Why Do Little Dogs Shiver

Even when it’s not chilly outside, a lot of dogs shiver or shake. Chihuahuas and other small dogs are particularly prone to this. Shivering is a common occurrence for some dogs, but it can also be a red flag that something is wrong. Your dog may be shaking for a variety of causes, ranging from harmless to alarming. Your veterinarian can advise you on whether or not to seek treatment, but be aware that some causes of canine shivering might be tricky to identify. Discover the causes of a dog’s shaking so you can decide whether it’s an issue or not.


Your dog may tremble or experience seizures if they consume a variety of chemicals. If your dog begins to tremble after ingesting something, take them to the vet right away and phone Animal Poison Control (888-426-4435) right away. If you believe that your dog’s trembling was brought on by eating something new, don’t “wait and see” because toxins can trigger a medical emergency very rapidly.

Your dog may tremble or exhibit seizure behavior if they consume a variety of substances. If your dog begins shaking after consuming something, take them to the veterinarian right away and phone Animal Poison Control (888-426-4435) as soon as possible. If you believe that your dog’s trembling was brought on by eating anything unfamiliar, do not “wait and see.” Toxins can swiftly cause a medical catastrophe.

Do tiny dogs shudder in the cold?

Let’s first define the difference between shivering (or trembling) and a seizure.

When a dog suddenly loses all control of their body, paddling, jerking, or convulsing, that is when they are having a seizure. It might last for several minutes. Visit Dr. Fiona’s blog entry on dog seizures for additional information.

When a dog is shivering, though, it may still look you in the eye and respond to you. The amount of shuddering might range from none to quite a little, but the dog is still in control of its body.

1) Being chilly is the primary cause of a dog shivering. A typical dog’s body temperature can reach 102.5 F. Since a dog’s body is warmer than a person’s, you can’t tell whether they’re chilly or not by simply touching them. So use caution while letting pets out in the cold, especially small dogs.

2) When anxious or afraid, dogs shudder. Dogs may get anxious or fearful in response to thunderstorms, fireworks, travel, or any other environmental disturbance. When under stress, your dog may benefit from taking an anti-anxiety drug if they shiver violently and exhibit other signs of anxiety. Your veterinarian can assist you in weighing your treatment options.

3) Dogs shiver in anticipation. For instance, kids could really want to go chase a squirrel outside. Or, before being fed, they watch the food being placed in the bowl and begin to tremble with excitement.

4. Dogs shiver because it’s a conditioned response. When a dog shivers, it causes this and produces the intended reaction. For instance, mum always remarks, “poor Fluffy,” when Fluffy shivers. Then, Fluffy is taken up, covered in a blanket, and showered with love. Fluffy quickly discovers that all it takes to attract attention is for her to shudder.

Why is my Chihuahua shaking so badly?

Your Chihuahua may be shaking for a variety of causes, such as low blood sugar, being chilly, having a high metabolism, being unhappy, enthusiastic, apprehensive, or nervous. Generalized tremor syndrome (GTS), an allergy, or an injury are some additional potential reasons of trembling.

In order to determine if your Chihuahua shakes, shivers, or trembles normally or not, it is critical that you pinpoint the precise cause of the shaking.

Anxiety and Fear

When a dog feels fear or worry, they frequently tremble. 1 There are a few common triggers, like fireworks or thunder, but each dog has their own unique set of them.

If you see that your dog is tense, try your best to reassure them. Use a soothing, calm voice when speaking to them. Try to make a place where they feel comfortable and secure for them. As soon as you can, take your animal companion out of the stressful setting. If not, try your best to reassure them till their anxiety fades.

Remember that some dogs may become aggressive if they feel threatened or uneasy. During these episodes, your normally lovable dog might not be open to being petted. Keep your distance if possible.

Speak to your veterinarian if your dog’s anxiousness is a persistent problem. They may be able to prescribe a drug to help with symptoms during particular stressful situations.

Is my Dog Trembling because of Excitement?

There will be a lot of shaking dogs. This is frequently unimportant, and the puppy’s excitement will typically pass within a few minutes. Dogs that are young or have a lot of energy may take longer to quiet down.

By speaking to your dog in a soothing tone, you can aid in their relaxation. To avoid adding to their enthusiasm, you might also try to move slowly and deliberately.

Is my Dog Cold?

Despite having fluffy coats, dogs can still become cold. It’s possible that your dog is simply shivering if you see them shaking on a cool day.

Try to provide a warm space for your dog to rest and sleep. Put a piece of cardboard under their bed if it is on tile or concrete for more insulation. Ensure that the bed is placed away from windows and any cool drafts.

Your dog could need a sweater or jacket to remain warm during cold spells if they don’t have a thick undercoat.

Older Dogs Tremble

As dogs mature, tremors are common. This is frequently caused by their muscles deteriorating with age. The deterioration of their nervous system can potentially be the cause.

Be sure to take your senior dog in for a checkup with your veterinarian if they suddenly start to notice tremors. There is always a chance that the tremor is a sign of a deeper, more serious problem.

Is my Dog in Pain?

Your dog’s trembling can be a sign of suffering. Tremors brought on by pain frequently come with additional symptoms as well.

Keep an eye out for your dog’s general stance and behavior. Your dog may be limping. Do they appear rigid? Are they agitated?

Dogs in discomfort frequently move about constantly in search of a posture that makes them feel better. They frequently pace and may scream, weep, or even excessively drool. 2

Contact your veterinarian right away if any of these symptoms are present in combination in your dog.

