Why do dogs shiver

Why do dogs shiver

On many occasions we see how our pet may shiver in certain areas of the body and we worry, of course. But why do dogs shiver? Will anything happen to them? What can I do to avoid this?

To clarify doubts about this, we will talk about the main reasons that can cause tremors in dogs and how to treat them if necessary. If you want to know why dogs shiver, keep reading.

Why do dogs shiver
Why do dogs shiver

Why do dogs shiver?

There are many different reasons why dogs shake. Although we can’t comment on all the possibilities that exist, we’re going to talk a little about the most common. However, if we see strange behavior on the part of our pet, or it has started trembling as a result of a blow or accident or started crying with shivering, it is best to go to the vet .

The first thing we should be aware of is that there are a large number of different diseases that dogs can suffer from which include shivering. Among them, for example, there is distemper. This viral disease also causes vomiting, tics, and other symptoms. Degenerative diseases also commonly cause tremors in dogs. However, apart from diseases there are other pathologies that can cause our pet to shiver.


Dogs are usually able to protect themselves from outside temperatures through their fur. However, not everyone is able to handle the coldest temperatures in the same way. When a dog is exposed to cold for a long period of time, it can end up shivering all over the body, just like people. Why is this happening? The answer is very simple: body temperature drops and these tremors are made involuntarily by the animal in order to keep the muscles warm.

We can help dogs in these cases by keeping them warm on the coldest days and, in very extreme cases, providing them with some warm and sugar water or serum.

hyperthermia and fever

Another reason that explains why dogs shiver is hyperthermia. Dogs have a fever when their body temperature exceeds 39 °C. Habitual, hyperthermia or fever is usually a symptom of an infectious process that has occurred in the animal and is more than enough reason to go to the vet.


Also hypoglycemia can answer the question of why dogs shake. It is a drop in the level of sugar found in the blood. Unfortunately, this is a pathology that often occurs in dogs, especially in young children and diabetics.

To help our pet in these cases, we can give him some sugar water and keep him warm. Once you stop moving, we can give you some more food.

REM phase

Have you ever heard of REM sleep? It is the one in which one begins to dream and is especially characterized by its higher brain activity. Dogs also go through this phase. And this may be one of the reasons that would explain why dogs shiver.

Usually, when they are sleeping we can see how their legs and eyelids start to tremble and on some occasions they may even bark. These are clear signs that the animal is in REM sleep. It is highly likely that at that moment our pet is dreaming of something that excites him very much. So we should not worry, as it is not a symptom of any disease or problem.

When we see that our dog enters the REM phase of sleep, it is best not to wake him up. In such a situation the animal may wake up frightened or disoriented. As a result, it is possible that the dog reacts aggressively.

stress, trauma and fear

Dogs, like humans, can suffer from stress. Typically, these episodes occur when animals find themselves in a situation that they do not know how to manage. In the same way, dogs may have their own traumas and fears. Any of these three reasons can cause tremors in the animal, because its excitement is very high. Some examples of these cases could be the following:

  • Exposure to unfamiliar and loud noises that cause fear.
  • Excitement can occur while playing.
  • Vigorous fights by the owner, which are usually associated with fear.
  • When we reached home after leaving him alone for a long time, we were very happy.
  • Abused Dogs: Even if we are not going to hurt them or make sudden movements, dogs that have suffered abuse may tremble at the mere presence of us, because They have traumas related to people and fear.

too much exercise

Another reason that can explain why dogs shiver is excessive physical exercise or movement. However, in most cases there is no need to worry, as these tremors are not due to any disease or disorder. But if the dog is tired long before it usually does, it doesn’t hurt to go to the vet to have it looked at.

tremors in elderly dogs

In addition to the reasons we mentioned above, there are other fairly common reasons why dogs shiver, especially those of advanced age. We are talking about dogs with osteoarthritis, arthritis or joint problems in general. Although they may be common in some breeds of dog, they occur more frequently in the elderly.

This type of pathology causes pain in the affected animal which can be more or less intense and is usually accompanied by tremors. When it comes to bone or muscle problems, the pain may be such that it prevents the dog from walking well or moving the legs. In these cases it is essential that a veterinarian treats. Usually, the administration of an analgesic helps the dog cope with the pain and avoid shivering.

I hope this article has helped you figure out why dogs shiver. Nevertheless, when in doubt the best option we always have is to go to the vet.