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Why do dogs shake?

Updated on February 18, 2012

A dog that walks on its hind feet and shake its head would be a very amusing sight. The owner will be admired for the feat of training the dog to do the trick. A dog that has been running under a downpour will be seen shaking its body to shake off water. The same body shaking can have a variety of reasons.

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Scared, nervous or excited

A dog in a stressful situation would whine and pant excessively. The body will be lowered and the tail would be between the hind legs. The scared dog will also be seen shaking. Some breeds of dogs are noted to have high levels of nervous energy. The Chihuahua for instance are one of the tightly wound up breeds. These dogs are often seen trembling. An excited dog will shake as well.  This kind of shaking though should not be made a major concern as it commonly last for short periods.


Our pets have their very own pelt jackets but they are still affected by cold temperatures. Cold puts the muscles in motion thereby making the body shake uncontrollably. Shaking is the body’s method of warming itself. Some breeds are naturally equipped with thick, long fur that will enable them to weather extremely cold temperatures. These dogs even have the capability to stay outdoors and to sleep in the snow. Short haired dogs though would be affected by cold weather. Dogs, like humans would benefit from jackets too.

Medical condition

The shaking can be due to a number of medical conditions that can be chronic or viral. A pet with canine epilepsy would seize and shake violently. This is one of the chronic medical conditions that would cause the shaking of the pet. Parvo virus, kennel cough are viral medical conditions that will make the dog shake excessively. Head shaking can be due to a head injury or a brain tumor. Shaking is common in an injured dog. The pain as well as the stress will set off a bout of uncontrollable shaking. A dog that has ingested a poisonous substance will go into shock. Severe shaking is a manifestation that the dog is about to expire. The shaking seen in older pets is a sign of weakened muscles and joints that is most common in dogs with arthritis.

Helping the pet

The prolonged shivering especially when it is not cold or shivering for no apparent reason is a case for the vet. The vet may give the dog muscle relaxants to stop the shaking. A number of tests will be necessary to know what illness causes the dog to shake before proper treatment can be given.

Dog Shake Short


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    • Paulart profile image

      Paulart 5 years ago from 2510 Warren Avenue Cheyenne,Wyoming 82001

      Wow great hub information.