Why Is My Boston Terrier Shaking? Should I Be Concerned?

Have you noticed that your Boston Terrier is shaking or trembling? 

There are many different reasons that your Boston may be shaking. While shaking may be normal behavior, it can also be a sign of serious illness.

Why Is My Boston Terrier Shaking? Should I Be Concerned?

My Boston Terrier Is Shaking, Should I Be Worried?

It can be worrisome to notice your Boston Terrier suddenly starts to shake. Especially if it is something you have never seen before, shaking or trembling can be a startling symptom.

There are many possible causes of shaking in your Boston. It is important to determine if the shaking is normal behavior or abnormal behavior, so you know when to contact a veterinarian.

Why Is My Boston Terrier Shaking? Should I Be Concerned?

Causes & Symptoms For Shaking

1. Your Boston Terrier Is Cold 

Bostons do not have thick fur coats. Because of this, they can quickly get cold, especially in the winter.

If you notice that your Boston is only shivering and shaking when it is cold outside, likely, the shaking can easily be explained by the temperature.

For more Boston Terrier clothes ideas visit Boston Terrier Society’s winter clothes article.

2. Your Boston Terrier Is Excited

Bostons can be very excitable dogs! If you notice that your Boston only shakes when they are excited, this can be a typical behavior that may not need any treatment.

Here are 7 Tips To Calm A Hyper Boston Terrier.

3. Your Boston Terrier Is Anxious

Fear and nervousness can cause dogs to shake and tremble. Often, dogs will shake when they are feeling anxious.

Here are some causes of shaking in dogs that are related to anxiety

  • Separation Anxiety
  • Thunderstorm Phobia
  • Noise Aversion (fear of loud noises)
  • Generalized Anxiety
Why Is My Boston Terrier Shaking? Should I Be Concerned?

4. Your Boston Terrier Has An Ear Infection

If your Boston Terrier is shaking their head excessively, this could be a sign of an ear infection.

If your Boston is shaking their head, you should schedule an appointment with a veterinarian to get their ears checked.

5. Your Boston Terrier Is Sick

Many diseases can cause shaking in dogs. Only a veterinarian will be able to determine if the cause of shaking is secondary to one of these diseases. 

Some of the disease that may cause shaking include

  • Steroid Responsive Tremor Syndrome
  • Liver Disease
  • Hypoglycemia 
  • Cancer
  • Idiopathic Head Tremors
  • Rabies
  • Distemper

6. Your Boston Terrier Is Having A Seizure

Is your Boston responding to your voice while they are shaking? If not, this may be a sign that your dog is having a seizure. 

If your Boston Terrier is unresponsive, get them to the emergency vet right away.

7. Your Boston Terrier Ate Something Toxic

Oops! Did your Boston just eat something it wasn’t supposed to?

There are certain toxins that dogs can ingest that will cause shaking. If you suspect your Boston has eaten something toxic, it is crucial to call your vet right away. 

Time is of the essence when your pet has ingested something toxic.

Another helpful resource if you suspect your pet has eaten something toxic is the Pet Poison Helpline.

Common Food Toxins Your Boston Terrier Should Avoid

1. Chocolate

Chocolate contains a compound called theobromine, which is toxic to dogs. The amount of theobromine that is poisonous to dogs depends on the type of chocolate, with darker chocolates being more dangerous. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and seizures.

2. Coffee

Coffee also contains theobromine, as well as caffeine, both of which are toxic to dogs. Symptoms of coffee poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, and seizures.

3. Alcohol

Alcohol is poisonous to dogs and can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and seizures. In severe cases, alcohol poisoning can lead to coma and death.

4. Grapes and raisins

Grapes and raisins contain compounds that are toxic to dogs and can cause kidney damage. Symptoms of grape or raisin poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, and lethargy.

5. Xylitol

Xylitol is a sugar substitute that is toxic to dogs. It can be found in sugar-free gum, candy, baked goods, and some toothpastes. Symptoms of xylitol poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, seizures, and coma.

Video Of Veterinarian Explaining Why Boston Terriers Shake

In this video, Dr. Reinhard talks about shaking in Boston Terriers.

In this video, Dr. Addie Reinhard talks about why your Boston Terrier might be shaking.

Solutions If Your Boston Terrier Is Shaking

Is there an easy fix to your Boston Terrier’s shaking? 


If you are concerned that the shaking may be secondary to nervousness, you could try a thunder shirt. 

