors, so proper treatments can be administered accordingly!

Is Shaking a Sign of Stress and Anxiety in Dogs?

Is Shaking a Sign of Stress and Anxiety in Dogs
You may not realize it, but that seemingly innocent shaking your pup is doing might just be a sign of underlying stress or anxiety. Excessive panting and trembling can signal distress in dogs, which is often caused by fear or tension.

When managing these issues, temperature regulation and calming techniques should be employed to help reduce their stress levels.

Depending on the breed, size differences could also play a role as some smaller breeds tend to have lower blood sugar levels more frequently than larger ones when under pressure.

In terms of medical treatment for any type of internal pain or seizure-like symptoms experienced by your pup, you must consult with an expert veterinarian immediately as they will know best what kind of treatment is needed based on the cause identified through examination and diagnosis procedures.

Symptoms Causes Treatment
Excessive Panting Fear/Tension Calming Techniques & Temperature Regulation
Shivering/Trembling Medical Treatment & Breed Differences

Possible Causes of Shaking in Dogs

Possible Causes of Shaking in Dogs
If your dog is shaking, it may be due to a variety of causes. Ear problems, poisoning, low blood sugar, and canine distemper can all lead to trembling in dogs. Additionally, Generalized Tremor Syndrome (GTS) or seizures could also explain the behavior.

It’s important to investigate any potential underlying issues as soon as possible so that you can provide your pet with the right care and treatment plan for their individual needs.

Ear Problems

Excessive head shaking can be a sign of an ear infection, common in some canine breeds. Ear infections cause body tremors, as well as irregular temperature regulation and difficulty breathing. Canine distemper virus is another possible cause—it’s highly contagious and can affect unvaccinated puppies or dogs.

Other potential causes include toxin exposure such as chocolate, nicotine, or xylitol, which may lead to potentially fatal trembling seizures. Low blood sugar, more frequent in small breeds, is also a possible cause. Generalized Tremor Syndrome and violent shaking due to seizures that require medication for control—epilepsy being the most likely culprit—are other potential causes.

If you notice your dog shaking unexpectedly, it’s best to visit the vet right away for proper diagnosis and treatment options.


If your pup has ingested any toxins, such as chocolate or nicotine, it may cause potentially fatal trembling and seizures. Don’t take any chances – call poison control right away to stay safe. Medical treatment depends on the toxin ingested; age-related factors should also be taken into account, as well as breed-specific traits.

Diet changes might help for some poisons, while others require specific medications that can only be determined by a vet visit.

Low Blood Sugar

Low blood sugar can cause trembling and shivering, especially in smaller breeds and puppies. It’s important to keep an eye on your dog’s diet and monitor their energy levels to prevent health risks associated with low blood sugar levels.

If your pup has been shaking or displaying unusual behavior, it may be time for a vet visit so they can diagnose the issue properly. Treatment options vary depending on the situation but could include dietary changes or medication if necessary.

Get ahead of any potential problems by ensuring regular check-ups at the vet clinic.

Canine Distemper

Canine distemper is a highly contagious virus that can cause your pup’s body to tremble uncontrollably, so it’s best to get them checked out if you notice any shaking. Vaccinations are key in preventing the disease. However, common symptoms include coughing, sneezing, and fever.

Treatment mainly consists of supportive care while providing relief from any secondary infections or complications.

Certain breeds, like Weimaraners, have an increased risk of developing distemper because they lack immunity against the virus. Transmission occurs through respiratory secretions as well as contact with contaminated objects like bedding or food dishes.

If left untreated, this potentially fatal condition could lead to seizures and other serious neurological problems.

Generalized Tremor Syndrome (GTS)

Generalized Tremor Syndrome (GTS) is a condition that causes full-body shaking in all dog sizes and colors, which can be treated with steroids. Symptoms include trembling or shivering, though pain may also be present. Diagnosis typically involves physical exams and possible blood tests to rule out other causes for the tremor.

Treatment usually consists of steroids to reduce inflammation while preventing further tissue damage. Prevention includes avoiding triggers such as stress or exposure to toxins like xylitol or nicotine.

Keeping your pup warm during cold weather can help prevent GTS episodes, as well as regular vet checkups for any symptoms that may arise over time from aging issues or illness concerns.


Seizures can cause your pup to tremble uncontrollably, like a leaf in the wind. These episodes are caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain and have various triggers, such as head injuries or toxins.

Your vet will diagnose seizures based on medical history and physical assessment of symptoms. These symptoms include jerking movements, drooling, loss of consciousness, or incontinence.

Several treatments exist to control seizure activity, from medications to dietary changes. Prevention involves reducing exposure to potential triggers and keeping up with vaccinations.

How to Calm a Shaking Dog

How to Calm a Shaking Dog
If your dog is shaking, it could be due to a number of different issues. Fear triggers can lead to trembling or shaking in dogs, as can diet changes and temperature regulation problems. It’s important to pay attention to your pet’s body language. If they’re pawing at their ears or scratching frequently, this may suggest an ear infection that will need medical care right away.

To calm a shaky pup:

  1. Identify the fear trigger and remove it from their environment if possible.
  2. Provide them with a safe space where they feel comfortable and relaxed.
  3. Make sure that all dietary needs are met, including regular meals of nutritious food supplemented by water throughout the day for hydration purposes.

If you can’t determine what’s causing your dog’s shakes, then contact your veterinarian immediately for further advice on how best to proceed. There may be an underlying health issue requiring treatment that needs addressing, such as seizures or tremors caused by illnesses like Canine Distemper Virus (CDV).

Why Does My Dog Shake Off When He’s Not Wet?

