Why is the dog shaking? It may not just be because of the cold

Szénási Szimonetta

2024. January 9 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

Now that the cool weather has arrived, it's a straightforward explanation that your pet might be shivering because it's cold. However, there could be several other reasons for it.


The autumn-winter months can bring discomfort to our beloved pets as well. The decrease in temperature affects them, and they can indeed feel very cold. This is especially true for smaller-sized, short-haired, older, and younger four-legged friends. One visible sign of this is when the dog is shaking. However, besides the lowered body temperature, there are other indicators, and trembling can be attributed to various reasons. Now, let’s go through these.

1.) If the dog is starting to cool down

Let’s continue with the topic at hand. Indeed, a smaller-sized dog kept indoors may have a harder time with early autumn and winter weather. Similarly, an older companion may need a sweater or a dog coat during this time. Generally, we do not advocate dressing up pets for purely aesthetic reasons, as it can be uncomfortable for them. However, in this case, the clothing serves an important function: it keeps the animal warm.

In addition to shivering, signs that your dog may be getting too cold include cold ears, slowed movements, curling up (while sleeping), limping (paws are very sensitive to the cold), whining, as well as drowsiness and lethargy. In winter temperatures or snow, it is crucial to pay extra attention to these signs due to the risk of frostbite.

2.) Pain, illness

Shivering can also indicate pain. If you notice that the temperature is fine, but the dog is still shaking, it’s worth checking to see if it has been injured. Similarly, it could be a sign of illness. You can try covering them up, but if it doesn’t improve soon or if other symptoms accompany it, consult with the veterinarian!

3.) Ear problems

Some ear problems are typically associated with trembling, specifically head shaking, so it’s worth discussing them separately. Therefore, if you observe that your pet is not trembling all over but is shaking its head, check its ears! Some larger-eared breeds, such as the Cocker Spaniel, Basset Hound, Labrador, and Golden Retriever, are more prone to these discomforts. Additionally, water entering the ear canal can also cause the problem, making it more common after bathing. Unusual odor, redness, inflammation, or discharge are further warning signs.

Ear problems may be more common in Spaniels.

4) His blood sugar has dropped

Low blood sugar can also cause trembling in dogs. It’s a very serious condition, so take the sign seriously and take your pet to the vet!

5.) Poisoning

Trembling is a common symptom of poisoning, accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, weakness, bleeding, seizures, and loss of consciousness. As many poisons can be lethal to dogs, always take these signs seriously, especially if there’s suspicion that the dog has ingested something. During the winter season, antifreeze is one of the most destructive toxic substances, as its sweet taste and odor make it particularly enticing for dogs.

A typical symptom of poisoning is tremors.

6) Stress and anxiety

Trembling is a typical sign of stress in dogs as well. If they become tense, feel threatened, or find themselves in an uncomfortable situation, it can manifest in shaking. If this is the case, it’s important to remove the dog from the discomforting situation. Some dogs may seek closeness to their owner in such moments, while others might prefer to withdraw, and both reactions are entirely normal.

7.) Fear

If your pet gets scared, it may start trembling. The list of things that can trigger fear in a dog is extensive. Events involving loud noises, bright lights, sudden movements, or unfamiliar people can be equally frightening. Again, the previous point holds true: sometimes providing a calming presence, while other times ensuring a peaceful environment, is the best course of action for the animal.

Dogs also often tremble in fear.

8.) Excitement

A dog can also shaking if it becomes very excited for some reason. For example, it may be eager to rush into the yard to explore, but you signal it to wait. It obeys the command but trembles with anticipation, eagerly waiting for the fun to begin.

9.) Ageing phenomenon

With advancing age, you may notice various symptoms in your pet that signal the passage of time. Trembling is one of these. As your dog ages, you need to take extra care, as its senses dull, and it becomes physically weaker and more fragile than before.

In this article, we describe the characteristics of a dog’s teenage years. It’s surprising how their teenage years unfold!

anxiety cold diabetes ear disease excited dog poisoning stress veterinarian

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