Why Is Your Pitbull Shaking? 7 Reasons and Their Solutions

Do you have a Pitbull that is shaking? This can be a cause for concern, as sometimes it can mean very little while other times it may be a sign of an underlying medical condition.

So it’s important to know the signs of problems early on, as this will greatly increase your chances of treating the problem more easily.

So, why is your pitbull shaking? Your Pitbull could be shaking because they’re cold, excited, stressed, anxious, or fearful, or they could be shaking from something more serious like being in pain from an injury or an illness. Senior Pitbulls also shake because of arthritis or joint pain.

In this article, I’m going to do my best trying to explain each of these causes and how to identify them, and I’m also going to explain how to know whether it’s just normal shaking or something more serious, so keep reading…

This article has been reviewed and edited by a vet, but it doesn’t replace your own vet. Please see your vet for specific and trusted advice. This site DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE and all the information provided here is meant for informational purposes only.

Why is Your Pitbull Shaking?

pitbull on snow background to show why is your pitbull shaking

There are many reasons why your Pitbull may be shaking, and while most of them are not serious, it’s important to be able to distinguish between normal shivering and an underlying medical condition. The following is a list of some common reasons why dogs tremble:

  1. Shivering from the cold
  2. Shivering from excitement
  3. Shivering from stress or anxiety
  4. Shivering from pain
  5. Shaking due to an underlying medical condition
  6. Shaking from Old Age
  7. Shaking to get your attention

Now, let’s take a closer look at each of these reasons.

Shivering From the Cold

Most dogs will shiver when they are cold, and this is usually nothing to worry about. You can usually tell if your dog is cold by checking its ears and nose.

If they are red or swollen, then they are most likely cold.

Solution: You can help keep your dog warm by dressing them in a coat or sweater, keeping their living area at a comfortable temperature, and providing them with a warm bed to sleep in.

You can learn when do Pitbulls need coats or sweaters here where I also discuss how to choose the right ones for your dog, how to dress them and make sure it’s comfortable for them, and give you the recommendations for the coats and sweaters that my own Pitbulls wear.

Shaking From Excitement

Some dogs will shiver and shake when they are excited, especially if they are meeting new people or animals.

Solution: This is usually nothing to worry about and will stop once the dog becomes more relaxed.

Shaking From Stress or Anxiety:

Dogs can also shiver from stress or anxiety, and this is often accompanied by panting, pacing, and whining.


If your dog is shaking from stress or anxiety, you will need to work on helping them calm down.

This may include training them to relax in certain situations, using calming pheromones, or providing them with a safe place to retreat to.

Shaking From Pain:

Dogs can also shake from pain, especially if it is acute pain such as from a recent injury.

If your dog is shaking from pain, they will often cry out or whine and may be reluctant to move.

Another possibility would be that your dog has been bit and may have toxins in its body. This will happen when a bug, spider, or snake has bitten your dog.

Solution: You should take your dog to the vet immediately if you think they are in pain.

Shaking From an Underlying Medical Condition:

Some dogs shake due to an underlying medical condition, such as epilepsy, tick paralysis, or a brain tumor.


If your dog is shaking and you can’t identify a clear reason why, it’s important to take them to the vet for an evaluation.

Shaking from Old Age

Shaking may be a symptom of arthritis or joint discomfort in dogs, but it’s also conceivable that muscular deterioration is to blame.


Take them to the vet, they can give them some meds that may make them more comfortable.

Shaking to get your attention 

If you provide your dog with comfort the moment you see them shaking and shivering, they may come to believe that doing so is a wonderful approach to get your attention. In order to gain compassion, some dogs begin shaking while begging for food.


While this is not a harmful or bad behavior, it’s not recommended to reinforce it. If you are sure your dog has no real reason why they could be shaking, you should probably ignore it and don’t give them attention.

If they stop doing it after a while, then it was just their way of getting attention.

Now that you know the reasons why your pitbull could be shaking, it’s time to make something absolutely clear; you need to know the difference between normal shaking and seizures.

Is it shaking or seizures?

A seizure, in contrast to a minor shiver or tremor, is an episode in which the muscles clench up and a dog loses both mobility and awareness of their surroundings.

If you suspect your dog is having a seizure and they haven’t already been treated for a seizure disorder, take them to the emergency veterinarian right away.


When your dog is shaking for no apparent reason, it may be due to pain, stress/anxiety, old age, excitement (shivering), or because they want attention.

If you notice any other symptoms accompany the shivers such as crying out or whining then there could be something more serious going on that warrants an emergency vet visit.

Whether your Pitbull has just had too much fun with friends at the park or is feeling anxious about meeting new people; shaking is something that is worth your attention and you should try to figure out what’s causing it quickly.

Should I be worried if my dog is shaking?

You should be worried if your dog is shaking if the shaking happened suddenly and is accompanied by other symptoms like whining or howling because these are the signs that your dog is in pain and needs some attention.

Once you figure out the cause of your dog’s shaking and can remove the trigger (by making them warm or comforting them, for example), then you should not worry about it.

Why is my dog acting weird and shaking?

Your dog may be acting weird and shaking because they are fearful, anxious, stressed, nervous, feeling too cold, or are in pain. If your dog is shaking due to pain, they will probably show other signs such as limping, howling, or whining. If your dog shows signs of pain, you should probably take them to the vet.

Helpful Resources

Signs of pain in dogs

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