Dog Shivering or Trembling Causes and Treatments


Trembling in dogs is an involuntary movement of muscles in one or more body parts. Dogs may tremble or shake for many reasons. You may have noticed your dog shiver all of a sudden sometimes, when they are playful or excited or just trying to get rid of dirt. This is usually harmless, but it could be a health issue if you notice them doing this more often. You should take note and try to resolve the problem. The pet parent needs to know about dog shivering or trembling causes and treatments. Being aware of important health tips for dogs helps in becoming a responsible pet owner.

Dog Shivering

Causes of shivering

Muscle or joint pain

If a dog has pain in the neck, stomach or back, she may start trembling. Muscles begin to twitch due to sharp pain. In case of arthritis, joints that are affected may start to shake.


Dogs start to shiver when certain things make them anxious. Loud noises caused by thunderstorms or fireworks can make them nervous.


Your dog may be experiencing pain due to bone fracture and this may cause trembling. If you notice unsteady movements or swelling, then it may be have fractured itself.


Some dogs may be experiencing the ill effects of being abandoned or abused previously. This may have instilled a fear in them, causing them to shiver uncontrollably.


Conditions such as distemper, caused by a virus may result in trembling. Young dogs who haven’t been vaccinated may develop this infection. They may also experience fever, cough and runny nose.


Dogs can also experience motion sickness and this can make them nauseous. Shivering is a sign of nausea in dogs.


One of the common reasons for shivering in dogs is because they are cold.


If the dog has ingested or come in contact with toxins such as xylitol, cigarettes or chocolate, they get poisoned. Exposure to medicines also causes poisoning and leads to shaking.

Other causes

Kidney disease, Addison’s disease, heart disease, nervous system disease, hypoglycaemia and old age may make dogs shiver involuntarily.


  • If you feel that your dog is shivering out of fear, you need to approach cautiously and be gentle with it. Soothing voice, soft petting and caressing can help assuage her fears.
  • If chilly weather is making her shiver, then try to keep it warm and comfortable indoors.
  • To avoid loud noises which are making her jump out of anxiety, you may place small cotton balls in your dog’s ears. Stress-relieving medicine may also help overcome trembling.
  • Pain relievers, muscle relaxants and drugs help in treating immediate symptoms of shivering, while the underlying cause is being diagnosed.
  • Once the cause is identified and the dog is being treated, it is important to keep it well fed and hydrated. Also, limit its activities and too much excitement to control shivering.

Your observation helps the vet determine the underlying cause and provide relevant treatment. Consult your vet to know more about dog shivering or trembling causes and treatments.


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