Shivering and trembling may be symptoms of something serious — like poisoning, kidney disease, or injury. So, if your dog suddenly starts trembling or shivering, it’s important to take note of other symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting, or limping. Then talk to your vet right away. There are other less common reasons for shivering, shaking, trembling, or tremors in dogs.

Chronic kidney failure can lead to tremors. So can neurological problems that may include inflammatory brain diseases or seizure disorders. An Addisonian crisis, a condition related to an underactive adrenal gland, and demyelinating disorders may also lead to shaking in dogs. Dogs may shake when their anal sacs are full.

If you have questions about your dog’s shivering or trembling — or about any canine health and wellness issue, talk to your vet. Shivering could be a sign that your dog is in pain or suffering from an illness. Shivering and muscle tremors can be symptoms of serious conditions such as distemper, hypoglycemia, Addison’s disease and inflammatory brain disease, as well as more common ailments like an upset stomach. Fear, excitement, or stress. Strong emotions can cause a person to shake or shiver. This is often due to a surge of adrenaline in the body. Adrenaline is a hormone that triggers the body’s fight-or-flight response. Many dogs tremble or shake, even when it’s not cold outside.

                                   This is especially common in small dogs like Chihuahuas. While shivering can be just a normal fact of life for some dogs, it can also be a warning sign that something is amiss. There are many different reasons that your dog could be shaking, ranging from benign to concerning. Whether or not you should seek treatment will depend on the opinion of your vet, but keep in mind that some of the reasons dogs shiver are quite difficult to pin down. We understand why you’re concerned when your dog starts to shake or shiver. Fortunately, the cause may not be as severe as your immediate worries. Dogs will tremble, shiver, and shake for a number of reasons. Assessing and observing the other symptoms your pup is displaying will help to better determine the severity of the situation.

While your pet could just be cold, shivering can also be an indicator of poisoning, disease, or injury. Shaking can be a sign of pain among other reasons. Pain is often exhibited through shaking in the hind legs, common in older dogs who have developed joint pain. Arthritis is one reason for shaking from pain in dogs.

While shaking due to pain isn’t necessarily an emergency situation, it should still be addressed by a veterinarian. Your veterinarian can address your pet’s pain and help you find a solution through therapies or medication.

While pain can be indicated by shaking or trembling, it doesn’t eliminate the possibility your dog could be shaking for another more or less severe reason. Not all the reasons behind your dog’s shaking are negative. When dogs get excited, like when they’re playing with you or you’ve just gotten home after work, dogs will often shake. This is actually a natural reaction in their body to exert excess energy and calm them down.

Other times when your pup may shiver out of excitement or anticipation is when you’re preparing their dinner or when they’ve spotted something outside they want to chase. If your dog is afraid of loud noises, like thunder or fireworks, they may react by shivering and shaking. It’s not uncommon for dogs to have anxiety, especially when major environmental changes happen in ‘their space’.

If your dog’s anxiety is severe enough then you may want to contact your veterinarian. Veterinarians can prescribe an anti-anxiety medication for your dog to be used in anticipation of or during stressful events. If your dog is displaying no other concerning symptoms and there are no new stressors in their environment, then they are most likely just shivering from being cold.

Dogs shiver when cold just like people do. If you live in a particularly cold climate or have a small or thin coated pup, it’s worth it to invest in a coat or potentially even a pair of booties. You’ll want to ensure they aren’t outside for too long as well.

In severe cases, a dog can have hypothermia from long periods of exposure to the extreme cold. In this situation, you will need to take them to a vet for treatment. You look over and find your dog shivering, involuntarily trembling.  It is not the regular wiggling of excitement you see when you are about to take him on a walk.  Shivering is more of twitching of the muscles. There are different reasons that your dog may be shivering such as:

Cold weather

Overheating/heat stroke

Muscle or joint issues



Neurological issue

Addison’s disease


If your pet continues to shiver, even after you cover him with a blanket and you start to notice other symptoms, it is time to take him to the veterinarian.  The veterinarian can help determine why your pet is shivering and provide timely care. Your dog might be shivering due to a number of reasons. It could be from excitement, old age, breed type, fear, body temperature, or after eating something toxic. Some reasons are more common than others, and generally don’t need serious treatment or vet assistance.

Because there are so many reasons why your dog might be shaking, it’s essential to understand the concept of shaking before determining the cause. Many times your dog won’t need medical assistance, but other times they might need to be seen by a vet immediately. Let’s look at the reasons for this behaviour and find out if your buddy needs to go to the vet or if you can help.

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