Meet the Animals

Shaking Paws: Unraveling the Mystery Behind Your Dog’s Tremors

Why Does My Dog Shake? Understanding the Different Causes and How to Address ThemIt’s a common sight to see our furry friends shaking from time to time.

While shaking can be normal and no cause for concern, it can also indicate underlying issues that require our attention. In this article, we will explore the two main categories of shaking in dogs: behavioral shaking and environmental shaking.

By understanding the causes and potential solutions for each, we can ensure that our beloved pets are happy, healthy, and free from unnecessary discomfort.

Behavioral Shaking


If you’ve ever seen your dog shake with excitement, you know just how endearing and infectious their joy can be. Whether triggered by the prospect of a walk, the approach of their favorite human, or the anticipation of playtime, excitement-induced shaking is relatively harmless.

To help manage and channel your dog’s excitement in a positive way, consider the following tips:

– Engage your dog with interactive toys that provide mental stimulation and help release pent-up energy. – Chew toys can be a great way for your dog to redirect their excitement while keeping their teeth healthy.

– Regular exercise and playtime can help burn off excess energy and reduce the intensity of shaking episodes.

Anxiety and Fear

Unlike excitement-induced shaking, anxiety and fear-related shaking can be distressing for both dogs and their owners. Dogs may shake when faced with unfamiliar situations, loud noises, separation from their owners, or traumatic experiences.

To help calm your anxious or fearful pup, try these strategies:

– Calming music or white noise can have a soothing effect on dogs and help mask external noises that trigger anxiety. – Games of fetch or other mentally stimulating activities can redirect your dog’s focus, alleviating anxiety.

– In severe cases, consult with a veterinarian who may recommend anti-anxiety medications to help your dog navigate stressful situations more comfortably.

Environmental Shaking

To Remove Water

After a rainy walk or a dip in the pool, you may notice your dog shaking vigorously to remove excess water from their coat. While this is a natural behavior, there are steps you can take to minimize the discomfort caused by a wet coat:

– Equip your dog with a cooling vest, which not only helps wick away water but also keeps them comfortable during hot weather.

– Absorbent dog towels are a great investment to have on hand, as they quickly soak up moisture and reduce the need for excessive shaking.

To Warm Up

In colder climates or during winter months, smaller dogs, in particular, may shake as a way to warm up. To keep your chilly pup cozy and content, consider the following:

– Outfit your dog in a warm coat specifically designed for their size and breed.

– Warm booties not only protect your dog’s paws from freezing temperatures but also provide an extra layer of insulation. – Provide a warm and cozy bed for your dog to snuggle into during colder times, ensuring their overall comfort.


Understanding why our dogs shake can help us better address their needs and ensure their well-being. From excitement to anxiety, and wet coats to chilly weather, the reasons behind our furry friends’ shaking are varied.

By employing the strategies outlined in this article, we can provide comfort, reassurance, and a healthy environment for our beloved pets. So, next time you see your dog shaking, take a moment to assess the situation and respond with care and compassion.

Your furry friend will thank you with wags and licks.

Medical Causes of Shaking


Dogs may shake as a result of pain caused by injuries, illnesses, or underlying health conditions. If you notice your dog shaking and displaying other signs of discomfort, such as flattened ears, it is crucial to seek veterinary examination and treatment.

Common causes of pain-related shaking in dogs include:

– Injuries: Sprains, fractures, or muscle strains can cause significant pain, leading to shaking. If your dog has had a recent accident or fall, it is essential to have them examined by a veterinarian to determine the extent of the injury and provide appropriate treatment.

– Illnesses: Certain illnesses, such as canine arthritis or inflammatory conditions, can cause joint pain and discomfort. Dogs with these conditions may experience shaking as a response to their pain.

Veterinary guidance and appropriate medications can help manage pain and improve your dog’s quality of life.

Old Age

As dogs age, they may experience age-related changes that can lead to shaking. While old age itself is not a medical condition, the physical changes that occur can contribute to shaking and trembling.

If your dog is entering their senior years and showing signs of shaking, consult with your veterinarian who can perform a comprehensive check-up to ensure their well-being. Some factors to consider include:

– Tiredness: Senior dogs may become more fatigued, leading to weakened muscles and instability, which can result in shaking.

Adequate rest and sleep, as well as regular vet check-ups, can help address any underlying issues contributing to this tiredness. – Nutrition: Older dogs often require a different diet to support their changing nutritional needs.

Consider switching to a high-quality senior dog food, specifically formulated to meet the unique requirements of aging canines.


