Why Does Your Boston Terrier Shake, Shiver And Tremble?

If you have a Boston Terrier, you may notice it shiver, tremble and shake. This isn’t the kind of shaking because they’re wet or from scratching themselves. These are tremor-like movements abnormal to their usual state.

This can be concerning and startling, especially if it began out of the blue. So, it’s important to determine if this is going to be a new normal behavior or if there’s some underlying cause.

Why Do Boston Terriers Shake?

Before making an appointment for the vet, evaluate your dog and observe their shaking. Consider factors in the environment, any medications they’re taking, or any conditions they experience.

Although shaking is common for Boston Terriers, it isn’t necessarily normal, and many reasons could be behind this kind of shaking. In general, there are three cause classifications for shaking in dogs:  physical, medical, and behavioral.

What Physical & Behavioral Conditions Can Cause Shaking?

Sometimes, a Boston Terrier will begin shaking because it’s overly excited or it’s cold. But, shaking could be due to anxiety or because they’re in pain.

Anxiety & Excitement

Whether your Boston Terrier shakes because it’s anxious or excited, neither cause will require treatment. It’s common for them to do this because the emotions are simply overwhelming. Any amount of mental arousal will almost always cause them to shiver.

Fear is a response that aids in survival and is part of the flight-or-fight response. So, when they start shaking, the information goes to the amygdala, the part of the brain that deals with emotion. This, in turn, creates a release of cortisol and adrenaline, which will almost always show as shivering.

So, you may notice trembling when you come home from work or because they get upset by another animal. They could be nervous or fearful, regardless of whether the threat is real or not. Most Boston Terriers experience anxiety from any one of the following:

  • General Anxiety
  • Separation Anxiety
  • Loud Noises, Yelling or Intrusive Vibrations
  • Thunderstorms

They’re Cold

If you can verify your Boston Terrier displays no other concerning symptoms, and there are no new stressors, then they’re probably just cold. Dogs can shiver the same as humans do to keep warm. In more severe cases, they can suffer from hypothermia if cold for too long.

They’re In Pain

Trembling could also be a sign that your precious little Boston Terrier is in pain. This will be especially true if they’re older. Dogs don’t always vocalize their pain and often endure it, so the only noticeable sign might be in their shaking. They do this because of trauma, inflammation, or infection.

If you are not aware of anything like this or if the dog isn’t old, take the Boston Terrier to the vet as soon as possible. It’s not a good idea to leave this problem alone or ignore it. There could be other underlying medical conditions causing the tremors.

What Medical Conditions Can Cause Shaking?

There are a plethora of medical reasons that can be causing the dog to shake. If you can determine the trembling goes beyond physical or behavioral reasons, it’s time to call the vet. The conditions listed below are most common for Boston Terriers.

Cerebellar Hypoplasia

This is a common condition in Boston Terrier puppies when they first start to walk, and it is hereditary. Cerebellar Hypoplasia means the dog has incomplete cerebellum development, which inhibits their coordination and voluntary muscle movement. The signs include falling, limb tremors, and head bobbing.


If your Boston Terrier is a puppy and hasn’t had all its vaccines yet, they could be experiencing a canine virus called Distemper. This can be a fatal condition that attacks the nervous, respiratory and gastrointestinal systems. Shivering and trembling are common signs that also incorporate things like:

  • Coughing
  • Eye discharge
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Nose discharge
  • Reduced appetite
  • Vomiting

Ear Infections

When you notice your Boston Terrier shaking their head or scratching their ears more often than usual, it could mean it has an ear infection. If the shaking or scratching occurs in conjunction with whimpering or holding their ears with their paws, call the vet to make sure.


If your dog has low blood sugar or Hypoglycemia, the muscles can seize and twitch.  Although you should take your Boston Terrier to the vet to verify this diagnosis, giving him some food or a treat might help stop the shaking.

Illness & Fever

Like humans, Boston Terriers can get sick and feel under the weather.  This will be especially true if they’ve been under a lot of stress for an extended period of time or if they’ve experienced cold weather for too long.  In most instances, it will clear up on its own after a few days.

But, if the symptoms don’t improve after three days, you should take it to the vet.

Nausea & Vomiting

An upset stomach or vomiting from things like motion sickness or overeating may not be cause for alarm. But nausea is usually an extension of another problem like medication contraindications, vaccine injury, kidney disease, or liver issues.

Only you know your dog, so think long and hard about any recent trip to the vet that could be causing this. If they are salivating, have frequent swallowing, smack their lips, or have profuse vomiting, it could very well mean something else is wrong.


