10 Most Common Reasons Why Dogs Shake

Categorized as Dogs
Why Dogs Shake
Why Dogs Shake

In this article, we’ll discuss the most common reasons why dogs shake their heads, paws, or their body.

Dogs shake their heads for a variety of reasons. Some dogs shake their heads to communicate excitement or to show anger.

Other dogs shake their heads to cool themselves off. Some dogs shake their heads to ward off flies.

And still, other dogs shake their heads to show that they don’t understand what you’re saying.

The following are some common reasons why dogs shake:


Dogs shake when they are cold because their body is trying to generate heat.

When the temperature drops below a certain point, the dog’s muscles start to contract involuntarily.

This causes the body to produce more heat by shaking, dogs shake when they are cold.

Dogs shake to generate heat, dogs also shake to get rid of excess water.

Dogs shake to get rid of dead skin and fleas, ticks, lice, and other parasites living on them (dogs have a lot of furs).


Nervousness is not always a bad thing. In fact, it’s often the reason dogs shake their tails!

Nervousness can be caused by a new environment, a loud noise or person in the house, and even the weather outside.

For example, if your dog has never been in your new house before, and you’re moving in with him or her (or both).

Then this could cause some nervousness on their part—especially if they’ve lived with someone else up until now.

Dogs also tend to become nervous when there’s an unfamiliar person around because of what we humans do together: petting each other and talking about our days!

If your dog is used to having his own routine of sleeping time and eating times during each day.

Then suddenly losing it might make him feel anxious about where he fits into his life now that these things have changed around him too much at one time.


Stress can cause dogs to shake. This can be caused by a lot of things, including:

  • The addition of a new dog in the house.
  • A new baby in the house.
  • Moving to a new home or apartment complex where there aren’t as many familiar faces around yet and you don’t know how everyone else will react when they see your pet for the first time! These are all stressful situations for both humans and pets alike!
  • Constantly changing your dog daily routine.
  • Constantly leaving your dog alone at home.


You may have noticed that your dog shakes after a bath or when they are wet.

This is because dogs shake to dry themselves, and it’s an instinctive action.

If you’ve ever owned a dog that didn’t like taking baths, then you know how hard it is for them to get rid of the water from their fur!

Dogs also shake after being in the rain or ocean—they want to dry off as soon as possible.


Dogs shake when they are excited. The shaking is a sign of happiness, and your dog will likely continue to shake for several minutes after the excitement has passed.

It’s important that you understand this behavior before trying to stop it with treats or other training methods.

Old Age

If your dog is shaking, it may be due to old age. This can be a normal part of aging for dogs and does not necessarily indicate anything serious.

However, if the shaking persists for more than a few days, you should take him to the vet for a checkup and make sure that he doesn’t have any pain in his joints or bones.

Arthritis or Injury

Arthritis is a condition that causes pain and stiffness in your dog’s joints. It can develop as the result of aging, genetics, or injury.

If you notice your dog becoming increasingly uncomfortable when he walks, runs, or jumps around, make sure to schedule regular checkups with your vet.

If there is any sign of arthritis at all it will be treated with anti-inflammatory medications when you talk to your veterinarian.


Pain is a common symptom that can be caused by many diseases.

The most common causes of pain in dogs are arthritis and cancer, but it can also be the result of injury or other conditions.

For example, if your dog has been spayed or neutered and then develops an infection, he’ll likely experience some type of pain throughout the healing process.

Seizures or Tremors

Seizures or tremors can be caused by epilepsy, brain tumors, or other neurological disorders.

In some cases, it may be a sign of hypothyroidism (low thyroid function), Cushing’s disease (a condition that causes the adrenal glands to produce more cortisol than normal), or other medical conditions.

Always consult your veterinarian if you think your dog has a seizure or tremor.

Dog Shakes for Attention

It is not unusual for a dog to shake its head and tail in response to something that catches its attention.

A dog’s behavior can vary from one situation to another, but it is typically an attempt by the animal to communicate with humans.

This can include saying hello or goodbye, asking for attention, or even asking if someone wants a treat.

It’s important not to confuse this shaking behavior with illness or pain; it’s just a way of communicating with owners!

Read more: 10 Common Reasons Why Dogs Whine.

ways to handle a dog shaking

The following are some common ways to handle a dog that is shaking:

  1. Handle the dog most of the time – if the dog is calm, and you are calm, the dog will be calm.
  2. Ignore the dog if it is shaking for affection – this will make the dog stop shaking.
  3. Give the dog a comforting pat – this will make the dog feel safe and calm.
  4. Speak to the dog in a calm voice – this will help the dog understand that it is not in danger.
  5. Try to distract the dog with a toy – this will help keep the dog occupied and calm.

Dogs do many things for different reasons, shaking being one of them

Dogs are expressive creatures, and they can be very vocal about their feelings.

When you see your dog shaking its head or moving around nervously, this may be a sign that something’s wrong with the animal.

Dogs shake for many reasons, including fear or excitement.

It could also indicate pain or an injury or arthritis in the joints of their neck and shoulders (the muscles involved in this action).

Read more: 22 Important Dog Care Tips You Should Know.

Dog shaking and vomiting

If your dog is shaking and vomiting, there may be a medical issue. The most common cause of this is a food allergy, though there are other causes as well.

If your dog is shaking and vomiting, take him to the vet as soon as possible.

The vet may do a blood test to determine the cause of the shaking and vomiting and prescribe a treatment.

Dog shaking and panting

There are many causes for a dog shaking and panting. Some common causes are as follows:

  1. Fear or anxiety: When a dog feels anxious or afraid, it may react by shaking and panting to try and calm down.
  2. Excitement or stress: When a dog is excited or stressed, it may react by shaking and panting.
  3. Heat or exercise: When a dog is overheated or exercising strenuously, it may react by shaking and panting.
  4. Overdose of drugs or alcohol: If a dog has overdosed on drugs or alcohol, it may shake and pant due to the effects.

What does a dog shaking its back legs mean?

There are many possible meanings for a dog shaking its back legs, but the most common is that the dog is happy.

Other possible meanings include that the dog is excited, that it wants to play, or that it is trying to tell you something.

Conclusion on why dogs shake

We hope this guide has helped you understand the reasons why dogs shake.

If your dog is exhibiting any of these behaviors, please visit your veterinarian to rule out any serious health issues that could be causing it.

The most important thing is to keep an eye on how your pet is reacting to things so that you can react accordingly when necessary and keep them safe from harm!

By Aiguo Kai

Aiguo Kai is one of the authors and editors of Pet Creeks, he is focused on teaching and providing useful information about pets. Especially dogs, he enjoys writing and sharing his 10 experiences with dogs so far.