Nausea can cause dogs to shake, and it is often accompanied by other symptoms such as excessive drooling, lip licking, and vomiting.

Nausea can result from various causes, including motion sickness, gastrointestinal issues, or even certain medical conditions.

Here are some ways to address nausea-related shaking:

– Motion Sickness: If your dog experiences shaking during car rides or other forms of motion, consult with your veterinarian for possible solutions. They may recommend medication or behavior modifications to help alleviate motion sickness and reduce shaking.

– Gastrointestinal Issues: Dogs with upset stomachs or digestive disorders may exhibit shaking as a response to their discomfort. A vet consultation can determine the underlying cause of the gastrointestinal issues and provide appropriate treatment.

– Medication: Some medications, particularly those that affect the central nervous system, can induce nausea and shaking as side effects. If your dog started shaking after beginning a new medication, contact your veterinarian for guidance.


Ingesting certain substances can be toxic to dogs and lead to shaking and other alarming symptoms. If you suspect your dog may have been exposed to toxins, it is essential to seek immediate veterinary assistance.

Some common substances that can cause poisoning and shaking in dogs include:

– Chocolate: Chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic to dogs. Ingestion of chocolate can lead to symptoms such as shaking, increased heart rate, vomiting, diarrhea, and in severe cases, it can be life-threatening.

Keep chocolate and other human foods containing it out of your dog’s reach. – Cannabis: Cannabis toxicity in dogs can occur if they accidentally consume marijuana products.

Symptoms of cannabis poisoning include shaking, disorientation, lethargy, and in some cases, seizures. If you suspect cannabis ingestion, contact your veterinarian immediately.

– Slug Poison and Other Toxins: Some garden and household chemicals, including slug bait and cigarette butts, can be harmful if ingested by dogs. Shaking, along with other symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy, may indicate poisoning.

Try to keep your dog away from potential toxins and dispose of harmful substances properly.

Diseases That Cause Shaking in Dogs

Neurological Conditions

Neurological conditions can cause shaking and tremors in dogs, often due to abnormalities or malfunctions in the brain or nervous system. Some common neurological conditions that may lead to shaking include:

– Seizures: Dogs can experience seizures, characterized by uncontrolled shaking or convulsions.

Seizures can result from various causes, including epilepsy, brain tumors, or exposure to toxins. If your dog has a seizure, contact a veterinarian immediately.

– Cerebellar Hypoplasia: This neurological condition is often seen in cats, but can also affect dogs. It occurs when the cerebellum, a region of the brain responsible for movement and coordination, is underdeveloped.

Shaking or unsteady movements are common signs of cerebellar hypoplasia. – Shaker Syndrome and Shaking Puppy Syndrome: These are two conditions that primarily affect small dog breeds.

Shaker Syndrome typically occurs in young dogs and causes generalized shaking or tremors. Shaking Puppy Syndrome is a hereditary condition that affects puppies, leading to shaking and difficulty walking.

Veterinary intervention is necessary to manage these conditions.

Other Diseases and Conditions

In addition to neurological conditions, several other diseases and conditions can cause shaking in dogs. Some examples include:

– Addison’s Disease: Addison’s disease, also known as hypoadrenocorticism, occurs when the adrenal glands do not produce enough hormones.

Symptoms of Addison’s disease can include shaking, weakness, vomiting, and diarrhea. Prompt veterinary attention is crucial to diagnose and manage this condition.

– Hypocalcemia: Low blood calcium levels, often caused by problems with the parathyroid glands, can lead to shaking or muscle tremors in dogs. Hypocalcemia can be a serious condition requiring immediate medical attention.

– Hypoglycemia: Low blood sugar levels can cause shaking, weakness, and disorientation in dogs. Certain small dog breeds, such as Chihuahuas, are more prone to hypoglycemia.

Regular meals and a balanced diet can help prevent this condition. – Distemper: Canine distemper is a viral disease that affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems.

In advanced stages, dogs with distemper may develop shaking or tremors. Vaccination against distemper is crucial for prevention.


Shaking in dogs can be caused by a variety of factors, including behavioral, environmental, medical, and disease-related causes. By understanding these different causes, we can better address our dogs’ needs and ensure their overall well-being.

If your dog experiences shaking, particularly if there are additional concerning symptoms, consult with a veterinarian for guidance and appropriate treatment. With the right care and attention, we can help our furry companions live happy, healthy lives, free from unnecessary shaking and discomfort.