These body wraps have been shown to help some dogs feel safer. A body wrap like this could be an excellent product to try if the symptoms of shaking are mild, and you suspect they are due to nervousness.

Offer A Tasty Treat

Also, if your dog is scared, another helpful resource is treats. 

If you suspect your Boston is shaking because they are scared, try offering them their favorite treat or a treat-filled Kong. Often, this can help distract your Boston, so they focus on the treat instead of the thing that is scaring them.

A few days ago, I was upstairs, and suddenly, a bolt of lightning struck a few hundred feet from my house. Roaring thunder followed immediately after. I ran downstairs to find my dog shaking more than I have ever seen before.

Even as a veterinarian, it made me nervous to see my dog shaking so intensely! Yet, the loud thunder was the obvious explanation. I comforted my dog and offered her a tasty treat, and she quickly forgot about the noise and stopped violently shaking.

Try A Sweater

If you notice your Boston is shaking more often when it is cold, consider getting your Boston a sweater or pajamas to wear. 

Not only will this help keep your Boston warm, but it has the added benefit of making your Boston more stylish!

When In Doubt, Call the Vet

As a veterinarian, my number one recommendation for pet owners when a new strange symptom occurs is to contact a vet.

One of the most helpful things you can do to help your veterinarian determine the cause of the shaking is to record a video

Many times, by the time you arrive at the veterinary clinic, the shaking has already stopped. If you have a video of the shaking, this can help your vet more easily determine the cause.

Why Is My Boston Terrier Shaking? Should I Be Concerned?

When Is the Right Time To Call A Veterinarian?

Here are six reasons when you should call your veterinarian right away.

1. There are other concerning symptoms occurring with the shaking.

Anytime there are other symptoms associated with shaking, it would be a good idea to talk with a veterinarian.

Here are a few symptoms that indicate that you should call your veterinarian right away

  • Not Eating
  • Not Drinking
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Strange Eye Movements
  • Stumbling
  • Seizures

2. The Shaking Is Persistent Or More Than Just Mild.

While there are several things that you can try at home to help with your Boston’s shaking, if the shaking is severe or persistent, it may be time to call a veterinarian.

3. The Shaking Is A New Symptom.

Anytime you notice a new symptom in your Boston, you should consider discussing it with a veterinarian. 

Especially if the shaking starts suddenly and doesn’t have an obvious explanation, it is important to consult with your veterinarian.

4. The Shaking Is Unexplained By Normal Factors.

Is there an easy explanation for your Boston’s shaking? 

If your Boston is so excited every time you come home that she is shaking a lot, this can be a very normal behavior.

Is there a thunderstorm in the area or 4th of July fireworks? Your dog may just be nervous.

Why Is My Boston Terrier Shaking? Should I Be Concerned?

5. The Shaking Affects Your Boston’s Quality Of Life.

If you feel that your Boston’s shaking affects his or her quality of life, then it may be time to call a veterinarian.

If the shaking is secondary to anxiety, there are medications that a veterinarian can prescribe to help with your Boston’s symptoms.

If the shaking is secondary to another disease, there may be treatments that can help decrease the shaking that is causing your Boston Terrier discomfort.

6. You Are Worried.

If you are anxious about your Boston’s shaking, it would be a good idea to talk to a veterinarian. 

Your veterinarian can do a physical exam and run diagnostic tests that can help rule out more serious illnesses and put your mind at ease.

Concluding Recommendations

Shaking in Boston Terriers is a common symptom. It can be a normal behavior or a serious health condition.

While there may be an easy fix for your Boston’s shaking, like putting on a sweater if your Boston is cold, there are also many other serious health conditions that can only be assessed and treated by a licensed veterinarian.

If you are concerned about your Boston’s shaking, especially if the shaking occurs along with other symptoms, appears to be severe, or starts suddenly with no obvious explanation, it may be a good idea to consult with a veterinarian.

For your veterinary appointment, don’t forget to bring along a video of your Boston’s shaking if you have one. A video can really help veterinarians figure out why your Boston is shaking.


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Addie Reinhard, DVM

Addie Reinhard, DVM- Dr. Addie Reinhard is an experienced small animal veterinarian. She is a Boston Terrier lover and always enjoys caring for her Boston patients at the veterinary clinic. She is passionate about providing helpful educational resources to pet parents regarding animal diseases and preventative care. She lives in Lexington, KY with her husband, greyhound, and four cats.

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