Is Shivering An Indication Of Pain?

James Glover
by James Glover
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QuestionIf a dog is shivering does this mean he is in pain? (Theresa Amberger - New Jersey)

Answer

Shivering is not usually an indication of pain. Dogs shiver when cold just like humans, but there are also other causes. Nervous dogs can tremble and shiver as a result of nervous energy - this is more common in smaller dogs and is not something to worry about. Older dogs have also be known to start regularly shivering as a result of weak muscles and arthritis. There are also a large range of illnesses that can have shivering as one of their symptoms.

An ill dog with a fever may show these symptoms but there are many more less obvious illnesses for which shivering can be a symptom. These include some types of internal parasite, auto immune disease, and infectious diseases such as leptospirois, although most of these would have other symptoms such as fever, stiffness of joints and diarrhea in combination with the shivering.

Disclaimer: This service is meant to provide advice only and is not meant to replace an appointment with a registered veterinarian. Users should always seek a second opinion. Unfortunately we are only able to answer several questions per week so not everyone gets a published answer. And, unfortunately we can't answer by email.
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