Many things can affect our dogs without us ever being the wiser. In fact, because they cannot express exactly what’s bothering them, we must watch their body language and behavior to achieve an “a-ha” moment. When something as obvious as shaking, shivering, or trembling occurs with some frequency, it’s natural to seek some answers. Ranging from mild to severe, shaking or trembling in dogs can be explained by a variety of reasons. 

Digging Deep

Your pup could simply be sensitive to the ambient temperature. If you try to control the chill by means of heat, clothing, or comfy bedding and they still shake and shiver, we recommend scheduling an appointment to address possible causes, including injury, disease, or poisoning.

Behavior and Environmental Triggers

Stress, fear, and anxiety can cause trembling in dogs. Loud noises, like fireworks or thunderstorms, large groups of people, and utterly unfamiliar surroundings can make a dog shake and shiver. 


As anxiety can escalate, it is imperative to address the causes. Separation anxiety, when pets and people are apart, can make a dog feel scared and insecure. Trembling caused by this fear can be addressed with behavior modification techniques, lifestyle changes, or prescription medication. 

Aches and Pains

Trembling in dogs can be related to muscle or ligament injury or osteoarthritis. Observe if only a certain part of the body (such as a single leg) shakes, or if symptoms are more generalized. 


Shaking can be a sign of pain, the level of which should be assessed by your dog’s veterinarian. Pain management is an important part of senior pet care. From supportive therapies to medication, we can help soothe their pain.

Tremor Syndrome

Generalized tremor syndrome, an autoimmune condition, causes shaking or trembling in dogs. Seen primarily when a dog is stressed, this type of shaking resolves when resting or relaxed. Steroids offer relief from near-constant trembling.

Widening the Scope

Trembling in dogs can stem from the following medical conditions:


  • Neurological injury or disease
  • Seizure disorder
  • Exposure to poisonous substance(s)
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Addison’s disease
  • Distemper


Sudden, uncharacteristic trembling in dogs should be seen promptly to rule out a health emergency. If shaking is accompanied by any other signs like coughing, fever, vomiting, and eye/nose discharge, it’s time to schedule an appointment. 

Trembling in Dogs

Treatment of shaking or trembling in dogs depends on an examination of symptoms, and possibly advanced diagnostics to understand the possible cause. Related to several types of issues affecting the central nervous system, tremors or shaking must be evaluated along with a complete history of symptoms and behaviors. 


Your team at Sunrise Boulevard Animal Hospital is always here to help. Please call us at (916) 726-2334 with any questions or concerns about your dog’s health and behavior.