Why Is My Dog Trembling? And When to Worry | PetFirst
Pet Care & Health

Why Is My Dog Trembling? And When to Worry

by PetFirst Pet Insurance
1 year ago

Trembling might seem like a fairly benign symptom, but it can also be a sign of many serious medical issues in dogs. 

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most common causes of trembling in dogs and how to determine when they warrant medical intervention. 

Common Causes of Trembling in Dogs


Anxiety and Fear

It is common for dogs to tremble when they experience fear or anxiety. Every dog has different triggers but one common one includes loud noises, such as fireworks or thunder. 

If you notice your dog is anxious, do your best to comfort him. Talk to him in a calm, reassuring tone. Try to create a safe space for him where he feels protected. If you can remove him from the situation that is causing his anxiety, do so immediately. Otherwise, do your best to comfort him until his fear subsides.

Keep in mind, some dogs may become aggressive when they are fearful or anxious. Your otherwise cuddly dog may not be receptive to petting during these episodes. It may be wise to keep your distance.

If anxiety is an ongoing issue for your dog, speak to your vet. There may be a medication you can offer him to help relieve his symptoms during certain stressful situations.


Many dogs will tremble out of excitement. This is not a cause for concern, and usually, the pup’s excitement will subside after a few minutes. Young or very high-energy dogs may take longer to calm down.

You can help calm your dog by speaking to him in a calm voice. Keep your movements slow and deliberate as well, so you don’t add to his excitement. 

He is cold

They may have furry coats, but dogs can still get cold. If you notice your dog trembling on a cool day it’s possible that he is just shivering. 

Try to make sure your pup has a warm place to rest and sleep. If his bed is on a tile or concrete floor, place a piece of cardboard underneath it for extra insulation. Make sure the bed is situated out of any cool drafts, and away from windows.

If your pup doesn’t have a thick undercoat he may need a sweater or jacket to keep him warm during cold snaps. 

Old Age

Many dogs develop tremors as they age. This is often due to their muscles weakening as they get older. It could also be a result of their nervous system deteriorating. 

If your older dog suddenly develops a tremor, be sure to take him in for a check-up with your vet. There is always a possibility that the tremor is indicative of a more serious underlying issue.  


Trembling can be an indication that your dog is in pain. Usually, pain-related tremors are accompanied by other symptoms as well. 

Take note of your dog’s overall posture and behavior. Is he limping? Does he look stiff? Is he restless?

Often dogs that are in pain will shift position constantly, trying to find one that alleviates their pain. They often pace and may whine, cry, or even drool excessively.

If your dog is exhibiting any combination of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.


Tremors may be an indication that your pup has ingested something poisonous or that he is having an allergic reaction. 

A poisoned dog will usually exhibit a range of symptoms in addition to trembling. The symptoms will vary depending on the type of poison he has been exposed to, but may include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Agitation
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty breathing

Of course, there are often many additional medical symptoms that you may not notice. If there’s a chance your dog has been poisoned, contact your veterinarian immediately as time is of the essence.

A Chronic medical condition

Sometimes trembling in dogs is a side effect of a medical condition. Kidney disease, distemper, and a myriad of other medical conditions can cause trembling. 

If you notice any changes in your dog’s normal behavior or physical state, take note of them. If there’s an underlying medical condition, tremors are probably just one of many symptoms. 

Consider your dog’s energy levels, appetite, stool consistency, and anything else about him that might be a little bit off. This information will help your veterinarian make an accurate diagnosis. 

Generalized Tremor Syndrome

Generalized Tremor Syndrome is a syndrome that can affect any dog. It most often affects small dogs under 30 pounds. It is sometimes referred to as “Little White Shaker Syndrome” because many cases occur in small, white dogs such as the Maltese or Poodles.

This hereditary disorder affects a dog’s nervous system and usually presents around 6 months of age. Once diagnosed, this syndrome can be managed with medication. 

When to be concerned about trembling

Because trembling can be a symptom of so many different afflictions, ranging in severity, it’s important to take note of all of your dog’s symptoms and address them as a whole.

Generally speaking, if your dog doesn’t typically tremble, contact your veterinarian to ensure he isn’t experiencing a serious medical issue. 

It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the wellbeing of your furry friend.

Here at PetFirst, we know accidents and illnesses happen to all pets.  PetFirst is here for every canine and cat as pet insurance can help cover unexpected vet visits.

Pet insurance provides peace of mind that if your pet gets sick or injured, you don’t have to worry about the financial aspect of your pet’s care. Make sure your pet is covered with PetFirst Pet Insurance.  We offer coverage for both dogs and cats and offer Routine Care Coverage to fit every budget.

Ready? Start your free quote


You May Also Like...

April is Active Dog Month

April is Active Dog Month

The month of April is Active Dog Month. This month-long…

by PetFirst
1 day ago
Breed Spotlight- Catahoula Leopard Dog

Breed Spotlight: Catahoula Leopard Dog

Happy National Catahoula Day! Celebrated on April 8th, this national…

by PetFirst
1 week ago
How to Have A Pet-Friendly Easter

How to Have A Pet-Friendly Easter

Easter, often celebrated with food, flowers, and egg hunts, is…

by PetFirst
2 weeks ago

Start your free quote.

Get My Free Quote Get Quote