Why Is My Dog Shaking? (Causes, Signs, & Solutions)

by Roman Drew

Have you noticed your furry friend shivering or trembling recently for no apparent reason? As a caring canine companion, it’s only natural to worry when your pup seems distressed. You’re probably pondering, “Why is my dog shaking?” But before you freak out and rush Fido to the vet, take a deep breath.

There are actually many explanations for those odd doggy tremors that are no cause for concern. To help you get to the bottom of the unexpected quakes, we’ll provide information that answers the question: “Why do dogs shake their body?” So read on for insights that may explain why dogs tremble — and when it’s time to call in the pros.

Why Do Dogs Body Shake?

A dog can start shaking for several reasons, including releasing pent-up energy, temperature regulation, emotional issues, and medical conditions.

Let’s explore each one below:

1. Releasing Energy

Dogs often shake to release pent-up energy and tension. If your dog seems overly excited or anxious, shaking can be a way for them to “reset” themselves and work off that energy. Giving your dog opportunities to play and exercise regularly can help prevent energy-related shaking.

2. Regulating Temperature

Dogs don’t sweat like humans do, so they rely on panting and shaking to keep cool. If your dog is shaking on a hot day or in a warm environment, it’s likely due to overheating. Make sure your dog has access to shade, water, and airflow to help lower their body temperature.

3. Emotional Causes

Why do dogs shake their whole body?

Sometimes, dogs shake due to extreme emotions like fear, excitement, or anxiety. Loud noises, unfamiliar people or animals, car rides, or separation anxiety can trigger shaking from fear or excitement.

Emotional Causes

Reassuring your dog with calm, gentle petting and speaking in a soft, soothing tone can help alleviate anxiety and shaking, as well as any pain dogs experience. You may also want to consult with a vet about medication or behavioural techniques for severe anxiety.

4. Medical Issues

So, why else does my dog shake its body despite not experiencing energy, temperature, or emotional imbalances?

In some cases, dogs shiver due to an underlying medical issue that requires veterinary attention. Watch out for other signs like pain, ear infection, canine distemper, generalised tremor syndrome, poisoning, organ disease, or hypoglycemia, which can cause muscle tremors.

If your dog is shaking frequently or intensely, seems distressed, limps, or shows other unusual symptoms, take it to the vet right away for an exam. It’s always better to play it safe in such situations.

Paying close attention to the various reasons why dogs shake their whole body, your dog’s other symptoms and behaviour, and making their health and comfort a top priority will help ensure many happy, healthy years together. While it’s fairly common for dogs to shake, you’ll want to look out for unusual behaviour when shaking.

How to Tell if Your Dog’s Shaking Isn’t Normal

As a dog owner, it’s important to monitor your canine companion for any changes in behaviour or health. Excessive shaking that’s unusual for your dog can be a clue that something’s not right.

Here are some behavioural patterns that can indicate unusual shaking behaviour in a dog:

  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Persistent or worsening shaking
  • Lethargy or loss of appetite
  • Age-related conditions in senior dogs

1. Loss of Balance or Coordination

One common question among dog owners is, “Why does my dog keep shaking his body?”

If your dog’s shaking is accompanied by loss of balance, stumbling, or difficulty walking, it could indicate a neurological problem. Conditions like epilepsy, shaking puppy syndrome (SPS), or other seizure disorders can cause tremors and loss of coordination. You’ll want to have your vet examine your dog right away.

Quick Fact: Did you know that epilepsy is the most common neurological disorder found in dogs? It’s been estimated that at least 0.75% of all dogs are affected by this disorder.

2. Persistent or Worsening Shaking

Occasional shaking or shivering in dogs is usually normal, but if the trembling persists for more than a few minutes, seems to be getting more intense, or is accompanied by other symptoms, it’s time for a vet visit. An exam can determine if any medical causes need treatment.

Worsening Shaking

3. Lethargy or Loss of Appetite

If your dog seems more tired than usual, isn’t eating, or has a loss of appetite along with the shaking, it can indicate an illness or other medical issue that requires diagnosis and treatment. Hypoglycemia, pain, and various infections are some possible causes of these combined symptoms. Call your vet right away for advice and schedule an exam.

4. Age-Related Conditions in Senior Dogs

Senior dogs can develop conditions like canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD), which may cause tremors, especially at night. If your older dog has a sleep-wake cycle disturbance or altered interaction along with shakiness, it’s best to have your vet examine them to check for any age-related medical issues. Early diagnosis and treatment can help keep senior dogs healthy and happy.

