Why Do Poodles Shake? [5 Reasons]

Whether you’ve had your Poodle for years and they suddenly start shaking, or you’ve just welcomed a new but shaking Poodle into your home, you’re likely wondering, “Why do Poodles shake?”

Poodles shake for a variety of health and non-medical-related reasons. As a Poodle expert I have seen a fair share of shaking myself, so I’ll help you get to the bottom of your dog’s shaking.

why do poodles shake

The Science Behind Shaking

When your Poodle shakes, it’s an involuntary reaction to a series of muscle contractions. Shaking can happen in fast spurts or for long, relentless periods.

Poodle looks on his side
A Poodle with straight white hair looks on his side.

If you’ve ever been with a scared Poodle during a thunderstorm, you may have noticed how their involuntary shaking increases during a clap of thunder before subsiding into a slower shake if there’s a long lull before the next one.

Non-health Related Reasons Poodles Shake

Here’s the good news: Poodles often shake for reasons unrelated to health problems. Below are some of the most common causes.

1. They’re Excited to See You

Poodles are fiercely loyal to their owners, so they’ll often shake out of pure joy when they see you arrive home. You’ll know your Poodle is shaking from excitement if they accompany it by wagging their tail, jumping up at you, and greeting you with excited barking.

happy for the new year
The Toy Poodle looks happy for the New Year’s celebration! (Image: Instagram/@happythetoypoodle_)

2. The Temperature Is Too Cold

Just like humans, Poodles shake when they’re cold. Although Poodles are from Germany and can typically tolerate colder weather, keeping their coat clipped short can cause them to get cold faster.

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So, if you live in a cold climate and suspect your Poodle is shaking from the temperature, purchase them a jacket and perhaps even a pair of dog boots. Make sure to also provide your Poodle with a plush bed and blankets.

3. They’re Wet

A dog feeling water on its fur reacts by shaking as instinctively as you flicking a spider off your arm. So, if your dog is shaking a lot and they’re wet after a bath or swim, you can assume that it’s a harmless reaction from water.

can Poodles swim
Can Poodles swim?

As annoying as it is for you to clean up water drops after your Poodle, shaking helps them get 70% dryer in as little as four seconds.

4. Something Scared Them

Shaking from fear is a two-part situation in Poodles. The first is short-term fear, such as that thunderstorm I referenced earlier.

The other form of shaking from fear is in Poodles with have an abusive past. If you notice that your Poodle repeatedly shakes around a specific trigger that the average dog wouldn’t, and you know they’ve had an abusive past or don’t know their history, remove them from what troubles them to reduce these stress-induced shakes.

5. Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is when Poodles suffer from anxiety when their owners leave. If you have a camera in your home and watch it when you go, you may notice your Poodle shaking, pacing, panting excessively, and destroying items in your home.

Poodle sits looks confuse
A Poodle sits on a blanket and looks confuse. (Image: Instagram/@poodlesamuel)

If you suspect your Poodle has separation anxiety, getting a trainer involved is vital to help calm your dog and prevent your home from experiencing further destruction.

Health-related Reasons Poodles Shake

If you’re thinking, “Why do Poodles shake, and is it for health reasons?” the answer could be “yes.” So, if the non-medical reasons above don’t seem to fit your dog’s shaking symptoms, below are some common health reasons dogs shake.

1. A Drop in Blood Sugar

Low blood sugar most commonly occurs in young Poodle puppies and older dogs with diabetes or other medical problems. As with humans, this condition can happen if a Poodle hasn’t eaten in a while or if they’re undergoing lots of stress.

white Poodle looks classy
A white Poodle looks classy on a plain background.

You may notice your Poodle whining, showing signs of weakness, and having a wobbly gait.

If you suspect that your Poodle has low blood sugar, rub some honey on their gums. They should start to perk up, at which time you should offer them food and water. If your dog doesn’t improve, take them to the vet.

2. They’re in Pain

Shaking is sometimes a symptom of Poodles in pain. So, if there’s seemingly no rational reason why your dog is shaking, check their body for signs of pain, including:

  • Cuts
  • Bloating
  • Puss
  • Limping

If you don’t notice any visible signs where your dog might be in pain, but their shaking is accompanied by other symptoms such as vomiting, walking oddly, or acting sluggish, take them to the vet.

3. They Have an Ear Infection

Dogs with long ears, such as Poodles, have a higher chance of getting an ear infection. So, if you notice that your dog is shaking their head and no other part of their body, there’s a high chance that they have an ear infection.

Toy Poodle puppy looks alert and curious
A Toy Poodle puppy looks alert and curious.

Other signs of an ear infection include:

  • Rotten smell coming from the ear
  • Scratching at the ear
  • Redness in the inner ear

Luckily, treating Poodles for an ear infection is easy, as your doctor will give you medication for washing their ear.

4. Idiopathic Head Tremors

Idiopathic head tumors are another reason that Poodles shake. Yet again, this is a condition involving the head, although you’ll usually see your dog shaking their head yes or no in a systematic, bobbing kind of way.

There isn’t a treatment for these tremors, but they aren’t deadly either. If you believe your dog is experiencing them, try offering them peanut butter or honey, as a fast dose of sugar often helps to stop it from happening.

5. Seizures

Shaking is often the first stage of a seizure in Poodles. You’ll also notice them drooling excessively, whining, and being restless.

tired Poodle sleeps after playing
A tired Poodle sleeps after playing outdoors.

If your Poodle then shifts into a blank stare, it’s almost a for-sure sign of a seizure, and you should immediately take it to the vet.

Getting to the Bottom of Your Poodle’s Shaking

So, why do Poodles shake?

The answer isn’t as straightforward as you might have expected. But hopefully, you’ve been able to narrow down the cause of your Poodle’s shaking based on the information here.

Remember, if you suspect your Poodle is shaking for health reasons, or if you’re still unsure about what’s causing their shaking, taking them to the vet is always the right choice.

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