Why Does My Dog Shake Off When He
Your pup’s shaking might be signaling stress, illness, or pain – all reasons you should take him to the vet. Excessive panting is a common symptom of anxiety in dogs and can be compounded by a warm environment or breed differences.

To help your pet relax, try some calming techniques like gentle touch around their neck and shoulders or redirecting their focus with treats. Sudden tremors could also indicate neurological issues such as seizures, which require medication from your veterinarian for treatment.

While there are many normal behaviors that dogs exhibit through shaking off when they’re not wet, if these symptoms persist, it is important to have them checked out quickly so that any underlying medical conditions can be addressed appropriately without delay!

Should I Be Concerned if My Dog is Shaking?

Should I Be Concerned if My Dog is Shaking
It’s important to be aware of your pup’s behavior and take action if they’re shaking, as it can indicate a variety of medical issues that shouldn’t be ignored. However, keep in mind that normal behaviors, such as stretching and yawning upon waking up, may also cause minor trembling.

If the tremors become more frequent or intense, you should check whether they could be due to fearful shaking or trembling associated with pain. In such cases, it’s essential to schedule an appointment with your vet to determine what might be causing this reaction from your dog.

Senior dogs are prone to temperature regulation issues, so make sure you provide them with a warm environment when necessary.

Take note of any weird behavior accompanying the tremors, as toxins like chocolate, nicotine, or xylitol consumption could potentially have fatal consequences.

Never ignore unexplained shakes, as early diagnosis will help prevent serious health problems down the road.

Shaking in Dogs Vs. Seizures

Shaking in Dogs Vs. Seizures
It’s important to differentiate between shaking and seizures in dogs. Shaking can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition or could indicate stress, anxiety, fear, or tension. Seizures are often accompanied by violent trembling, while shaking is usually more subtle and consists of tremors throughout the body that may cause your pup to look like they’re shivering, even if it isn’t cold.

Knowing the difference is key in order to provide proper medical treatment for both conditions, as well as potentially preventing future episodes from occurring. If you notice your pet exhibiting any kind of abnormal movement, such as uncontrollable jerking or twitching, it’s best to get them checked out by a vet right away since this could indicate a seizure rather than just typical canine behavior due to age-related issues or excitement levels getting too high at times when they’re feeling overwhelmed emotionally.

Symptoms vary depending on what type of seizure activity is present, but some common signs include loss of consciousness with paddling motions, drooling excessively, and heavy panting. Along with other changes in their body language, which may suggest pain being experienced within certain areas on the body during these episodes instead.

Seeking Attention: is Shaking a Way for Dogs to Get Attention?

Seeking Attention: is Shaking a Way for Dogs to Get Attention
You could be forgiven for thinking that your pup’s shaking is an attempt to get your attention, as if they were a small child bouncing up and down. Dogs often use their body language to communicate with us, so it makes sense that they might shake when seeking our attention.

However, some dogs will also shake in response to other cues such as fear or excitement. It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between the two cases; however, paying close attention and listening for any accompanying vocalizations may help you identify the cause of their behavior more accurately.

In order for this behavior not to become repetitively rewarded by receiving extra love or treats from you, it is important to focus on positive reinforcement techniques like providing consistent reward systems based on good behaviors rather than undesired ones such as shaking.

Comforting measures like petting can also help reduce stress levels, while distraction techniques provide another way of redirecting unwanted behaviors without directly punishing them either physically or emotionally, which can further worsen anxiety issues in some cases.

Ultimately, understanding their needs through careful observation combined with appropriate behavioral cues is a key ingredient towards developing a healthy relationship dynamic between yourself and your pup!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Can I Do to Stop My Dog From Shaking?

Explore the underlying causes of your pup’s shaking. It could be stress, illness, or age-related tremors. A vet check is needed to rule out health issues and treat based on the cause. Provide warmth, a safe space, and remove triggers for stress-related shakes.

Is Shaking in Dogs Dangerous?

Yes, shaking in dogs can be dangerous. It could indicate a health issue or stress-related problem that requires medical attention. So if your pup’s shivering is inconsistent with their normal behavior, don’t wait—seek help immediately! Ensure your dog receives the care they need and deserve for a happy life.

What is the Difference Between Normal and Abnormal Shaking in Dogs?

Normal shaking in dogs is often a sign of comfort, such as when they wake up or are excited. Abnormal shaking can be caused by stress, pain, illness, or toxins and should always be checked out by the vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.

How Can I Tell if My Dog is Shaking From Pain or Illness?

Look for other signs of pain or illness such as panting, behavioral changes, and unusual movements. If your dog is shaking with these symptoms present, contact your vet immediately.

Are Certain Breeds Prone to Shaking More Than Others?

Yes, some breeds are predisposed to shaking more than others. Smaller dogs and puppies tend to suffer from low blood sugar issues, which can cause trembling, while certain breeds may be more susceptible to ear infections or temperature regulation problems as they age.


While it can be normal behavior for a dog to shake, it could also be a sign of stress, illness, or pain. So if your pup keeps shaking their whole body, it’s important to take note and get to the bottom of it.

From ear problems to low blood sugar to seizures, there are various causes for why your pup might be shaking. If you’re worried about your dog’s shaking, the best thing is to consult your veterinarian for a checkup.

But, if it’s just your pup’s way of resetting their coat or feeling refreshed after a nap, then there’s no need to worry.

Remember, whatever the reason for your dog’s shaking, there’s always a solution.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief with a team of qualified veterinarians, their goal? Simple. Break the jargon and help you make the right decisions for your furry four-legged friends.