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Why do dogs shake

Why do dogs shake and what does it tell us?

We tend to overanalyse our pet dogs but sometimes we look past certain things that seem harmless like shaking so why do dogs shake? You probably have seen it happen at least once, and maybe just thought it was regular behaviour.

It sometimes very much is a regular behaviour, either your dog just woke up or is shaking off. To better understand shaking you need context because situations are not always the same. 

Dogs shake because it’s cold

One very simple cause for why do dogs shake is because it’s too cold. Although different in physiognomy than humans, dogs will shake to get some blood pumping and warm up a little bit. It’s a reflex response to cold weather, and it will also depend on a dog’s breed. 

How to solve it? If you have a small dog with less fur then you will need to invest in some doggy sweaters and limit exposure. 

Why do dogs shake? – Enthusiasm, stress or fear 

Anxiety is not something you want your dog to suffer from and sometimes you’ll see it manifest with shaking. Intense emotions are what would make your dogs shake sometimes. 

Chihuahuas are notoriously memed about this aspect and although not all dogs in this breed constantly shake, it’s still good to investigate. Any dog that shakes on a regular basis might have something going on emotionally. There are steps you can take to calm a dog down, the most important one being tiring them out.

Separation anxiety is very common in a lot of dogs and it also can manifest through excessive shaking. This can be especially evident when they see you getting ready to leave. 

When thunderstorms and fireworks go off outside your dog can start shaking out of fear. You need to reassure your dogs and it might not be enough to give them cuddles, so sometimes you’ll just have to wait it out with cuddles. 

Shaking for attention

In some cases, a dog will start shaking because it got used to you coming over to comfort them. Either for comfort or to beg for food shaking has possibly developed into a constant shaking fit.  

Shaking for attention is not a harmful behaviour but it’s a good idea to discourage it. Mostly because you at least will know when shaking has an actual implication on their physical well-being. 

Why do dogs shake when wet?

Ok, of course when your dog is wet they will shake to dry off. You might be worried when they get a little wet a still shake with vigour. Our dogs can be quite dramatic sometimes, and even a little bit of water can make them shake with force. 

Issues with the ears

This is one cause for why do dogs shake that is a little more worrisome. Dogs can develop ear infections and shaking is a sign of discomfort in this case. Like they are trying to shake off the pain or make it more manageable.

It might be a good idea to check their ears for any signs of injury. It could be something less dangerous, a scratch or a small injury, but it’s nonetheless important to make sure it’s ok. 


Much like a lot of other dog mannerisms shaking is among the ones that indicate certain aspects of their well-being and personality. It’s not a huge cause for concern but it is better to be safe. 

Establish what the cause for why do dogs shake could be, or your dog in particular, and maybe bring it up with your vet. It could be something simple, or a root cause for something more worrisome. 

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