5 Reasons Why Your Puppy Shivers When Falling Asleep And When To Worry

We recently received this question from one of our readers; Puppy shivers when falling asleep, should I worry? 

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Why does my puppy shiver when falling asleep?

Your puppy may shiver when falling asleep due to several reasons. It may be shivering due to dreams, extreme cold, pain, or anxiety. Your puppy may also be shivering when falling asleep due to an illness. If it’s an illness, there’s a high chance you will notice other symptoms besides shivering.

When you own a pet, you must be keen to monitor the health of that pet. Being responsible will help you to identify any problems that the pet may face. If you do this early enough, you are going to correct problems that could be very serious at a later time.

As a puppy owner, you will sometimes notice some strange behaviors in your puppy. And, one of these strange behaviors is shivering or shaking as it falls asleep. The shivering can be happening throughout the puppy’s body or be concentrated in one particular area. When your puppy starts shivering, it means that it is suffering or it is in pain, for one reason or the other, but there are other reasons too.

And this begs the question, what may cause a puppy to shiver when falling asleep? Is it something that should worry you? Well, we’ve researched further on this issue, and consulted various sources. 

We’ve also interacted with some veteran vets in the course of our research. And, here’s what we found out. 

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Why a Puppy Shivers when Falling Asleep

Seeing your puppy shivering as it falls asleep can be alarming. Also, you may be confused as to whether it’s something common or an issue that may need a vet’s intervention. 

Well, here are some of the most common reasons why your puppy may be shaking while sleeping.


Your puppy may be shivering when falling asleep due to dreams. Puppies tend to twitch, tremble and shake when they are dreaming. 

For instance, your puppy may be dreaming about chasing a rabbit in the yard. And, that dream will make them excited, thus causing trembling or shaking.

If you notice rapid eye movement or movement under the puppy’s lids, then this may be an indication of REM sleep. Puppies experience brief moments of REM sleep. And, each period lasts about a minute or so.

And, these REM periods will recur after every 10 minutes while the puppy is asleep. During these REM periods, you may notice the puppy twitching and trembling. 

And, there’s nothing much to worry about and you don’t necessarily need to consult a vet if this is the issue.

The Puppy is Cold

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Puppies can become chilled quite fast especially if they are in a room with extremely low temperatures or one with a draft. As they are still growing, they are yet to develop enough body fat or muscle to keep them warm. 

Last year, I noticed that my puppy would shiver a lot in the midst of the winter, and I made a spirited attempt to make it warm. 

As a matter of fact, I ensured that the heating would serve both my puppy and I, something that turned out to be successful.

In light of this, puppies will develop some sort of a shivering reflex, designed to help keep their bodies warm during their earlier years. 

Your puppy needs an average temperature of approximately 750F.

So, you should make sure your puppy is warm enough when they are going to bed. Alternatively, you can provide them with a heating pad. By making these adjustments, your puppy will be toasty as they fall asleep and they won’t shiver.

Pain from Injury

If your puppy was playing aggressively a few hours before their bedtime, they may have injured themselves in the process.

And, you may not have noticed that injury. They may then stretch accidentally if the injury is a sprain or rub the wound against the bedding.

And, this will result in pain, making the puppy tremble or shiver. However, if this is the case, the puppy may also have a harder time falling asleep. Also, they may shiver when your puppy wakes up.


Your puppy may also shiver when falling asleep due to anxiety, caused by loud noises. If there are loud noises caused by fireworks, thunder, or loud music in the apartment building, you may notice your puppy shaking or shivering as it falls asleep. 

However, the shivering and shaking may stop completely once the puppy falls asleep. 


Your puppy may also be trembling when falling asleep due to illness. Some of the common illnesses that may cause the puppy to tremble, shiver or shake when falling asleep include:

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Similar to human beings, dogs can also suffer from nausea.

And, this may be caused by certain medications, motion sickness, eating something toxic or eating too much food. Your puppy may also get nausea from liver or kidney diseases, among others.

If your puppy is shivering when falling asleep, then it may also be a sign of nausea. However, nausea is also accompanied by other symptoms like lip smacking, listlessness, yawning, hiding, vomiting and swallowing. 

So, if your puppy is shivering and presenting these symptoms, there’s a possibility of nausea.


Distemper is a common illness among puppies that’s caused by a virus. It affects puppies that are yet to be fully vaccinated.

And, distemper is also a common cause of shivering in puppies. This illness is also accompanied by other symptoms like nose and eye discharge, coughing and fever. If your puppy is suffering from this disease, then you should consult a vet, since it can easily escalate when not treated on time.


Some poisons and toxins can also cause shivering and tremors in dogs. And, some of these substances may be harmless to human beings.

For example, if your puppy ingests chocolate or cigarettes, these substances may cause shivering. Also, snail bites may also cause convulsions and tremors in puppies.

However, a wide range of other symptoms like depression, vomiting, disorientation, diarrhea, and general malaise will also accompany poisoning.

So, if your puppy has ingested something potentially poisonous, they may present these symptoms.

When to Consult a Veterinarian

Puppies may shiver when falling asleep due to all sorts of reasons. And, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s something serious. 

If the puppy falls asleep immediately without any other issues and sleeps soundly until the following morning, there’s no cause for worry.

However, the shivering and trembling may also be a symptom of a serious illness. 

If your puppy presents other symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, limping, mouth and nose discharge, eye discharge, lethargy, reduced appetite, coughing, fever, overeating, salivating excessively, swallowing frequently, lip smacking, or yawning, then it may be an indication of something serious. 

In such a case, it will be highly to consult a physician.

Key Takeaways

  • Puppies may sometimes shiver when falling asleep
  • Puppies shivering when falling asleep may be caused by dreams, cold or anxiety
  • Puppies may shiver when falling asleep due to illness
  • You should consult a vet if your puppy has other symptoms besides shivering

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