Have you ever picked up your dog or held your dog close only to realize that they’re shaking? Most of the time we assume that this is just a small dog thing that they do when they’re cold, but there is actually more than one reason why a dog might be shivering. Check out some of the reasons in the list below:

1. They Are Cold

The most logical and common reason why your dog is shaking is simply because they’re cold. Just like us, they will shiver in a very cold environment as their body tries to raise its temperature in order to prevent hypothermia from setting in. And Wag! explained that smaller dog breeds, like Chihuahuas, are more prone to getting cold and shivering because they don’t have the same body mass and density that bigger dogs do. 

The easiest way to fix this, is to bring your dog in from the cold. If your dog is already an indoor pooch you can set their bed close to a heating vent or give them an extra couple blanket layers, or even buy them a cute and cozy sweater to wear.

2. They’re Excited

Sometimes our dogs will shake when they’re extremely happy or excited. There is no real reason why other than speculation that it is intense emotion presenting itself in a physical sense. 

Nothing bad will happen if you let your dog shake while they’re excited. However, Cesar Milan has previously written in his blog, that sometimes dogs can develop the bad habit of being hyperactive or overeager if allowed to act overly excited. But it’s very easy to make sure this doesn’t become a bad habit by simply showing positive reinforcement to your dog every time they act calm or relaxed in an exciting situation.  

3. They’re Stressed or Anxious

Just like dogs can sometimes shake for positive emotions, they can also shake and shiver when they’re experiencing negative emotions. 

The best way to help them through these fears and anxieties is to keep them as calm and as reassured as possible. If you’re able to remove the stressor then do so, but if it’s something like fireworks or a thunderstorm, then do your best to keep them distracted therapeutic toys. And always remain calm yourself as dogs will pick up on the energy that you’re putting out. 

4. They Want Your Attention

If you have gotten into the habit of rushing to your dog’s side whenever you see them shiver – for whatever reason it maybe – they might pick up on this as a way to get your attention. Our clever dogs then may begin to associate shivering or shaking as a means of getting your attention and so they will begin doing it whenever they want you to pay attention to them. 

If your dog is just shivering for attention rather than an actual cause like them being cold or sick, or stressed, then it might be a good idea to ignore them as you don’t want to reinforce this behavior. It’s just a plea for attention. 

5. Physical Pain or Illness

Sometimes health problems in a dog can present themselves as a physical shiver. Shaking or muscle tremors can be a result of serious health conditions such as distemper, hypoglycemia, Addison’s disease, and inflammatory brain disease. It can also mean that your pooch has an upset tummy. As Wag! has reported, constant shaking in your pooch could also point to shaker syndrome, which is a generalized tremor syndrome that can be treated with medication. 

If your dog is constantly shivering, make sure that you check them for any other signs of illness or injury. If your dog seems to be acting strangely or out of character, get them to their veterinarian immediately. 

6. Old Age

When dogs age, it’s not uncommon for them to experience weakness in their leg muscles or to develop tremors because they’re getting on in age. But it should also be noted that this sudden shivering could also be a result of arthritis or joint pains. 

If your senior pooch is starting to show their age by shaking, it’s still a good idea to get them to the vet’s just for a check-up and to make sure there are no underlying conditions. 


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