Why Do Dogs Shake Their Bodies?

We’ve all seen our dogs shake off their whole bodies. Sometimes the reason they do it is apparent. But let’s be honest – more often than not, we don’t get the message behind these shakedowns. So, why do dogs shake their bodies?

Dogs shake their bodies as a way to help them dry off. Shaking helps dogs get rid of the water on their fur in a matter of seconds. Dogs shaking after coming from the pool can do away with as much as 70% of the water in just four seconds.

But we definitely all know that getting rid of water isn’t the sole reason dogs shake their bodies. So, what are the other causes? Should you worry when your dog shakes? How about if the shaking is accompanied by weird behavior? Now, that’s just a bit of what we have for you today!

And just so you know this early, misinterpreting the message behind your dogs’ shake-offs can sometimes prove costly! Keep reading to learn more about your canine’s shaking behavior.

Why Do Dogs Shake Themselves So Often?

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Dogs shake themselves so often to get rid of something from their coat. Shaking their bodies helps them remove water, dust, debris, and any other foreign element that’s likely to stick on their fur.

If you observe your dog closely after coming out of a pool, the first thing they do is get rid of the water on their fur. The moment you see your pup twist the head and neck, the next thing you need to do is get away from them! It’s their way of initiating the shake!

Now, that’s their way of blow-drying themselves. In fact, a few studies confirm claims that this shaking is more effective than towel-drying them. And again, they are just too quick to execute it – so always keep the towel near you whenever your pup gets in that bathtub.

It’s also common to see pups shake after they stand from lying down on the ground. That will obviously be to get rid of soil and debris their fur took up from the ground. It’s the dog version of what you do after sitting on a dusty surface.

But is shaking something off the only reason behind those shakes your dog performs so often? Well, not really! It can have something to do with sickness. But let’s not jump right into it for now! Let’s take a quick look at other reasons canines shake themselves when not wet.

How Often Do Dogs Shake Their Bodies?

Dogs shake their bodies just as often as the stimuli for that feeling come. Provided that there isn’t anything to necessitate shaking, you likely won’t see your dog do those shake-offs.

Dogs don’t shake their bodies for pleasure. They only do it when there’s the need for it. In other words, whenever you notice that your dog is shaking, always ensure that you monitor them closely to pinpoint the possible reason.

Sometimes your dog will seemingly shake frequently for no apparent reason. But that’s not the case. When you notice such, always ensure that you take time to check their fur for ticks and other parasites.

And as you do that, it will also be wise to check for redirritated skin. If you notice any, it means your dog is likely experiencing bites from ticks or other parasites. As such, do a thorough inspection to find out if there are any still remaining.

Why Do Dogs Shake Themselves When They Are Not Wet?

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Dogs shake themselves when they are not wet as the expression of cold, anxiety, excitement, and so much more. So yes, this act can carry a diversity of messages. It’s up to you to learn how to interpret each correctly.

Dogs don’t speak English or Spanish. They don’t use human language. Instead, pups communicate through body language. It could be through shaking off their bodiesbarkingwhining, staring at the roof, spinning in circles, and so much more.

If you have to get the right message all the time, you have to know to interpret what each of these behaviors implies. But that’s something easier said than done, especially now that one behavior can carry a different message at different times.

And yes, that’s the case with shaking their bodies. While primarily shaking will help dogs get rid of water, dust, and debris, it can communicate otherwise. Sometimes, the encoded message is far from that.

So, what could be the reasons for dogs shaking their bodies when not wet? Well, the message behind every shake will depend on the surrounding circumstances. In other words, for you to interpret every shake accurately, you have to rely on other factors.

You have to be keen on when it happened, what preceded it, and any other unusual behavior that accompanied it. That way, you will find it easy to get the message behind every shake that your dog performs.

For instance, you may notice the shakedowns happening after dogs stop doing something. It could be barking or playing with other dogs. In such a case, shake-offs symbolize they are now switching to doing something else.

So yes, don’t always look at the act itself but also other things happening around that may have an association with it. 

Why Do Dogs Shake Their Bodies When They Wake Up?

Dogs shake their bodies when they wake up as a way of getting their muscles ready for activity. Dogs shaking after they wake up is much the same as the morning stretch they do, only that the latter is more pronounced.

Dogs share lots of similarities with their human companions. For instance, dogs’ morning routine starts off much like ours. You see, when you wake up, the first thing you do is stretch yourself. Of course, that more often comes with yawning. Then, a few other things follow before you are entirely ready for the day.

Now, that’s what exactly happens when dogs wake up. Our furry friends have to go through a process before they are ready to get moving. That’s now where shaking their bodies comes in as a part of the process. You can also view that from the perspective of booting up a computer!

