If you’ve ever noticed your dog trembling, you might wonder whether or not it’s because she’s cold. Although cold can certainly be a factor, there are a lot of other reasons why your dog could be trembling, and some are more concerning than others.

Read through the information below to find out more about the causes of shivering and trembling in dogs. You can use this knowledge to determine when you might need to take your pet to the veterinarian, and when it is okay to wait and monitor her condition instead.


Although dogs may exhibit a variety of signs associated with nausea, shaking is one of them. Look for other signs of nausea along with trembling, including excessive drooling, licking the mouth, or yawning frequently, as these can all help you narrow down the cause.

Nausea can be caused by a variety of problems. Your dog could be sick, could have ingested something toxic, or could simply be feeling some indigestion or upset stomach from her food or treats. Watch her closely for other signs of illness if she is nauseated.


Pain can also lead to shaking and trembling in dogs, especially if the pain comes from arthritis or other joint problems. Older dogs are more prone to shaking from pain than younger dogs, but this symptom can happen in just about any dog regardless of age or size, too.

If your dog is in pain, it’s very important to figure out what the cause of the pain might be. Work with your vet to determine whether your dog is injured, sick, or has a chronic pain condition, as well as what you can do to treat or manage the problem.


Epilepsy is common in dogs, and especially in certain breeds. If your dog’s shaking is accompanied by the inability to move or by paddling the feet, then this could be a seizure. Some seizures are less powerful than others, however, and appear only as severe trembling with no other symptoms.

Dogs who have diagnosed epilepsy don’t need to go to the vet every time they have a seizure. However, if your dog has never had a seizure before or if the seizure lasts longer than a couple of minutes, you need to take her to the vet.


Some types of illness can cause dogs to shiver or tremble. Distemper is one common illness that affects a dog’s nervous system and can lead to shaking. Puppies are more likely to develop distemper than older dogs, but any dog can come down with this disease if not vaccinated against it.

If your dog is showing other signs of being sick aside from just trembling, you should take her to the vet. Some of the health problems associated with trembling can be very serious and may need quick veterinary care to help your dog recover.


It’s very possible that your dog may be shaking from fear. However, you’ll likely know if fear is the cause, because you can usually pinpoint a trigger that might have led your dog to start shaking in the first place. For example, many dogs are terrified of fireworks and may start shaking uncontrollably from the fear associated with them.

If your dog suffers from a lot of fear and anxiety, it might be time to talk to your vet about anxiety medication for your pet. Only give your pet anxiety medication under a vet’s direct orders, and do not ever give your pet anxiety medicine for humans.


Finally, many dogs shake because they are excited. If your dog’s shaking happens most of the time when you come home from work, when you’re getting ready to feed her, or when she knows she’s about to go for a walk, then the underlying cause is probably just excitement and happiness, and there’s nothing to worry about.

Shaking from excitement is completely normal for dogs. Although it’s more common in smaller dogs than in big ones, any dog may start shaking from excitement at any point in her life. Just make sure none of the other causes on this list could be going on, and your dog is sure to be just fine.

In Conclusion

Now that you know more about the potential causes of shivering and trembling in dogs, you can understand when your dog’s behavior is normal and when it might be a cause for concern. Of course, if this is the first time you’ve ever seen your dog trembling, then it might be a good idea to talk to a vet regardless of the cause.

It’s always important to speak with a trusted, professional vet when you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s health and wellness. The vets at Windy Hill Veterinary Hospital can help you figure out what the underlying cause might be and can help your dog feel better again in no time. To book an appointment call them at (770) 333-9030 or use the convenient online form!