chihuahua dog looking out of the car window, very exccited

Why Is My Dog Shaking And Acting Weird?

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It’s indeed a weird sight, seeing a dog shake, also known as trembling or shivering, especially in the summer months. Humans understand shaking as a sign of being cold, but it’s slightly different for a dog. There are six possibilities why a dog will shake

This article will go through the most common reason why your dog is shaking and also the rare reasons. From these, you will be able to work out exactly why your dog shakes. 

Dogs mainly shake to expel excess energy built up throughout the day and is commonly witnessed late in the day. Other possibilities to consider include if your dog is overexcited, anxious, feeling scared, cold, illness or even old age.

Please don’t worry, though, as it’s very typical among all breeds of dogs, and it’s not weird at all.

Below are the six possible reasons why your dog will shake. Here we will run through each one for you to work out which one applies to your dog.

1. Hyped-up energy

  • Reasons: when dogs don’t get the required exercise that they need, the built-up energy bursts out, forcing your dog to shake.
  • Resolution: take your dog for a walk. However, if it is too late in the day, then have 5-minute playtime in the house.

2. Overexcited

  • Reasons: Strong, happy emotions will cause a dog to shake. It’s because of the big surge of adrenaline in the body. 
  • Resolution: wait it out, or calm your dog by calming yourself and keeping their surroundings calm.


  • Your dog has been looking out of the window seeing exciting things like other dogs and humans go past.
  • You have just got in from work, and your dog is excited to see you.

3. Anxiety and feeling scared

  • Reasons: some dogs suffer from anxiety, just like us humans and this will cause a dog to tremble.
  • Resolution: playtime, smooths and general reassurance.

Recommended Read: Dog Separation Anxiety + How you can stop it

4. Cold

  • Reasons: when a dog gets cold, its muscles will develop involuntary tightening and relaxing in rapid succession. It’s a dog’s natural response to try to warm up. 
  • Resolution: blanket, cuddle them, get them to somewhere warm, dry them off if wet.


  • Your dog has just had a bath and is not completely dry yet.
  • Your house is cold
  • Your outside in the cold
  • You have a toy breed, and they naturally feel the cold more.

5. Illness

  • Reasons: dogs will shake if they are ill. However, not all dogs are sick just because they shake. It usually comes with other symptoms. Illnesses can include Hypoglycemia, Wobbler syndrome, Myokymia or Addison’s disease, poisoning, injury, or allergies.
  • Resolution: call your veterinarian immediately.

6. Old age

  • Reasons: your dog will shiver if they are old. The older they get, the more difficult it is to regulate their body temperature. A small sized dog is classed as an older dog at the average age of twelve years, and a big dog, like a Labrador, it’s around nine years of age.
  • Resolution: provide your dog with a blanket. Old dogs still need a bit of exercise. So make sure they have had their daily walk.

When to See a Vet

Unfortunately, it will be something more severe on rare occasions, so if your dog is displaying any of the below, this is when you need to see a vet.

  • If the shaking is continuous
  • Diarrhoea
  • Unsteady feet
  • Vomiting
  • Uncontrollable bladder

If in doubt, it doesn’t do any harm to contact your vet, even for a bit of reassurance.


Overall a dog has a higher metabolism than us humans, especially the smaller dogs like a Chihuahua. Built-up energy also is a common occurrence with working high energy small breeds like a Jack Russell. If you think your dog is shaking due to an illness, there are usually other factors, such as diarrhoea or vomiting alongside the shivering. 

Good Luck! I hope the above has given you the correct reason why your dog is shaking.

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