Why Does My Dog Shake? – 8 Real Reasons To Learn


As a dog lover, you might notice most of your pet’s action. One of the most noticeable things a dog does is shaking. You can see them give a shake when you are playing with them or stretching out. But don’t get too happy with it because shaking can also mean that your dog has a serious illness. In this article you, will learn eight possible reasons in the question: why does my dog shake?

Why Do Dogs Shake?


Shaking is one way how dogs work out their energy. So it is only natural if you see your dog shake while chewing your slippers or get moving after a nice nap. On the other hand, there are still other reasons why your dog shake, and these other reasons are not good for your dog. Learn it all here:

1. Happy Dog Shakes

We must all be familiar with the wet dog shake, and we all know that it is very normal for a dog to shake after taking a bath. In that way, the dog’s coat will easily dry off. This is a healthy reflex for all our furry pets because they are preventing themselves from having hypothermia. It is a medical condition characterized by a low body temperature. Hypothermia has three phases: severe, moderate and mild. It occurs to a dog when he is unable to maintain a normal temperature. Another behavior we are familiar with is the excited shake. They often do this when they are waiting for the ball to be thrown away, chewing your slippers at home or any actions that makes them think that you are playing with them. Also, you can notice your dog do the excited shake when they are playing with other dogs, this is sometimes accompanied by licking, jumping or nuzzling. You should be happy if you see your dog in this kind of behavior because it is how they show their emotion. Happy dog shake is never a problem but if they get overly hyper, you should consider conducting some behavioral training methods.

The moment that you already established a series of good behavior then you don’t need to worry or be strict to your dog anymore. Here are seven methods on how to train your dog in order to have a better play time and bonding experience:

  • TREAT- In order to encourage the right kind of dog behavior, you need to choose a low calorie snack for your pet. Also, the snack should be healthy enough to make your dog stronger.
  • LEASHES- If you want to take your dog in a walk, a good leash can be very helpful. Always remember to purchase a leash that is comfortable for your dog.
  • CORRECTOR- This is one of the most effective tool that can correct your dog’s bad behavior. This serves as a reminder for your pet to stop. A corrector mimics the hissing sound of the predators; this is made with compressed inert gas. If your dog hears the sound, then he will stop from jumping, barking, scratching or any other kind of aggression.
  • TRAINING GUIDES- You can purchase this online or in any local pet store. These training guides give you directions on how to use your voice and actions as a training tool.
  • CAGING, GATES AND BEDS- These tools allows you to train your dog by marking which locations he can and cannot go to.
  • CHEWING AND BARKING DISCOURAGEMENT- Are you tired of all the chewing and barking around your house? You can prevent these using some chewing and barking discouragement tools. Usually, these tools give out a bitter taste that dogs find repulsive. These are also very effective if you want to discourage your dog from biting and gnawing their itching skin.
  • HOUSE TRAINING- Teach your dogs where to pee. Train them to go to places where they are allowed to pee rather than allowing them to do it anywhere in your house.

2. Stress-Induced Trembling

Not every time your dog shakes, mean that it is happy shake. Sometimes your dog is trembling because he is experiencing a severe anxiety. One example is when your dog sees an unfamiliar animal or person. Also, you will notice that your dog is shaking when it is raining hard accompanied with lightning and thunder. If you bring your dog to a veterinarian he is also likely to shake. One of the common reasons that trigger your dog to experience anxiety is missing you. Unlike happy shakes, shaking due to anxiety has a different response for dogs. Usually, your dog will growl, hide or perform any signs to show aggression. This kind of stress will result to chewing hard objects in your home, panting or any other bad behaviors. Circumstances and disposition are two of the greatest factors in a dog’s reaction towards stress. Your dog’s breed is also a factor because there are breeds that are more prone to severe anxiety. If you find chronic anxiety as a problem of your dog, you can conduct certain training methods that helps your dog acclimate to situations as well as overcome their fears. If you want your dog to be examined by a professional veterinarian, he may recommend a medication such as clomicalm. It is a prescription anti-depressant which is orally administered to dogs. This medication treats separation anxiety in your dog. Specifically, clomicalm is for inappropriate elimination, excessive barking and destructive behavior. Combining clomicalm with behavior modification and training is the best idea that you can do. Always remember that clomical is for dogs that are six months or older.

3. Distemper

Happiness or anxiety is not the cause of this kind of dog shake. Distemper is a virus that causes your dog to have fever, cough and nasal discharge. This virus can also cause more serious effects such as tremors and seizures. This often happens to puppies that were not fully vaccinated. This requires a professional veterinarian. I suggest that if you noticed this kind of symptoms then immediately see a veterinarian. Just like other viruses, there is no cure. The best thing that we can do is manage the symptoms and prevent all the secondary infections. Your dog must acquire stronger immune system to fight off this virus.