Ingesting toxic substances or consuming too much medicine will cause poisoning in a dog and could be the reason for shaking. While symptoms will vary, seizing and tremors are major indicators.

If the dog accidentally eats things like tobacco, chocolate, or xylitol, it can cause them to shake. In the event you think toxicity occurred, take the dog to an emergency clinic right away.

It may be tempting to give the dog water but don’t. Water could worsen the condition or increase poisoning depending on the ingested toxin.


Rabies is a fatal yet preventable disease that can pass on to humans and other animals. If your dog’s demeanor is markedly mean, it’s shaking, and you notice oral foaming, it has rabies. It’s important that you get your puppy vaccinated as soon as possible to prevent this from happening.

Because once rabies takes hold, you have to put the dog down. There is no cure for rabies when it sets in.


Unfortunately, many Boston Terriers can and do suffer from epilepsy. This is a neurological condition that results in jerking, collapsing, and shaking. Some dogs even appear as though their swimming in the air. Although not painful, it can cause injury because of the falling or because they get hit with objects in the process.

Steroid Responsive Tremor Syndrome

Also known as Generalized Tremor Syndrome (GTS), this condition is still under great amounts of study. No one knows why this happens, but there are theories connecting it to an autoimmune disorder and shows itself as repetitive, involuntary, and rhythmic shaking. It could only happen in one body area or occur throughout its entire body.

How Can You Help Stop Your Boston Terrier From Shaking?

When you see your dog shivering and trembling, there are some things you can do to help it cope a little better. Nothing is for certain, but little things can alleviate some of it.

Give It Warmth

If you know the dog is cold, try getting it a sweater, a coat, or a body wrap called a Thunder Shirt. These will help keep the Boston Terrier nice and toasty warm.

Try Some Treats

If you know the dog suffers from Hypoglycemia, or it’s simply cold, then give it some food or treats. The digestive activity will warm the dog from the inside out. In the case it’s suffering from extended exposure to cold weather, try to warm their food a little.

Calm The Dog

When stressed, scared, or anxious, it’s important to calm and reassure your Boston Terrier. Gentle stroking and soft-spoken words will do the trick. Put it in its favorite spot, like a bed or the couch, and spend some time with the dog. Bring the dog its favorite toys or other items that you know makes it happy.

When In Doubt

If you’ve tried everything you can and the shaking is ruining your dog’s quality of life, it’s important to get it to the vet as soon as possible. Don’t take any chances with the health of your Boston Terrier.

What Should You Avoid Doing?

There are several things you can avoid doing to help reduce or mitigate your Boston Terrier’s shaking. Especially if you know it’s due to more benign reasons; it’s imperative you take your lifestyle into account.

First and foremost, be mindful of what you do around the dog. Second, if you suspect a serious medical issue is underfoot, do not put off taking the dog to the vet.

Watch What You Leave Out

Don’t leave food and medications lying around in ways and areas the dog can access. Keep chocolate and other inappropriate food up and away from the reach of your Boston Terrier.

Also, certain plants, grasses, and flowers might make them sick if they munch on them. Make sure you keep these out of the dog’s visibility if at all possible.

Indoor Noises

Don’t play loud music, and be mindful of family arguments. Music can not only be loud, but it can create vibrations that accost a Boston Terrier’s constitution. This can be incredibly stressful for the dog and may extend to other health conditions too.

Fighting, yelling, and constant bickering in the household will also cause the Boston Terrier to experience anxiety. It isn’t healthy for anyone, especially a dog. If you have to, get counseling.

Storms & Fireworks

Sometimes, thunderstorms and fireworks can terrify Boston Terriers. So, it’s important to reassure the dog. Stay close by and give it gentle strokes and love. If you have to, play music or a movie, but make sure the noise won’t compound the stress. Something with easy listening and little bass should do fine.

Want To Train Your Boston Terrier With Peace Of Mind?

If you haven’t trained your Boston Terrier properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your shepherd has, whether it’s barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.

The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.

With Brain Training For Dogs, you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact, you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.

So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!

And in most cases, it’s still going to be:

  • Cheaper than hiring a professional.
  • Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
  • And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.

Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to trust your Boston Terrier completely and never worry whether they’ll be naughty or not. Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT.

And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try!

So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results!

(You can also check out a full review here to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)


Boston Terriers are famous for shivering, trembling, and shaking. Most of the time, there’s no cause for alarm, and it’s only the nature of your Boston Terrier. You should be able to quell much of the shivering.

But, you should keep an eye on it to ensure the dog doesn’t do it at other inexplicable times. This is because certain health conditions can and will make them tremor. When in doubt, though, take your dog to the vet.