Scared Pit Bull

Why do pit bulls shake

Pit bulls will sometimes shake when they are sleeping or when they are even awake looking at you. When you first see this behavior, it may shock you.

Why do pit bulls shake? Pit Bull’s can shake for a variety of reasons such as pain, excitement, cold, poison, generalized tremor syndrome, and learned behavior. If the shaking is something that happens all the time it’s best to have a vet check them out to find out the reason behind the tremors. If they don’t happen that often it’s probably just behavior and can be safely monitored.

If you want to better understand why pit bulls shake check out our list below where we go into more detail about the shaking and what can cause it. We also talk about solutions to fix the shaking before bringing the dog to the vet.

Your pit bull is cold

Fiona buried in pillows trying to stay warm in our cold house

Pit Bull’s have very short fur, which can lead to them being cold more often than other dogs with longer fur. Because of this, they may seek to burrow or find something to cover themselves up. 

If you notice that your dog is snuggling next to you while shaking this can be a good sign that they are cold.

Solution: Find some blankets and cover them over your dog and make a doggie burrito. Does the shaking stop? If then they are cold, if not continue reading.

Your pit bull is excited

If your pit bull shakes when you are giving them food or seeing them then this is a good sign that your dog is just happy to see you. If your pit bull shakes, this could be a sign that they are just so happy that they might even spring a leak.

Yes, some dogs do pee when they are excited, which is another good sign because you know this is something not serious but just a behavior of your dog.

Solution: does the dog do this when you give them food or see them after a long time? Then they most likely are just happy to see you and they don’t have a medical condition. If not, then continue reading to see what else could cause the shaking.

Your pit bull has learned this behavior

If your pit bull is set off by certain environmental events, then shaking can be a common thing. Most likely I associate this with fear of things like fireworks, thunder or anything else that may be loud or scare them.

Learning your dog’s behavior is important because you can see if this is a trigger. If it rains and they shake, then they have a problem with thunder.

This might be something back when the dog was a small puppy and first heard sounds like thunder or rain. 

Fiona would shake when we put here in the bathtub, learn more about how we fixed this problem here.

Solution: This may or may not require a vet. It depends on the severity of the dog’s shaking. Try something simple like a thunder vest or weighted blanket. If that doesn’t work then your dog is going to need doggie Xanax to reduce the anxiety they are feeling.

Your pit bull is in pain or has an illness

Pit Bull In Pain
This pit bull has a face that shows some distress

Since our dogs can’t talk to us directly, it’s not uncommon for them to non-verbally speak to us using body language. Some of that very body language might be something like shaking.

When a dog is feeling pain they may shake because of the pain that they are feeling but can’t describe. This can also come with things like low growls or yelps. Regardless, if you have crossed everything above off the list, it’s time to bring them to the vet ASAP.

Solution: bring your dog to the vet and see if they can determine the source of the pain or illness that the dog has. They should be able to figure out what type of pain the dog is having.

Your pit bull may be poisoned or has toxins in their body

Black Widow

If your dog has toxins running through their system, then this can be another sign of shaking. Just like up above. This can be very serious and they should be brought to the vet immediately.

Things such as being stung or bit by certain animals can have a devastating effect on dogs. Some spiders or snakes may put a human in pain but won’t kill them, these same animals can kill smaller dogs.

Solution: If you find wounds or anything that would lead you to believe that some other animal stung or bit your dog bring them to the vet. You want to rush if your dog is experiencing any kind of vomiting or any other illness signs.

Your pit bull has generalized tremor syndrome

Generalized tremor syndrome or GTS as some vets will refer to it is a syndrome that mostly affects smaller white dogs, however, it can affect dogs of any size or breed. No one knows what causes generalized tremor syndrome, and there is no cure. Your best bet is to discuss the situation with your vet to determine how you can help your doggy friend.


While these are not the only things that can cause your dog to shake, these are the most common. Most dogs will fall into one category above and can be safely treated by a vet to reduce the number of shakes your pet will have.

I hope this article has helped you better understand while a dog shakes. If you want to read more pit bull information and helpful tips please check out our website for more information.

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