Dog Teeth Chattering. Why Is My Dog Shaking? Dog Shivering Explored

dog teeth chattering

Dog teeth chattering?  Is your dog shaking?  Wondering why that might be?  Your dog could just be cold but is there more to it than that?

Hi my name is Mike And I’ve worked with dogs since I was little.  This website came about because there are many areas we as dog owners question from time to time.  This site will hopefully answer some of those questions for you.  Today we will be discussing dog teeth chattering and the many reasons why your dog might be shaking or shivering.  Lets dive right in!

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Dog Teeth Chattering

Have you ever wondered why your Dog’s teeth chatter?  Do you notice them shivering or shaking at the same time?  There are actually quite a few reasons for this.  I’ll touch on each one briefly here and go more in depth below.  It could be the cold.  Your dog also might feel anxious.  There’s also the possibility that your dog is suffering from a neurological condition as well. These are just a few of the more common reasons why your dog may be acting that way.  There are many factors that can go into determining why your dog’s teeth are chattering or your dog is shivering in general.

I’ve also watched dogs do this as a physical response to something that someone else is doing.  For example, if you are having an argument on the phone and your dog thinks that you are yelling at them, bingo, they are shaking now.  Being able to quickly determine why your dog might be acting a certain way is definitely helpful in the long run.  Every dog will have a different personality as well.  What affects one might not bother another in the least.  Being able to quickly read your dog’s body language and come to a conclusion is always helpful.

Why Is My Dog Shaking?

Now that we have determined that there are many different reasons for a shaking or teeth chattering dog, Lets look deeper at some of the common reasons this can occur.

It’s Too Cold!

One of the first reactions your dog may have to the cold is shivering.  Humans and other animals respond in very much the same way.  The shivering is actually the human body’s way of improving circulation and increasing blood flow.  The process seems to be very similar with our dogs as well.

Dog’s have fur coats though, shouldn’t they be protected from the cold?  While fur coats can definitely help your dog deal with a cold day, they are not always adequate for the weather at hand.  Some dogs are also from warmer climates and have evolved in such a way that big furry coats aren’t an option for them.  These dogs might not be able to deal with the cold at all.  Other dogs might just be too small and unable to retain their own heat very well in the face of a big storm or cold and windy day.

What we do know is how to stop your dog from shivering if this is the case.  Warm them up!  If they are outside, bring them in.  If they are inside, turn the heat up or wrap them in a blanket.  Some dog’s do really well with cooler weather by wearing vests and sweaters as well.  However you warm them up, this should help them cope with the temperature and stop them from shaking and shivering.

dog anxiety


Anxiety is another thing that can cause your dog to shiver and shake.  Once again, a lot of this is going to depend on your dog.  Every one is different.  If you have a dog that tends to be more anxious, you may notice them shaking from time to time.  This is usually happening because they are stressed out or anxious about something.  What that thing happens to be is the real mystery.  Ideally, you figure out what that is and resolve the situation.  Some common causes are new guests, raised voices, new pets and unfamiliar situations.  The list goes on and on but being able to pinpoint your dog’s triggers is the key here.

So how do we soothe an anxious dog?  This will vary a bit from pup to pup but a great start is to remove them from the situation and let them reset.  A good example would be my old dog.  Whenever we had new people over she would get a bit anxious and start shaking.  We would remove her from the situation by placing her in her crate or just moving her to another room for a few minutes.  Once everyone was in and settled, we would reintroduce her to the situation and keep an eye on her reaction.

Arguments or raised voices are another common cause of anxiety in dogs.  Our animals can feel our emotions even if they can’t specifically understand every word we speak.  Our emotions will set a certain tone and this can cause our pets to have anxiety.  Raised voices are a great example of this.  In these situations, the best result would be to eliminate the noise or remove the dog from the area.  You can also crate train your dog to seek their comfort area when they feel out of sorts as well.  It’s another good way to track when your dog is feeling anxious.

Neurological Condition

With some dogs, their shaking comes down to health conditions.  There are a few that can make a dog shake uncontrollably from time to time.  If you notice your dog shaking and there doesn’t appear to be any external reason for it, you may want to bring it up at your next vet appointment.  Most of the time, these conditions are minor and won’t require any medication.  If the vet wants to do some tests and they find something more serious though, medication is usually all that is required.


Some dogs shake when they are afraid.  This can happen for a lot of reasons.  Usually, from some external event.  A storm is a good example.  If during the storm a loud crack of thunder startles your dog, they may react by hiding under the bed and shaking.  They may also react by howling or barking at the sky.  Once again, it all depends on the dog.

The important thing to remember with fear is that it can make your dog a bit unpredictable.  Try to comfort them or train them to go to a comfort zone (IE Crate) when something like this happens.  The tricky part sometimes is trying to determine why your dog might be afraid at any given time.  It’s not always as clear as a loud thunderstorm.  Work to try and settle them down and be a calming presence for them to draw strength from.

dog stress


Stress, anxiety and fear can all go hand in hand but they can also play out on their own as well.  Sometimes a stressful situation for a dog might not have anything to do with the other 2 feelings.  Sometimes your dog can get stressed because they can’t find a toy or they can’t get to where they are trying to go.  Stress takes many forms and it can also manifest itself with dog teeth chattering or shaking.

Luckily, we all have different ways to deal with stress.  Every dog will approach it a bit differently.  Some might shake, others might bark and still others might run and hide.  What we can do is help our dogs learn to cope with different stressful situations.  How do we do this?  I think a strong training foundation is the best way to initiate the process.  Once you identify key issues that cause your dog to stress out, you can focus more on addressing those areas.  Until you know what those are though, a broad training foundation that instills a basic structure for your dog is a great place to start.

Dog Shaking While Sleeping

I’ve had several owners come up to me and ask me why their dog shakes when they are sleeping sometimes.  There are usually 2 reasons for this:

  1.  Vivid Dream:  Your dog may shake, move their paws, bark or moan in their sleep from time to time.  This is usually not a bad thing at all.  They are just having vivid dreams.  I always like to think that they are out in the woods chasing a rabbit or something 😉
  2.  Epilepsy:  Your dog could also be having a small seizure.  If this is the case, they will often make jerking movements, foam at the mouth and be unresponsive to verbal commands.  The best thing you can do in this case is to make the area safe for them and wait it out.  Once the seizure is over, contact your vet for next steps.

Dog Teeth Chattering Concluded

so as you can see, your dog teeth chattering or shivering concerns can be caused by a variety of issues.  Some of the most common causes are fear, anxiety, stress, health issues and cold temperatures.  Any of this can trigger a shaking episode.  It’s important to understand why your dog is shaking on a case by case basis as well.  One time it may be because it’s too cold and another time it could be because they are stressed out over something.  Knowing your dog and understanding how they react to certain situations will be your best tool in figuring out these issues and helping your dog cope with them in the long term.

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