Sometimes canines will shiver, even in fairly warm weather. An owner might observe this and feel stupefied. He might ask himself, “Why is my dog shaking?” Dogs are capable of shivering to help deal with cold, but it might not be the only possible issue. As just one example, chihuahuas are famous for shivering when they are nervous.
Dogs Thermoregulate Just Like Humans
Dogs and humans are both mammals, and mammals have the ability to adapt their body temperature by using muscles to increase metabolic activity. Humans do not have fur and have a strong shivering response when cold. Dogs have fur but are smaller animals with higher normal body temperature. If a dog has a fever, it might mistake itself as being cold and shiver to keep its body temperature elevated.
Dogs Shake As an Emotional Response
Humans have muscle spasms whenever sufficiently disturbed, although dogs do this for a variety of emotional responses. Dogs do not have the same social emotions as humans and might not shake out of embarrassment, but they can shake very much because they are anxious or fearful. If in the presence of unknown people or if their owner is not present, they might shake out of discomfort.
The Sensation of Pain
The bodies of mammals react to a perception of pain or damage. Dogs sometimes respond to shaking with pain. If the dog is alone with the owner and there is no obvious source of distress, then the animal might be experiencing bodily pain for some uncertain reason. If the dog does not want to be touched or shows other signs of pain, then it is a good idea to see the vet.
Disease Might Be The Reason
Humans can shake when they are sick because their body is fighting a cold. Dogs do something similar, but the spasms might not be the result of just feeling cold due to a fever. Kidney issues and problems with hormones might cause an animal enough distress to make them shiver or have localized muscle spasms. Since muscle spasms are caused by nerves firing, a nervous system disease might also be the culprit.
Toxins and Weakness
A few other body conditions that might cause trembling are some type of poison or muscle degradation. In the event of poison, it might come from bacteria or it might be the result of consuming chocolate, antifreeze, or some other substance that is not suitable for dogs. Whenever muscles become weak, they might tremble because they are not strong enough for their function.
Small Size Might Just Do It
Trembling is normal for very small breeds such as the chihuahua. Because of its size, it has a very good reason to shiver, and the trait might have actually been selected for by dog owners who found the trait endearing. Small dogs shiver to stay warm but also because they prefer the company of their owner and not of strangers. Try to figure out if this characteristic is typical of a breed.
Dealing With Trembling as a Dog Owner
Try to assess the cause of trembling. If it starts after an unfamiliar human company has arrived, then nervousness is a good explanation. If it seems to persist, then there might be a physical or chronic emotional problem. It is important to look for sources of stress or parts of the dog’s body that might be in pain. Check the dog to see if its temperature is around 102 degrees F.