Cold, Excited or Nervous; Why Is My Dachshund Trembling?

It can be not only heartbreaking, but also down right scary to see your dachshund start trembling.

Your first reaction might be to panic that something serious is going on and call a specialist.

But you might also be able to figure out what is going on before seeking professional help.

It’s quite normal for weiner dogs to shiver, some people say that such a small dog needs an outlet for all that excess energy!

Girl with her beloved dachshund hugging

They tremble for a variety of reasons, not all of them dangerous. That said, if your doxie is shaking, you should pay attention and try to work out what’s they’re trying to tell you.

Dachshunds tend to shiver when they’re feeling cold, excited or scared.

But they have also been known to shiver when they are experiencing a more serious illness or injury.

What’s more, they may also learn to tremble because they know that it results in attention for them.

Whether they are using this technique to tell you something, or get a few head scratches, is unclear.

Read on to find out whether you can determine why your doxie has suddenly started shaking and what you should do about it.



Fighting a Cold

Some sources claim that this is the most common cause of shaking. We’ve all had those fevers that leave us feeling both hot and cold, shivering and sweating.

Well, dogs feel it too. When they do have a cold or flu, they’ll get a little shaky. While this can be upsetting for owners to see, it’s usually not harmful.

Healthy dogs can fight off a cold with relative ease. But, like us, they have to ride it out; there’s not much that can be done to get rid of it.

Dachshund dog with flu wearing a mask

Cold symptoms are similar in dogs and humans.

If you notice your doxie has nasal congestion, is sneezing or coughing and seems generally low, as well as shaky, this might be why.

Be sure to keep them indoors, keep them warm and keep an eye on their food and fluid intake.



Dogs can become nauseous for many reasons, such as eating something that didn’t agree with them, taking medication or general illness.

Shivering can be a symptom of feeling sick. Since they don’t have any other outlets for feeling under the weather, they express their discomfort in any way they can.

Other symptoms of nausea might include loss of appetite and depression.

Since these signs can also mean a more serious issue, it’s probably a good idea to at least give your vet a call.


Kidney Disease

Kidney issues can range from mild to serious, such as kidney failure. But, any kidney problem should be treated immediately. Even if it’s not life threatening in that moment.

Besides tremors, other signs might include; blood in their urine, weight loss, loss of appetite and drinking a lot more, or less, water than usual.

Kidney problems can arise as a result of poisoning and even from poor oral hygiene.



Just as humans do, dogs shake because of epilepsy or other seizure-inducing disorders. If the trembling is a symptom of a seizure, they will show other signs.

Including foaming at the mouth, losing consciousness, falling over and paddling their legs.

If it looks like this is the case, take your dachshund to the vet immediately as they will need to have tests.

They will usually be prescribed a course of medication to control the seizures.


Physical Pains

Older dogs can have any number of joint pains in their old age and dachshunds in particular are susceptible to many complaints.

With their long backs and short legs, they can experience back problems, hip ailments and kneecap issues.

dachshund suffering physical pain with terrible scar

To keep them as healthy as possible, you should feed them a nutritious, balanced diet and take them for regular exercise.

It’s also a good idea to discourage them from jumping off furniture and going up or down stairs. Yet, even with great care, we all get old and your doxie is no exception.

If they start to tremble a lot in their old age, it could be a sign of weakening joints. Be sure to check in with a specialist if this is the case.



Fear and Anxiety

If only our pups could talk, they could tell us what’s scaring them. Since they can’t talk to us, they tend to let us know that they’re feeling stressed out by shivering.

Dogs, like humans, can find certain everyday situations stressful.

They can be particularly sensitive to car rides, loud noises such as the vacuum cleaner or fireworks, being alone, strange dogs or people. In these cases, it will be obvious what the stressor is.

If your furry friend shakes when you put them in the car or when you put your shoes and coat on to leave, you’ll know that they’re feeling sad.

The good news is that there are ways that you can try to reassure them in these situations.

Think about giving them extra treats, making a comfortable space for them, having their favorite toy on hand and exercising them so that they soon crash out.



This is the best reason that your dog could be shaking. As mentioned before, dachshunds are small dogs with a big energy and they need an outlet for it.

When they get excited, they need a way to work off some of that energy.

A longhaired dachshund shivering with excitement

They can become excited before going for a walk, when you return home or when you give them a treat.

As well as barking, jumping and generally running around, you may also see them tremble. In this case, there is no need to worry as they are not in danger.


Learned Behavior

Whenever you see your dachshund shiver, you might bundle him up, give him some cuddles and tell him how precious he is. Something your pup undoubtedly loves.

Dogs are very intuitive and clever, and as such, they learn fast.

If you give in to your dog every time they shake, they will become aware that trembling is a sure fire way to get some attention.

One vet told the story of a client whose dachshund would shiver outside when his owner was in sight. Curiously, he would stop as soon as the owner was no longer visible.

Watch out as they may use shivering as a way to get food, love, attention or their own way.


Generalized Tremor Syndrome

The least likely of all the causes, some dogs can develop a condition called Generalized Tremor Syndrome, or GTS.

It’s a mild central nervous disease, but easy to treat with corticosteroids.

This disorder was first detected in small, white dogs but can affect any size or breed.

It’s usually diagnosed in young dogs up to two years old and requires tests at a vet. For the most part, it’s harmless when detected and treated early.



Unfortunately, there are many opportunities for pups to ingest harmful substances. They can range from mildly toxic to immediately life-threatening.

Sources of poison range from food such as chocolate, to medications, cleaning products and some plants.

Web MD offers this handy guide to the types of poisons that dogs may ingest and how to poison-proof your home.

Trembling can be one of the symptoms of consuming a poisonous item.

If you notice your doxie shivering and it looks like they may have gotten into your chocolate stash, this could be a tell-tale sign of toxicity.

If the shivering is accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea and depression, take them to a vet or contact the local Animal Poison Control Center.


Feeling cold

Seeing your little dachshund shivering can be a sad sight. Luckily, if they’re shivering because they’re a bit chilly, you can remedy this.

dachshund shivering under a blanket in cold

If you go outdoors on a particularly cold day, or the house is a little nippy, expect to see your dog shake.

When they shake from feeling the cold, you’ll know because they otherwise seem their usual self. As they are a thin skinned breed, dachshunds can feel cold when we don’t, even in the summer.

Be sure to always have a blanket or dog sweater on hand. Especially if you venture out on cold days.


When Should I see a Vet?

You should always exercise caution and contact a specialist if you think that something is wrong with your wiener dog.

But, given their mischievous natures, their shivering could be nothing to worry about. In the first instance, you can call your vet who will ask you some questions to determine the cause.

That said, if you suspect something more serious, it may be worth taking them in for a check up.

In the following situations, you should make an appointment with a specialist.

When there are other symptoms present such as vomiting, diarrhoea, depression or limping. This may be cause for concern and you should think about going in sooner rather than later.

When the trembling is constant, it may not be anything serious but it still might be worth calling the vet.

Finally, when there is no obvious cause like coldness, excitement or nervousness, again, you might want to give your vet a call.