Some dogs often tremble right after a shower.
And it’s quite an alarming sight for parents.
Is this normal?
And how can you stop them from shivering?
Continue reading to learn:
- What makes dogs keep shaking after a bath.
- When you should be worried about this behavior.
- Several things you might be doing without knowing.
- 5 practical tips to put an end to their frequent trembling.
- And so much more…
Table of contents
- Why does my dog shiver after a bath?
- 9 real reasons why dogs shiver after a bath
- How do I get my dog to stop shaking after a bath? 5 tips
Why does my dog shiver after a bath?
Your dog shivers after a bath because of fear, anxiety, excitement, young age, or aging. They may tremble as well due to incorrect water and ambient temperature. As well as other medical reasons like shaker syndrome, injuries, infections, inflammations, and a reaction to flea or tick treatments.
9 real reasons why dogs shiver after a bath
If taking a shower helps relieve our stress…
Well, it could be the exact opposite for most of our furry friends.
Some dogs hate baths. As it happens all of a sudden.
Or, they may dislike the scent of the shampoo. The slippery surface of tubs. And the feeling of just being soaked in water.
So even hearing the word ‘bath’ makes them hide instantly. And bark at you in protest. Like these adorable doggos:
But aside from being uncomfortable…
Canines may have also developed a fear of bath time. To the point where they shiver after taking a bath.
- Increased heart and breathing rate.
- Slower digestion – due to high cortisol level.
Their fear could be due to a previous bad experience. Or linked to ‘storm phobia’ – if your pooch has one.
“How is it connected?”
The sound of running water can trigger this kind of irrational fear. As it may remind them of heavy pouring rain and thunder.
#2: Young age
How old is your pooch?
If they’re a small pup, it’s only normal for them to shiver for a bit after their first baths.
Because at their age, they still have a ‘puppy coat.’ Or a single layer of soft thin fur.
This is why young dogs get cold easily. And the tremors from shaking help them regulate their body heat.
Pups usually lose the baby coat when they’re around 4 to 6 months old based on AKC.
And after shedding, that’s when they’ll get an ‘adult coat.’ Or a thicker layer (double for some breeds) of hair.
Aside from their thin coat…
It’s also natural for puppies to be afraid of baths – especially if it’s their first time. As they have never taken one before.
Showering can be so stressful for them. So after they tremble, they may sleep a lot as well. And appear sluggish for a few minutes.
Note: This could be a crucial stage for them. And it’s when they’ll start forming fears. So, as much as possible, make every bath a wonderful experience for your pooch.
I’ll discuss it shortly. 🙂
Apart from puppies, old dogs might also shiver after baths because they’re cold.
As canines age, regulating their body heat will be difficult for them. Making it hard to adapt to a sudden drop in temperature.
Like what happens after taking a bath.
Senior Fidos with arthritis may also tremble due to joint pains. And there’s also a chance of ‘muscle atrophy.’
“What is it?”
It’s when a dog’s muscles lose strength.
This results in tremors. Especially when their muscles are strained.
And it’s common in old dogs. Because their bodies release less growth hormone at this age.
Plus, they’ll also have trouble breaking down protein. Which is important in repairing muscles.
Note: According to vets, puppies and senior dogs might react to temperatures under 32°F (0°C).
You might also like: Why does my dog sit in the corner?
#4: Incorrect bath temperature
Did you know that dogs have thinner skin than us?
Experts say that our epidermis or outer layer of the skin is 10 to 15 cells thick. While it’s only 3 to 5 cells in canines.
This is why a dog’s skin is more sensitive than ours. So, lukewarm water is recommended when bathing them.
Because if the water is too cold, they’ll definitely shiver – during and after baths.
Which isn’t good. As it can also be a huge shock for your pooch at the start.
But if it’s too hot, they may overheat instead. Or worse, get burns and tremble due to pain. (Poor doggo!)
