Dog Shaking

Dog Shaking

There are lots of different things that can cause a dog to shiver, shake, or tremble. It could be from something harmless, like the excitement that you’re home, or from something more sinister, like eating toxic foods.

What are the most common reasons for a dog to shake or shiver? When should you talk to your vet? Is treatment needed?

When To See A Vet

Dogs shake for all kinds of different reasons, including excitement, pain, old age, and nausea.

Shaking and trembling can be a symptom of something more serious, like poisoning, kidney disease, or injury. If your dog starts to suddenly shake or shiver, you must also take note of any other symptoms the dog has, such as diarrhoea, vomiting, or limping. If you notice these symptoms, talk to your vet as soon as possible.

Common Causes Of Dog Shaking and Treatment

Some of the most common causes of a dog shaking, trembling, shivering, or having tremors, include:


Canine distemper is caused by a virus, and most often occurs in puppies and adolescent dogs that haven’t been fully vaccinated. Distemper is a common cause of tremors in dogs. Other symptoms of distemper include discharge from the eyes and nose, fever, and coughing.

Treatment for distemper usually involves supportive care while your dog’s immune system fights off the virus. Other treatments may include antibiotics, airway dilators, physical therapy, and fluids to manage dehydration.

Generalized Tremor Syndrome (GTS)

GTS is also known as steroid responsive tremor syndrome or white shaker dog syndrome. The condition was first noticed in small, white dogs, like the Maltese and West Highland terriers, although it can occur in dogs of any size, colour, or breed. There is no known cause of GTS.

Symptoms of GTS usually start between the ages of 9 months and 2 years. Treatment usually includes corticosteroids like prednisone. Results are usually seen within a week of starting treatment.


Like people, dogs can experience nausea caused by motion sickness, medication, eating too much or eating the wrong thing. They can also get nausea from kidney or liver disease, and other diseases. Shaking can be a sign that your dog is experiencing nausea. Other signs include listlessness, lip-smacking, swallowing or salivating more than normal, hiding, yawning, and vomiting.

The best treatment for nausea depends on what is causing it. If your dog is suddenly vomiting or appears nauseous, they may have been poisoned. Call your vet immediately.

Old Age and Pain

As your dog gets older, they might develop tremors in their hind legs. In some cases, the tremors can happen in the front legs too. These tremors don’t usually affect how your dog moves or walks.

It can be easy to dismiss leg tremors as just your dog getting older. Trembling can also be a sign that your dog is in pain. Check with your vet if your older dog has developed shaking legs.

If you have questions about your dog’s shaking or trembling, you should contact your vet, to be sure of the cause.

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