Why Do Dogs Shiver? Exploring the Causes and Solutions

Why Do Dogs Shiver?

If you're a dog owner, you've likely encountered the sight of your furry friend shivering at some point. Dogs shivering can be a cause for concern, especially if it's frequent or accompanied by other unusual behaviors. While it's natural for dogs to shiver in certain situations, there can be underlying reasons that require attention. In this blog post, we'll delve into the various causes of dog shivering and explore potential solutions.

Natural Causes of Shivering in Dogs

1. Cold Weather

One of the most common reasons dogs shiver is to regulate their body temperature in response to cold weather. Just like humans, dogs experience chills when exposed to low temperatures. Shivering is their way of generating extra body heat to stay warm. Smaller dog breeds or those with short coats are more susceptible to cold-induced shivering.


2. Excitement or Anxiety

Dogs, much like humans, can shiver when they are excited, anxious, or nervous. This type of shivering is often accompanied by other signs of emotional arousal, such as wagging tails, pacing, and barking. It's a way for their body to release excess energy or cope with strong emotions.


3. Anticipation

Have you noticed your dog shivering in anticipation of a treat, a walk, or playtime? This type of shivering is linked to their heightened excitement. Dogs may shiver as they eagerly await something they're looking forward to.


4. Muscle Fatigue

Intense physical activities or extended play sessions can lead to muscle fatigue, which can trigger shivering. Just like humans, after a vigorous workout, dogs' muscles might twitch or shiver as they recover.

Medical Causes of Shivering in Dogs

#1 Illness or Infection

Various illnesses, infections, and medical conditions can lead to shivering in dogs. Fever, for example, is often accompanied by shivering as the body tries to raise its temperature to fight off infections. If your dog's shivering is persistent and accompanied by other symptoms like lethargy, loss of appetite, or vomiting, it's crucial to consult a veterinarian.

#2 Pain

Dogs may shiver in response to pain or discomfort. This can occur due to injuries, arthritis, or other underlying health issues. If your dog shivers when touched or while performing certain movements, it could indicate that they are experiencing pain.

#3 Hypoglycemia

Low blood sugar levels, known as Hypoglycemia, can lead to shivering, weakness, and even seizures in dogs. This is more common in smaller breeds and puppies. Feeding your dog regular meals and monitoring their blood sugar levels can help prevent hypoglycemic episodes.

#4 Toxicity

Certain toxins or poisonous substances can cause shivering as a symptom. Ingestion of toxic plants, chemicals, or medications can lead to shivering along with other signs of poisoning. If you doubt your dog has ingested something harmful, seek immediate veterinary assistance.

Tips to Help Your Shivering Dog

#1 Provide Warmth

If your dog is shivering due to cold weather, provide them with a warm and cozy environment. Use blankets, sweaters, or heated pet beds to help them stay comfortable.

#2 Calming Techniques

For shivering caused by anxiety or excitement, try using calming techniques such as gentle massage, soothing music, or aromatherapy. Creating a calm and predictable environment can help alleviate their stress.

#3 Regular Exercise

Regular exercise not only keeps your dog physically fit but also helps release excess energy and reduce anxiety. Engaging in fun and interactive activities can prevent shivering due to anticipation or emotional arousal.

#4 Visit the Vet

If your dog's shivering is persistent, unusual, or accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it's best to consult a veterinarian. A thorough examination can help identify any underlying medical conditions and ensure appropriate treatment.

The bottomline:

While occasional shivering in dogs is often normal and harmless, persistent or unusual shivering should never be ignored. Understanding the different causes of dog shivering can help you provide the best care for your furry companion. 

Whether it's a response to cold weather, emotional excitement, or a medical issue, paying attention to your dog's behavior and seeking professional advice when needed will ensure their well-being and happiness.