Dachshunds, like many other small dogs, shake for several different reasons.
You’ve probably been bombarded with questions such as, “Are they cold?” or “Are they scared?!” when onlookers notice your Dachshund shaking.
The fact is, Dachshunds commonly shake, in this article we’ll talk about the root of the behavior and when it’s best to see a veterinarian.
Why Do Dachshunds Shake?
Dachshunds are one of the small dog breeds known for their frequent shaking or trembling.
Much like Chihuahuas or other little dogs, Dachshunds shake under a variety of circumstances for many reasons.
The reasons a Dachshund could be shaking include:
- Fear or stress
- Pain or other medical problems
- Side effect of medication or other conditions
- Excess energy
- Learned behavior for attention
Shaking in Dachshunds is often a side effect of fear or stress, and on the contrary, feeling overjoyed.
For example, a Dachshund could shake in the presence of a big dog because they feel like it’s presence is threatening (fear).
Or a Dachshund can shake before meals in anticipation of the yummy food that is about to come their way (happy anticipation).
Shaking is normally accompanied by other body language to display how a dog is feeling, such as cowering, tucking the tail, or running around in the case of excitement (aka, getting the zoomies).
Dachshunds commonly shake when they are cold, just as people do.
Small dogs often shake vigorously when chilly, but warm jackets and sweaters can help protect them from harsh elements.
Blankets and soft pet beds will also help keep our beloved sausage dogs warm.
Dachshunds will start shivering quickly in the cold because they have a high body temperature, and lose heat quickly.
You should confirm that your dog’s shaking isn’t due to medical reasons first.
Pain or Other Medical Problems
Shaking can unfortunately be caused by intense pain or other severe medical problems.
If you believe your Dachshund may be shaking from illness, please seek veterinary treatment right away.
Your Dachshund could be suffering if you’ve ruled out the other potential reasons for shaking.
Side effect of medication or other conditions
Dachshunds sometimes shake as a side effect of surgeries, medications, or treatments. Consult your veterinarian to ask about your Dachshund’s specific health care needs.
Very rarely will a Dachshund be diagnosed with GTS, or generalized tremor syndrome. However, it’s good to be aware of this condition.
GTS typically rears its head before a dog is two years old, and it is treatable. The main symptom of GTS is constant shaking for no apparent reason.
Is your Dachshund shaking while sleeping? Make some observations such as how often it’s happening, and how intense the shaking is.
Your pup could simply be dreaming, but if you have concerns, definitely ask a vet for help.
Learned behavior for attention
Lastly, your Dachshund may be shaking because they have learned that if they shake enough, you will pick them up and coddle them!
Shaking can absolutely be a learned behavior when it produces an enticing reward, such as attention from their human.
It’s probably safe to say that your Dachshund shakes from a little bit of everything, hopefully without the pain or health issues, of course!
Generally speaking, a shaking Dachshund is a normal Dachshund!
Why is My Dachshund Trembling?
Trembling differs from shaking in that trembling consists of the entire body aggressively shaking without letting up.
Shaking is typically more subtle, and there are moments of intermittent stillness.
Trembling occurs when a dog is extremely fearful, cold, or anxious.
When a Dachshund trembles, the body can become stiff and their back may go into a hunched position.
Trembling might be your dog’s way of telling you they’re uncomfortable.
While shaking can be a pretty normal behavior, trembling can be a sign of something much more severe.
If your Dachshund is trembling due to cold, use whatever items you have available to get them warm and comfortable.
Dogs experiencing intense cold, especially those with short fur, can become hypothermic.
Why Do Dachshunds Shake Their Ears?
Frequent shaking of the ears, as opposed to the entire body, could indicate that your Dachshund has an ear infection or perhaps even a parasite.
Take a close look at your Dachshund’s ears to see if you notice anything out of the ordinary.
Pests like fleas, ticks and mites are incredibly small, and often can’t be seen with a quick glance.
Allergies can be a common reason why Dachshunds shake their ears.
Allergies and infections can also cause your Dachshund to want to shake their ears.
Redness and swelling can cause irritation and itchiness.
Both allergies and most infections can be treated with medications prescribed or recommended by your vet.
Shaking of the ears is a normal behavior if a dog got a piece of grass or debris stuck in there.
Or maybe you just gave your Doxie a bath, and some water got stuck in the ear canal.
Some Dachshunds flap their ears when they get out of bed or wake up from a nap.
It could be that they are “shaking off the sleepies” like you might when you stretch in the morning or they could be shaking their ears to help dissipate heat.
If your Dachshund only shakes their head when they get up from their bed, this is normal and there is very likely no need to worry. It’s a just a Dachshund thing!
It’s when the shaking becomes constant and bothersome that it’s time to take a closer look.
Why is My Dachshund Shaking Their Head?
If your Dachshund is shaking their entire head more than normal – especially if it looks more like wobbling back and forth – there could be something else going on that needs further examination.
Shaking the whole head could be a sign of a neurological disorder or even an indication that an object got lodged in their ear canal.
Some inflammatory diseases can also cause your Dachshund to shake its entire head.
Head shaking can be dangerous because it can lead to ruptured blood vessels within your Dachshund’s ear.
Since it can potentially be extremely damaging, it’s best to see your vet immediately if you notice your Doxie shaking their head excessively.
Under many circumstances, it’s totally normal for Dachshunds to shake.
You know your Doxie better than anyone, so it’s important to see your vet if you believe the shaking could be related to something more than cold or fear.
Typically it’s fairly easy to determine why your Dachshund may be shaking.
However, if your Dachshund is lethargic and/or in pain and shaking, seek veterinary attention immediately.
About the Author: Through her 17 years of owning and caring for Dachshunds, and almost 10 years researching and writing about them, JW has become a respected expert in the Dachshund community. Read more about her here.