Dogs can be as complex as they are straightforward and delicate as they are playful. Because they can't speak to us, sometimes their behaviour is a complete mystery. They'll suddenly decide to go under the coffee table for an hour or want to sleep in your bed for the night, and the reasoning can be quite unclear – it could be fear or anxiety, or completely different factors. But what can be the reason behind a dog shaking? It happens a lot: during storms, or even if hearing fireworks, but sometimes it can just happen for no visible reason at all. Here are all the reasons why your dog may be shaking, and how to help your pup out when it happens!
Why does your dog shake?
According to veterinarian Dr. Ignacio Casali, DVM, "sometimes dogs shake from being nervous, particularly in situations such as being at the clinic." If you take your dog to an animal hospital or veterinary clinic, their shaking could be due to nerves, either because it's a totally new place to them, or they already have memories of being in uncomfortable situations (shots, or other procedures). But same thing goes for taking them to fun new places like the beach or dog park – it could either be nerves or excitement. Dogs also can shake off the nerves as a way of relieving tension. Your dog might not be used to be around people or other dogs, and the best thing to do in these situations is offer your dog comfort through petting and gentle, soft words, or even music.
Dr. Casali also mentions that "shaking at home can mean that they are nervous, or it could be due to pain or even being cold." In the case of having the shakes at home, socialising or being in new places would clearly not be an issue. If your dog shakes at home, consider whether your air conditioner is running really cold. Your dog might be uncomfortable, and their only way of communicating that is through their body language (i.e., shivering). But of course, the reasoning might be a more difficult fix than just turning down the temperature a few notches.
More complex factors
Moreover, Dr. Casali says that, "it all depends on the situation. But if your dog is reluctant to move and shivering or shaking, it is possible it could be due to pain." In that case, the most crucial action to take is to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a full examination. Your dog could be suffering from a condition, an issue, or even a case of eating toxic foods, and shaking is one of the communicators. If the veterinarian declares there is no physical health issue, then shaking at home might be a lot more complex than a social issue, being cold, or being in pain. Consider other factors: are there new people in your home that your dog might not be comfortable around just yet? Are there new noises, such as construction, that might be making your dog nervous? Dogs also have been known to shake just from old age. It is important to go through all the possibilities, because ensuring your dog's happiness is a top priority for owners, especially since they can't communicate issues or get the help they need by themselves.