Dog Poisoning

Tremors could be a sign that your dog has consumed something toxic or is experiencing an allergic reaction.

In addition to trembling, a poisoned dog typically displays a variety of symptoms. Depending on the kind of poison the dog has been exposed to, the signs of poisoning can vary, but they may include:

What does a dog’s trembling appearance resemble?

Dogs with Shaker syndrome experience widespread head and body tremors. Steroid responsive tremors or widespread tremor syndrome are other names for this illness.

Because the illness is most frequently observed in small-breed white dogs like the Maltese, West Highland White Terrier, and Poodle, you may hear this referred to as “Little White Shaker Syndrome.” Any color or size dog is vulnerable to this illness, though canines under 30 pounds are most frequently affected.

What are the clinical signs of shaker syndrome?

Tremors usually appear in affected dogs between the ages of one and two years, in the early stages of adulthood. Tremors are irregular, rhythmic, and uncontrollable muscular movements that resemble shaking. The entire body may experience tremors or just a certain part of it (like the head). The intensity of these tremors might range from very mild to incapacitating (preventing eating, walking, etc.).

With excitement and exercise, the tremors become worse in many dogs with shaker syndrome. When the dog is resting or sleeping, tremors may become less noticeable or disappear entirely.

Other than the tremors, the majority of dogs are healthy. It is extremely rare for dogs to have other neurologic abnormalities during trembling episodes, such as vision problems or nystagmus (a rhythmic back-and-forth eye movement).

What causes shaker syndrome?

The cause of shaker syndrome is currently unknown. Numerous hypotheses have been considered and put to the test, but none of them have been proven true.

Given how it responds to steroids, the illness is believed to have an autoimmune origin.

How is shaker syndrome diagnosed?

An “exclusionary diagnosis” is Shaker syndrome. This implies that before diagnosing shaker syndrome, your veterinarian will rule out, or exclude, all other medical causes for the tremors.

Your veterinarian will initially conduct blood tests and urinalysis on a dog who has recently started experiencing muscular tremors in order to rule out any underlying medical disorders (such as liver illness, renal disease, etc.) that could result in neurologic symptoms. Additionally, infectious disorders such canine distemper or other viruses or bacteria may be tested for by your veterinarian.

Your dog’s illness and the severity of his symptoms may warrant referral to a neurologist for further testing, which your veterinarian may advise. Cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid around the brain and spinal cord) may be removed for testing during a CSF tap, which is performed by a veterinarian under anesthesia, and during an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging, which allows visualization of the brain tissues). Not all dogs with suspected shaker syndrome need to undergo this thorough examination, but your vet will collaborate with you to choose the best course of action for your pet.

Your veterinarian will start presumptive treatment for shaker syndrome if all diagnostic tests are negative. Treatment for shaker syndrome in dogs usually results in improvement within one to two weeks, supporting the diagnosis.

How will my veterinarian treat shaker syndrome?

Prednisone is used to treat shaker syndrome. Steroids like prednisone operate by reducing the dog’s immunological response.

Usually, one to two weeks after starting prednisone therapy, the tremors go away. Your vet will start gradually tapering your dog’s prednisone dosage after the tremors stop. Maintaining your dog’s prednisone dosage at the lowest level possible will maximize therapeutic effectiveness while avoiding negative effects.

Prednisone frequently causes increased thirst, urine, and hunger as adverse effects. Prednisone may affect the skin, endocrine system (hormones), and immune system when used for an extended period of time. It’s crucial to follow up with your veterinarian on a regular basis to check for any adverse effects so that, if any exist, they may be swiftly addressed. For more details, refer to the brochure “Steroid Treatment Effects in Dogs.”

Other immunosuppressive medications may be taken into consideration if a dog’s condition cannot be satisfactorily controlled by prednisone alone or if side effects become severe. Mycophenolate, leflunomide, Cytosar, and other medicines are among them. But these drugs are rarely utilized as the initial treatment for shaker syndrome due to their high cost.

What is the prognosis for shaker syndrome?

Shaker syndrome has a great prognosis. Within one to two weeks of starting prednisone therapy, the majority of dogs’ tremors completely disappear, and they can be managed by taking modest doses of prednisone over an extended period of time.

How can you stop a dog from shivering?

The process of warming up hypothermic dogs should be done gradually. Consider “warm,” not “hot.”

Use caution while using a heating pad because it can cause burns by emitting too much heat and increasing blood flow to the area, which can exacerbate shock.

How to Slowly Warm a Hypothermic Dog

What to do if your dog is hypothermic is as follows:

Put blankets, towels, coats, etc. around them. Warm up some blankets if you can by using a hairdryer, dryer, or radiator.

Warm water bottles can be placed close to your dog, but always maintain some cloth in between the bottle and the skin of your dog.

Veterinary Treatment for Hypothermia in Dogs

When your dog arrives at the clinic, the doctor can use more forceful warming treatments.

Warm intravenous fluids can be administered to hypothermic dogs. A dog’s tummy, stomach, and colon may be infused with warmed fluids, and they may be given warmed and humidified oxygen to breathe. 2

Your dog’s body temperature, heart rate and rhythm, oxygenation, blood glucose levels, and many other factors will be continuously monitored by the veterinary staff so that issues may be dealt with as they develop.

Dogs who experience hypothermia due to disease or trauma will require additional care focused on any underlying health issues.