Interesting fact: It’s known that canines like warm baths. But, when it comes to drinking, research found that they prefer cold water. 59°F (15°C) to be more specific. And it was also said that the weather and room temperature didn’t affect their decision at all.
#5: Low ambient temperature
Does your dog still tremble after a nice warm bath?
If so, it might be because the temperature outside is too cold for them.
Think about it.
Upon taking your pooch out of the shower, they’re still wet. Even after drying them with a towel.
And as water evaporates from their fur, it’ll become cooler. Because molecules take the heat with them as they turn into gas.
So wet fur and a cold room aren’t a good combination. As it’ll make your dog chilly which results in shaking.
Aside from pups and senior Fidos, those who have thin coats. As well as low body fat can also tremble fast due to cold. Say, tiny short-haired Chihuahuas.
Also, shivering is a normal reaction due to the sudden drop in temperature.
If there’s a huge difference between the temperature inside the bathroom. And the adjacent area when they go out.
Note: How cold or warm a room is will depend on a dog’s size and breed. But in general, a study says that it shouldn’t be under 50°F (10°C). And not more than 85°F (29.5°C).
Based on this, you may adjust the room temperature before bathing your dog.
#6: Pent-up energy
Some dogs also love taking baths. And they might shiver not because they’re scared or cold.
But because they’re so happy. (And refreshed!)
They’re shaking with excitement. Plus, they don’t know what to do with it.
So oftentimes, canines will also have zoomies after a nice shower. This is to release their pent-up energy.
Note: Other dogs may also do this to relieve their tension. As they find baths stressful instead.
Don’t forget to check out: 17 Reasons Why Dogs (Suddenly) Act Crazy + Dangers & Tips
However, if they’re trembling too often…
#7: ‘Shaker syndrome’
Do you often see your pooch shake?
And does it also happen even if they didn’t take a bath?
If yes, there’s also a condition where dogs will have tremors. And these can be triggered by excitement, VCA Hospitals says.
It’s called ‘Shaker Syndrome.‘ But you may have heard it as ‘Little White Shaker Syndrome.’
It’s because this condition is mainly observed in white small breeds. Say, Maltese dogs and Poodles.
Although other canines – regardless of color and size – might also have this.
“How can they get this syndrome?”
Up to now, its causes still remain unclear. But, dogs who suffer from this are usually aged 1 to 2 years.
“What are its other signs?”
Canines will have repeated tremors. And these might either affect a part or whole of their body.
Note: This could be treated by Prednisone. As long as it’s in the right dosage prescribed by a vet. And one research found that it can stop tremors as early as day 1.
Dogs are known to be secretive about their illnesses.
So when they’re in pain, they might not vocalize it. (Except when it’s already too much.)
And you can only know if there’s something wrong if they’re doing something odd. Like this – shaking after a bath.
Usually, dogs’ discomfort is due to:
The cold temperature or water may have worsened the pain they’re feeling. Or you’ve touched them where they ache during the bath.
Note: If your dog seems in pain, call your vet about this immediately.
#9: Flea/tick treatments
Did this happen when you bathe your dog with a flea or tick treatment?
If so, it’s likely a side effect of it.
Specialists say that there are ingredients in there that can cause tremors. As well as seizures in some dogs.
These are called pyrethrin and pyrethroid.
Both of them are said to be insecticides. And aside from shaking, exposure to these might also result in:
What to do?
Vets say to quickly wash your dog with lukewarm water. Then dry and keep them snuggled.
They also recommend cleaning them using a mild dishwashing detergent. (e.g., Dawn brand).
But if they ingested some of the treatment, offer your dog a broth. To clean and flush any remnants in their mouth.
Once you’re done, bring them to your vet right away.
How do I get my dog to stop shaking after a bath? 5 tips
#1: Wash and dry them as fast as you can
The shorter their bathtime is…
The less time they’ll suffer from cold.
So, avoid doing this for longer than 10 minutes. Or even less when your dog only needs little washing.
This is extra helpful for pups and old dogs. As they’ll surely get cold even if you prepared a warm bath.
