Why Do Dogs Shake?

Why do dogs shake? Before you learn the answer, it is best to define first what shake means. This basically refers to dogs that tremble or shiver while still having control of their bodies.

When your dog makes eye contact and responds to you as he shakes, your dog has got full control of its body, making him different from dogs that lose control during a seizure.

There are actually various reasons why your dog shakes and knowing the exact cause will help you come up with an informed decision regarding his overall well being.

Why Do Dogs Shake?

Why Do Dogs Shake?


Well, this is not unusual, particularly for breeds with a short coat. When your pet is cold, his body will shake to develop heat by way of muscle movement.


Whether your dog chases a squirrel, looks forward to dinner or is eager to play with you after spending a day alone, it is normal for your dog to shake as he anticipates for something to happen.

Frightened or Anxious

Adrenaline release can also cause shaking. A dog’s adrenal glands release adrenaline to help in handling this situation. Fireworks, thunderstorms, car rides, air travels, grooming parlors, vet visits, loud noises, meeting strangers and changes in the environment can all cause fear or anxiety on dogs.

Learned Behavior

For some reason, your pet learned that every time he shakes, he is going to get the desired response from you, whether it is a yummy treat, attention or affection.


Distemper is a virus disease which can be often observed in puppies before reaching adulthood and those dogs which have not yet been vaccinated. Common symptoms include nasal discharge, coughing, fever and can cause seizures and shaking as well. Puppies which are not completely vaccinated have higher risks of incurring the virus.


A dog which has eaten poisonous plants, chocolate, insecticides, cigarettes, contaminated food, and other dangerous materials in high doses could suffer diarrhea, vomiting and uncontrollable shaking.

Kidney Disease

There are cases when dogs can be free from symptoms for long periods of time. When your dog suddenly starts urinating and drinking more frequently, it should be a cause for concern. Some other signs which include shaking could follow as the condition of your dog progresses.

White Dog Shake Syndrome

This is a type of serious illness specifically in small breeds like West Highland White Terriers and Maltese which can make your pet shake and lead to full body tremors in the younger dogs. Dog behaviors related to anxiety are ruled out since the syndrome is not a form of reaction to certain stressors.

Addison’s Disease

Dogs that suffer from this disease are going to show signs of loss of strength and energy, gastrointestinal problems and little to no appetite together with shaking. This disease is misdiagnosed most of the time that can lead to more serious problems.

These are only some of the common reasons as to why do dogs shake. As many of them are quite serious, it is best to consult your vet to know the right away to address these concerns.

If your dog shakes in the way like this video, you should bring your dog to visit a veterinarian as soon as possible.

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