The bottom line is if your dog’s shaking seems excessive, is accompanied by other symptoms, or you’re just concerned, don’t hesitate to contact your vet. They can examine your dog, run any necessary tests, and determine if there are any medical issues so you can get your canine companion back to its usual playful self. While consulting a vet is an option, there are other preliminary approaches you can adopt when your dog shakes its body, as we’ll see below.

What to Do if Your Dog Keeps Shaking Its Whole Body

The various approaches to take if you notice your dog trembling, shaking or shivering include: 

  • Determining the cause.
  • Gently petting and comforting your dog to help calm them down.
  • Providing a quiet, soothing environment away from stressful stimuli.
  • Seeing a doctor if the symptoms persist.

1. Check for signs of pain or emergency conditions.

You’ve likely heard other dogs’ owners lament, “My dog keeps shaking his whole body, and I don’t know why.” If your pet does the same, watch it closely for other symptoms like lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, or diarrhoea, which can indicate an underlying health issue requiring immediate vet care.

Check for signs of pain or emergency conditions


Conditions like bloat, poisoning, or toxin ingestion can cause your pet to develop tremors and require emergency treatment. If your dog’s gums are pale or their breathing seems laboured, call your vet right away.

2. Calm your dog down.

For less severe cases of trembling, you need to help relax and calm your dog. Gently pet them, speak in a soft, calming tone, and give them space if they seek solitude. You can also try interactive dog toys stuffed with peanut butter or treats to distract them. Tasty chews and treats provide mental stimulation, and the chewing motion can have a calming effect.

3. If shaking persists, see your vet.

In some cases, medication or supplements may provide relief for chronic trembling. Your vet can recommend and prescribe anti-anxiety medication if anxiety seems to be the cause. They may also suggest nutritional supplements for joint or cognitive health to address other possible contributors to your dog’s tremors or shivering.

With patience and proper care, you can understand why dogs shake their fur. Addressing any underlying issues and making changes to your dog’s environment and routine will help ensure your dog can live a happy, healthy life with minimal distress. But if your dog’s shaking seems severe or doesn’t improve, never hesitate to have your vet examine it right away — your dog’s health and comfort should always come first.

Don’t forget to check out our online dog store. We have treats and interactive toys to help calm a shaking dog, pending when you find the underlying cause.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Be Worried If My Dog Is Shaking?

Shaking in dogs can be concerning, especially if it comes with symptoms like vomiting. It’s better to err on the side of caution and check with your vet. It could be nothing, but it’s important to rule out serious health issues just to be safe.

What Is Trembling A Symptom Of In Dogs?

Trembling in dogs can often be a symptom of fear, stress, or anxiety. It’s a natural response where adrenaline gets their muscles primed for defence or escape, leading to shaking. It’s their body’s way of preparing to handle a perceived threat.

Why Is My Dog Shaking When Nothing Happened?

Your dog’s shaking might not always signal an obvious event; it could be due to cold, discomfort, or an ailment like the white dog shaker syndrome. While sometimes it’s a minor issue, unusual or persistent shaking should prompt a vet check to rule out serious health concerns. It’s in your dog’s best interest for you to be attentive to such changes.

How Do You Help My Dog When He Is Shaking?

When your dog shakes from excitement, help it calm down by maintaining a peaceful environment. Avoid overstimulating it and give it time to settle. Once it’s relaxed, the shaking should subside. Keeping your dog’s surroundings and interactions low-key can ease its trembling.

Is A Dog Shaking An Emergency?

Dog shaking can be an indicator of pain, illness, or even poisoning. If the shaking is sudden or accompanied by other sickness symptoms, it’s best to treat it as a potential emergency and consult your vet immediately. Quick action can be crucial in addressing any underlying health issues.

What Is Shaker Syndrome In Dogs?

Shaker syndrome is a disorder in dogs characterised by generalised, involuntary head and body tremors. It’s also known as steroid-responsive tremors since the condition often improves with steroid treatment. This syndrome can affect dogs of any age or breed.


While seeing your pup shaking like a leaf can be alarming, in most cases, it’s nothing to freak out about. By staying aware of why dogs shake their body and when it’s unusual, you’ll be able to tell when it’s time to call the vet. With a little observation and patience, you can usually get to the bottom of those shivers and help your best buds feel more comfortable in their fur.

We know it’s hard not to worry — dog parents want the best for their pups! But don’t stress too much. Just keep an eye out and give them some extra snuggles if they need it. Chances are your shaky doggo will be back to their happy, energetic self in no time.

And what better way to keep them calm and happy than with a dog treat and toys? Check out our online pet store today for great picks!

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