So yes, when you see your dog shake after waking up, whether out of a night’s sleep or an afternoon nap, it’s a way of them telling their muscles they’ve had enough of rest and that they should get ready for work.

Why Do Dogs Shake Their Bodies After You Pet Them?

Dogs shake their bodies after petting them as a way of helping them get over the feeling of social pressure that comes with you touching them. That shake-off is the dog’s way of telling themselves to forget whatever just happened and move on with other things.

I don’t know how you pet your dog. But at least I know that most dog parents express their affection to their fur babies through hugs, touching their coat and head, tummy rub, and so on.

We all love doing these to our dogs. But do canines really enjoy this way of petting just as much as we do? Well, not really! Most canine experts will tell you that most dogs don’t find such moments to be fun.

Of course, petting dogs can make them excited. But it more often causes them anxiety. Actually, those hugs and tummy rubs are things canines learn to accept and tolerate. But it sometimes goes beyond what they can take. That’s where the negative emotions begin to build up.

Sometimes dogs will shake when you ruffle their fur. In most cases, that shake could perform two things – help them overlook what just happened and at the same time put everything back in order. It’s the same way you would do your hair after someone messing up with it.

Should I Be Worried If My Dog Is Shaking?

Whether you should be worried if your dog is shaking their body depends. As long as the cause isn’t related to anxiety, parasite attacks, or any medical condition, there’s no need for you to worry.

Dogs shaking on numerous occasions can stir up lots of questions, and that’s absolutely fine. After all, we love our canines and want to make their life as comfortable as possible. But should you be worried when they do it?

Well, we don’t have a straight answer to that question. Whether to ignore shaking or treat it with a lot of weight depends on the cause. For instance, there isn’t a reason to worry when your dog shakes off to get rid of water or debris. The same applies when they do it for preparing their muscles for activity.

However, if it has anything to do with illness, then there’s cause for concern. In fact, if you suspect that your dog’s shaking has anything to do with a health issue, inform the vet as soon as possible. The health expert will perform several tests to diagnose possible underlying conditions.

You should also get worried if you suspect that the shaking is related to anxiety. Dogs become anxious easier than you probably think. In fact, it could come from something small as being around new faces.

Look out for other signs of anxiety to help you know whether the shaking is related to it. These signs include diarrhea, lack of appetite, vomiting, barking, whining, overreaction, and sometimes shaking.

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How Do You Calm a Shaking Dog?

You can calm a shaking dog by removing them from the stressor. If the stress is coming from other pets, the only way to help dogs get rid of it is by taking them away from them.

Basically, how to go about addressing dog anxiety will depend on what’s causing the stress. For instance, separation anxiety will require you to find something to keep your canine engaged the moment you are away.

Alternatively, you can consider training your canine on being left alone. Leaving your dog for short periods and gradually increasing this time can help your pup learn to handle lone moments without developing anxiety.

If you have trouble tracking down the stressor, see the vet. The vet will run several tests to determine if the anxiety has anything to do with a medical condition. They may then advise on how you can help your canine overcome anxiety. The dog doctor may also prescribe anxiety-reducing medications as they deem appropriate.

Why Is My Dog Shaking and Acting Weird?

Shaking and acting weird can indicate that your dog has shaker syndrome or other possible medical conditions. As soon as you notice your dog behaving this way, ensure that you visit a licensed dog health expert immediately.

We already know that there are several reasons for dogs shaking. And while most of them may not pose anything serious, it calls for one to worry when the shaking comes together with other unusual behavior.

A combination of unusual behavior and shaking is usually a sign of sickness. For instance, you may notice your dog shaking and at the same overreacting, becoming aggressive, lacking energy, vomiting, and many other signs.

Where shaking comes with any abnormal behavior, it’s always advisable to visit a pet clinic. That’s the only way to know what’s actually making your dog shake more frequently than you consider normal.

Several conditions can cause dogs to shake their bodies. Some include cerebellar hypoplasia, shaker syndrome, and hypomyelination. Shaking could also be from ingestion of toxins or a sign of an allergy. The health professional should help identify the exact cause of the problem.

But before you take your canine to the vet – you need to do your homework first. The health expert may rely on you for information on what the dog ate, previous health conditions (if any), when the behavior began, and so much more.

Only beware of this common mistake – don’t sit back and wait for things to fall back in place by themselves after you notice any weird behavior in your dog. Actually, the situation is only likely to get worse with procrastination. That’s definitely not what you want for your four-footer friend, so always act as soon as you can.

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Pete Decker