4. White Dog Shaker Syndrome

Not all shakes are caused by high emotion. A serious illness can also be one of the causes why your dog shakes. If you are familiar with the happy shake, then you will notice the difference right away. Also, this kind of dog shake can’t be classified as an anxiety-related shake since there is no factor that triggered your dog to experience severe anxiety. White dog shaker syndrome is also known as responsive tremor syndrome or generalized tremor syndrome: this is a term for a disorder that causes a dog’s full body tremor. This kind of disorder was first discovered in small dog breeds but was lately found out that it may also happen to bigger dog breeds. White dog shaker can happen to any dog regardless of their breed or size. If you notice this happening to your dog, I suggest that you treat him with corticosteroids. One example of cortocisteroids is Prednisone; this treatment can improve the health of your dog within one week. Corticosteroids prevents the processes of immune responses and inflammatory. It also decreases the natural response of the dog’s body against the outside stimuli and also to itself. Naturally, a dog’s body produces corticosteroids as a hormone. The dog’s body will be comfortable with the increased level of corticosteroids if you allow your dog to take a dose of it (daily for two weeks or more). If this happens, a dog’s body will respond by producing less of the natural coricosteroids hormones. It is important that you remember not to let your dog take high dosage of cortocisteroids daily and then suddenly decide to stop the treatment because your dog’s body will not have enough time to adjust in the situation and this will likely result to dangerous side effects.

One situation that showed a use of cortocisteroids was the success story of Hercules, a miniature dachshund who is five years old. Hercules had allergies; this caused him to scratch himself every fall. It was not a normal scratching because his coat was already bleeding due to that. There was also a big change in his behavior and his hair started to fall. The pet owner tried giving him antihistamines but it was no use. He was still uncomfortable and that kind of medication was not controlling the symptoms: Hercules is still scratching himself and his hair was almost everywhere. It was then that his veterinarian decided to give another medication to Hercules. The dog took Prednisone twice a day for the first five days, on the next five days he took only one dose per day, and he took a dose every other day for the following month. In this medication, it is normal to observe some side effects, especially at first. In Hercules’ story, he showed some side effects such as eating more snack, drinking more water, and urinating more often. Fortunately, improvement was seen after a week of therapy. Hercules’ skin started to heal, he felt a lot better, he doesn’t scratch his coat always and his hair was not falling dramatically anymore. No symptoms was observed during winter season, Hercules is back to being happy and playful. The veterinarian is planning to start Hercules, the miniature dachshund, on Omega-3 fatty acids next year several months before fall. They will still try giving him antihistamine but if it doesn’t work then they will give Hercules the same treatment again.

5. Poisoning

This is one of the external factors that cause your dog to shake. This is often accompanied with diarrhea and vomiting. This is caused by your pet’s ingestion of poisonous plants, harmful materials or chocolates. Yes, chocolates really poison a dog. The roasted seed of Theobroma cacao is what chocolates composed of. Theobroma cacao contains caffeine and theobromine which are toxic to animals. In determining how severe the toxicity is, the type and amount of the chocolate ingested are necessary to know. These two are factors in dog poisoning. Three types of chocolate that you must be very aware of are:

Milk Chocolate – If 0.70 ounces per pound of your dog’s body weight was taken by your dog then mild signs of toxicity will occur. However, if approximately 2.00 ounces of milk chocolate per pound of your dog’s body weight was ingested then it will result to severe toxicity. If you have a 20-pound dog and he ingested a pound of milk chocolate, then it will result to severe toxicity.

Semi-Sweet Chocolate –  If 0.30 ounces per pound of your dog’s body weight was taken by your dog then mild signs of toxicity will occur. However, if approximately 1.00 ounce of semi-sweet chocolate per pound of your dog’s body weight was ingested then it will result to severe toxicity. If you have a 20-pound dog and he ingested 6.00 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, then it will result to severe toxicity.

Baking Chocolate – This is the most dangerous type of chocolate because it contains the highest concentration of theobromine and caffeine.  If approximately 0.10 ounces of baking chocolate per pound of your dog’s body weight was ingested then it will result to severe toxicity. If you have a 20-pound dog and he ingested two one-ounce square of baking chocolate, then it will already result to severe toxicity.

If you observed symptoms of dog poisoning, immediately call your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center or ASPCA.

6. Addison’s Disease

If you notice your dog having gastrointestinal problems, loss of appetite or no appetite at all, and loss of strength and energy, then it is a possibility that your dog is suffering from Addison’s disease. Trembling is another sign of this kind of disease. Addison’s disease is often misdiagnosed and this can result to a bigger problem. Talk to your dog’s veterinarian if you noticed that your dog is chronically ill or undernourished. Don’t forget to ask about all the possible results after you observed the symptoms. If you are sure that it is indeed Addison’s disease, then you can let your dog undergo a treatment.

7. Kidney Disease

If you noticed your dog drink water and urinate more often, then it is likely a sign of a renal failure or a chronic kidney disease. Other symptoms may include shaking, if the situation is getting worse. Unfortunately, this kind of disease can not be cured. But don’t worry because there are therapies for renal disease such as furosemide. It is so heartbreaking if your dog is with chronic kidney disease. But let us not lose hope because we still can offer your pet the best quality of life that we can possibly give.

8. Advanced Age

Deramax, Carprofen, or Dasuguin are some of the therapies and treatments that are effective in supporting your dog in his senior years. Usually, the cause of cognitive deterioration and trembling is the old age of your dog. You can always work with your veterinarian to find a way in reducing discomfort in your dog’s remaining life.

Dogs don’t have the same life span with us, they live shorter compared to humans. So let us love our best friend while they are still here waggling their tails for us.