Also, to help you achieve this, make sure to prepare all the things you need beforehand. Such as:
- Clean towels.
- Dog shampoo.
Put these beside you before starting. So your pooch won’t shiver in cold and fear. While waiting for you to get their shampoo or towel.
Some drying reminders
Grab at least 2 clean towels for your dog.
One will be used to absorb most of the water after the bath. And the other will be for finishing or further drying.
Is your pooch afraid of hair dryers or fearful in general?
If not, use it to dry them fast.
But, put it on low settings (power and heat). And keep the nozzle away from them by at least 20 in (50 cm). To not irritate their skin.
#2: Bathe them only when it’s needed
Although we want our dogs to smell nice and be refreshed…
Experts advise bathing them once a month. Or not more than once per week if they have a skin condition.
Because they say that frequent showers can:
- Destroy hair follicles.
- Irritate their sensitive skin.
- Strip away natural oils on their coat.
- Raise chances of fungal/bacterial infections.
Plus, fewer baths will also reduce stress in your dog. Especially if they’re afraid or not fond of it.
“So what can I do if they need some cleaning?”
Instead of baths, you may clean your dog using:
- Damp cloth.
- Dog grooming wipes.
- Dog refreshing sprays.
These will help you when you’re in a hurry. And when your pooch only needs a bit of cleaning.
Note: Active canines may need more baths than dogs who only stay indoors. So do it if it’s really necessary. Just keep the other tips in this article in mind before doing so.
#3: Make baths less stressful
If you have a puppy or a fearful dog, it’s best to avoid anything that may startle them during baths. Or doing things that can make them uncomfortable.
These are usually the cause of their shivering. Aside from the cold temperature.
So how could you ensure that they’re going to have a good time?
Raise the temperature: Both in the bathroom and adjacent area. To create a warm comfy environment. And avoid a sudden drop in temperature after taking a bath.
Check the water temperature: See to it that it’s lukewarm. Do this by spraying water on the back of your hand. As it’s more sensitive than the other areas of our body.
Block the shower nozzle using your hand: Avoid spraying directly on your dog or pup. This is to prevent them from getting scared by the water pressure. As well as its loud sounds.
You can let go of it once their body is fully wet. Or if they have calmed down.
Fill the tub first: This is if you’re going to use a bathtub. Put lukewarm water in first before you place your dog inside. Also…
Put a towel on the bottom of the tub: It has a slippery surface and dogs will have trouble standing up. And feel unsafe. So lay a towel under to provide traction.
#4: Soothe their nerves
10 minutes can still be quite stressful for some dogs.
So for this, prepare some treats as well. And talk to your pooch in a sweet manner.
Attach a lick pad on a nearby wall. Where your pooch usually faces. And put tasty sticky treats in there. Say, peanut butter.
This is to keep them distracted. And happy at the same time. Because well, who can’t resist treats?
Next, speak to your dog while bathing them. Say praises like, “Good boy/girl.”
But do this in a soothing voice. To help reassure them that everything’s alright.
Lastly, gently stroke your pooch before and during the shower. As a touch from their human has also a calming effect on canines.
#5: Give them something to snuggle with
Drying with towels and a hairdryer isn’t enough to prevent dogs from shaking. As the cold air in the room may still give them shivers.
What can you do?
- Provide your dog a sweater once they’re fully dry. (Old Fidos will love this!)
- Prepare a blanket or warm towels for them to snuggle with. Put the towel in the microwave. And heat for about 30 to 40 minutes. Then touch it to test it first before giving it to your dog.
- Give them a heating pad for dogs.
Or, just stay beside them and snuggle them by yourself.
After all, the heat and soothing effect that we give off is still the best. 🙂
#BONUS: Monitor them closely
It’s normal for dogs to tremble for a while after a bath. Because they either feel cold or anxious.
But if your pooch has been shaking for so long. And if they also do this at other times, it won’t hurt to ask a vet online.
Or bring them to the clinic asap to know their real condition.