Why Do Boston Terriers Shiver?

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Why do Boston Terriers shiver after they play outside, once you arrive home, or even after they eat something? Is this normal trembling, or should we feel concerned about their health? Let’s see what causes Boston Terriers to shake and what we can do to help them. 

Why Do Boston Terriers Shiver?

Boston Terriers shiver due to various reasons, including excitement, stress, cold temperatures, or medical issues. While shaking can be a normal response to some behavioral and environmental elements, some health concerns can make trembling an alarming sign.

While there are some things we can do to control the shaking, let’s first determine the various reasons why Boston Terriers tremble.

Boston Terrier shivering while walking in the snow

Behavioral and Environmental Causes

As dogs can only communicate through barking and their body language, shaking their bodies is one way for them to tell us what they’re feeling. These are typical reasons why Boston Terriers shiver. 

Pent-Up Energy

Coming from a bloodline of Terrier hunters, Boston Terriers like to remain active. They release energy through exercise and play. However, Boston Terriers may resort to uncontrollable shaking if there’s no outlet for them to burn that energy.  


Remember when your Boston Terrier can’t sometimes contain its excitement after you come home from work or school? Dogs would show that excitement by barking, wagging their tails, and shaking their bodies.

This kind of movement may also be similar to when dogs go in circles and wiggle their butts before finding their usual urinating spots. This kind of trembling is typical and shouldn’t be a cause of concern unless it’s affecting their way of life.

Nervousness and Anxiety

Small dogs like Boston Terriers tend to suffer from nervousness and separation anxiety. They may feel anxious and shiver when you need to leave them at home, or they see other animals as threats.

Furthermore, dogs also have fears. Some of them shiver due to fireworks, thunder, or loud noises. When they shake because of these reasons, they would also normally flatten their ears and hide their tails between the legs.


Boston Terriers use shaking to deal with stress, with about 42-58% of dogs reacting to stress by hiding or withdrawing. Shedding, scratching, licking, drooling, and urinary accidents may also happen.

Cold Temperature

Boston Terriers don’t fare well in cold temperatures because of their thin and short fur. As a breed with a single-layered coat, they don’t have the extra layer of protection that bigger dogs have. 

Boston Terrier being taken on a walk

As a result, their bodies shiver as a response to cool air. Shaking their bodies is their way of generating heat and warming the bones.

Medical Issues That Cause Shaking in Boston Terriers 

Boston Terriers can tremble for a number of reasons, and one of them is because it’s probably a symptom or effect of these conditions. Keep in mind that Boston Terriers in pain may manifest that feeling through shivers.

  • Brachycephalic Syndrome: Boston Terriers have flat faces, causing them to have smaller nostrils. In effect, they tend to suffer from breathing problems with a bit of shaking.
  • Distemper: A common tremor in dogs caused by a virus. It usually happens in puppies and adolescent dogs without full vaccination.
  • Poisoning: Shivering can also mean your Boston Terrier encountered something toxic, such as human medications, human food, and cleaning materials. There are about 214,000 cases of pet poisoning in America every year. 
  • Hypoglycemia: Intense physical activities can cause Boston Terriers to have a drop in blood sugar. When this happens, they experience hypoglycemia, which often comes with trembling. 

Ways to Help Boston Terriers Stop Trembling

While Boston Terriers can calm themselves after some time, there are still ways for you to help them lessen shivering. These tips are only applicable to behavioral and environmental triggers of shaking. 

  • Discipline training: Keep your greetings calm and short, as showing excitement can only encourage Boston Terriers to be more hyper. Teach sitting commands, then praise your pet or give it a treat once it settles down.
  • Body wraps: If the shivering is due to nervousness or anxiety, you can try doing a body wrap to help your dog feel safer. The wrap’s sense of security allows Boston Terriers to become aware of their bodies rather than what’s happening around them. 
  • Teach independence: Teach your Boston Terrier how to engage in activities even when you’re not around. Put a chew toy near you and let your pet play with it. Gradually place it further away from you until your dog learns how to do things without you.  
  • Provide warm bed and clothes: Make your Boston Terrier wear some clothes, especially if you notice that the temperature is too cold, causing your pet to shiver. You can also provide a bed with a blanket for your dog to have a comfortable space to rest. 
  • Exercise with your pet: Aside from playing fetch, you can exercise with your pet by jogging. Boston Terriers need at least 30 to 60 minutes of physical activities per day to burn their energy and control body shakes.  
Boston Terrier

When to Seek Veterinary Help 

Take your Boston Terriers to the vet if you observe that your Boston Terrier is trembling more than usual, and the shivering comes with breathing issues, nose discharge, vomiting, or lethargy. If home remedies aren’t working, there is a chance a more serious condition is the cause. 

Some shivers are signs of underlying or new health problems, and they would require medical treatment. Make sure to pay attention to signs and follow medications or course of treatment that the vet would recommend.  

Related Questions

Before we end, let’s answer some queries in relation to why Boston Terriers shiver. 

Is It Normal for Boston Terriers to Snort? 

It’s common for Boston Terriers to snort because they experience throat spasm. Also called backward sneezing, snorting results either in prolonged or rapid inspirations. 

Why Do Boston Terriers Sleep Under the Covers? 

Due to their short coat, Boston Terriers sleep under the covers to get warmth. They also like snuggling beside their humans to show affection.


In understanding why do Boston Terriers shiver, it’s important that we are aware of the environmental factors that may influence our pet’s behaviors. We should also learn about medical issues with shaking symptoms. In this way, we can act accordingly and ensure our dogs stay healthy and safe.