Actions When Your Dog Shakes

Identifying the Cause

When your dog starts shaking, it’s important to understand the underlying cause in order to provide appropriate care and support. Shaking can be triggered by various factors, including excitement, fear, wetness, and coldness.

By identifying the cause, you can take the necessary steps to address the issue and ensure your dog’s well-being. Excitement-induced shaking is usually accompanied by a wagging tail, bright eyes, and an overall joyful demeanor.

This type of shaking is often harmless and short-lived. Providing your dog with interactive toys, such as puzzle toys or chew toys, can help redirect their excitement in a positive and engaging way.

Physical exercise, such as a game of fetch or a long walk, can also help burn off excess energy and reduce the intensity of shaking episodes. On the other hand, shaking caused by fear or anxiety can be distressing for your dog.

Common triggers include loud noises, unfamiliar environments, or traumatic experiences. To help your dog feel more secure, consider creating a safe space for them, such as a designated room or crate that is comfortable and quiet.

Calming music or white noise can also help drown out external sounds and provide a soothing atmosphere. If the anxiety persists, consult with a veterinarian who may recommend behavior modification techniques or anti-anxiety medications to help your dog manage their fear.

If your dog’s shaking is due to wetness, it is essential to address their discomfort. Wet coats can cause your dog to feel cold and uncomfortable, leading to shaking as a natural response to warm up.

Use absorbent dog towels to remove excess moisture from their coat, taking care to dry them gently. Additionally, consider using cooling vests, which not only help remove water but also provide a cooling effect to keep your dog comfortable during warmer weather.

When your dog shakes due to coldness, especially in colder climates or during winter months, it’s important to provide them with warmth and comfort. Smaller dogs, in particular, may be more sensitive to the cold.

Outfitting your dog with a warm coat specifically designed for their size and breed can help regulate their body temperature. Warm booties can also protect their paws from freezing temperatures and provide an extra layer of insulation.

Lastly, ensuring your dog has a warm and cozy bed to snuggle into will help them stay comfortable and alleviate cold-related shaking.

Veterinary Assistance

In some cases, shaking in dogs may indicate more serious underlying issues that require veterinary attention. Recognizing when to seek veterinary assistance is crucial in providing timely and appropriate care to your furry friend.

If you suspect your dog has been exposed to potentially toxic substances, such as chocolate, cannabis, slug poison, or cigarette butts, contact a veterinarian immediately. Ingestion of these substances can lead to poisoning, and shaking may be one of many symptoms exhibited.

Try to bring any packaging or information about the toxin if possible, as this can help the veterinarian determine the appropriate course of action. If your dog has had a recent injury or accident and is shaking, it is important to have them examined by a veterinarian.

Many injuries, such as sprains, fractures, or muscle strains, can cause pain and discomfort, leading to shaking. A professional evaluation can help determine the extent of the injury and provide appropriate treatment, such as pain medication or physical therapy.

In some cases, shaking may be accompanied by additional symptoms that warrant immediate veterinary attention. If your dog’s skin feels unusually cold to the touch, they exhibit signs of disorientation or weakness, experience difficulty breathing, or have any other concerning symptoms, it is important to seek medical help as soon as possible.

These symptoms could be indicators of a more serious underlying condition, such as a neurological disorder or internal health issues. Regular veterinary check-ups can also help identify and address potential health concerns before they become more severe.

As your dog ages, it is particularly important to monitor their health and seek assistance if you notice any changes in their shaking patterns, overall behavior, or appetite. Senior dogs may require specific care and specialized diets to support their changing needs and address any age-related health issues.

In conclusion, understanding the cause of your dog’s shaking is crucial for providing appropriate care and support. Whether the shaking is due to excitement, fear, wetness, coldness, or more serious underlying medical conditions, taking the necessary actions can help alleviate their discomfort and ensure their overall well-being.

By identifying the cause and seeking veterinary assistance when needed, you can be proactive in addressing your dog’s needs and ensuring they live a happy and healthy life by your side. Understanding why your dog shakes is crucial for their well-being.

This article explored various causes of shaking, including behavioral, environmental, medical, and disease-related factors. From excitement and anxiety to wetness, coldness, and underlying health conditions, each cause requires its own unique approach.

Identifying the cause allows for appropriate care, such as engaging toys, calming techniques, absorbent towels, warm coats, and veterinary assistance when needed. By addressing your dog’s shaking, you can ensure their comfort, happiness, and overall health.

Take the time to understand your dog’s needs and provide the necessary support to keep them wagging with joy.

Popular Posts