Shivering is one of those symptoms that seems to be associated with just about every illness and condition a dog could be suffering. If you can’t find a list of symptoms that match your pup, the good news is that shivering might not even have anything to do with your dog being sick, but that doesn’t make them any easier to diagnose.
Here are some of the less common reasons your dog might be shivering:
If shivering is accompanied by lethargy and loss of appetite, your dog may be feeling lonely and depressed. if you have only one pet and they spend a lot of time at home, they can get lonely and depressed after long stretches of alone time. When you’ve been busy at work, with other responsibilities, your pet can start to feel neglected. Take some time to let them know they’re loved, play with them, go for a walk, get them a new treat and see if their mood picks up.
Maybe your dog’s not in a bad mood, maybe they’re in a good mood! We expect dogs to wag their tails and shake happily when excited, but when they’re overwhelmed with joy, when they see an old friend for the first time in awhile, when they get a new toy, they might tremble and shake in a way that looks more like shivering. It’s like when you see your crush and get a chill up your spine.
- Eating cold food
It’s warm, your dog doesn’t seem to be cold, they don’t appear to be sick, but they just keep shaking. It may be that they’ve just eaten something cold. This can happen with smaller dogs. In the Wintertime they may go outside and take bites of snow and catch a slight chill, or they can get ahold of frozen meat and so on. In this case there’s not much to do but help them warm up, turn on a space heater, feed them a snack and put their sweater on them if they don’t mind wearing clothes.
- Distant thunderstorms
Even if the thunder and lightning haven’t really kicked in yet, the distant rumblings of a thunderstorm, and even sparse fireworks, can get a dog shivering and shaking. Dogs have sensitive hearing and they may be sensing a storm that’s still a ways off. Just comfort them however you usually would. Many dog wear storm vests to keep them feeling safe when a storm is passing.
GTS, or generalized tremor syndrome, may seem scary, but it’s a treatable condition. Symptoms usually kick in between 9 months and 2 years of age, and it can be treated easily with prednisone.
On the scarier end of the spectrum, a dog who is shivering may be dealing with a seizure disorder like kidney failure or an under active adrenal gland. If you’ve already ruled everything else out, then it may be worth considering that your dog needs a trip to the vet. Shivering seems to be a symptom that shows up with just about every condition and illness a dog can experience, but professional diagnosis will help you get to the bottom of it!