Why Is My French Bulldog Shaking?

I’ve written a bit about this subject before but it seems to me that French Bulldog owners encounter (and worry) about this more than other breeds. So, it got me wondering whether French Bulldogs are more likely to shake than other breeds or whether the owners were perhaps just more inclined to worry more than others! Anyway, on to the point

Why is my French Bulldog shaking? Your French Bulldog is most likely shaking because they are either cold, nervous, stressed, suffering from anxiety, very excited or in pain. These possibilities are examined in this article and also what you should do about them.

First Thoughts

After all, there are numerous reasons why a dog may shake. The problem with pets is they can’t tell us what’s wrong. Or can they? Well, no – they really can’t but we can find the answer more times than not with a little bit of Sherlock Holmes detective work. Let’s look at the possible reasons:

  • Could it be that they’re nervous about something happening?
  • Could it be that an individual makes them nervous?
  • Might anxiety be a problem?
  • Hopefully not, but do you think they might be in pain?

Or could they just be cold? It may seem like it’s the most obvious one to you and there’s a good reason for that! Is your little Frenchie just feeling the cold?


Sometimes, there can be several reasons. For instance, there are few dogs that aren’t scared of fireworks, therefore they will show signs of being nervous and anxious around any dates where fireworks are let off. I don’t mean on the 3rd of July each year your Bully will start trying to find places to hide 🙂 They may be intelligent but that’s pushing it. They do however associate actions with feelings and if you’re lighting sparklers or she hears a bang from outside then it may trigger an emotional response. Perhaps surprisingly, one of the best things you can do here is to not make a fuss out of it. Ignore the fireworks and the noise yourself. Obviously, if you’re going to go out and set off a few rockets then it won’t help and it’s difficult to avoid if you have a family I know. I’ve found the children understand if you tell them the reason you don’t want to set any off this year. Anyway, if you make a fuss then the dog will detect a change of behavior, which it won’t like and can add to the anxious feelings.


These feeling can induce shaking and as you can understand from the above, we have a combination of negative feelings all related to one event. Although I would try other methods first, there is medication that can be administered to a dog that suffers from excessive symptoms related to anxiety and nerves so if you feel your dog exhibits these traits then speak to your vet. My thoughts on this are always to try a natural route first, if you can fix the problem by simply not setting off fireworks then maybe you already know what you should do.

Another thing to look out for is whether they are also panting? This could be a sign that they are stressed and possibly in discomfort. This is where (whilst being cautious not to make them even more anxious) you should carefully examine your dog to see if there are any obvious problems with limbs, maybe a fracture? Are they reluctant to move? If your dog does move but appears to be off-balance, this could be a problem related to a spine-related issue and you should contact your vets for further advice asap.

Is Your French Bulldog In Pain?

If there aren’t any obvious reasons for the shaking, then there’s a chance she’s in discomfort. I’d suggest at this point for you to contact your vet, describe the symptoms and ask if they can prescribe pain-relief or anti-inflammatory medication. One really useful tip to remember when dealing with your vet is to no make assumptions and provide as much information to them as you can. Remember, most of us have mobile phones so let’s use them. Take a video of your dog and show it (or send it) to the vet if you can’t get down there. The simplest advice though is to always deal with these problems as naturally as possible but there’s a limit to how far you’ll be able to go. If you think she’s in pain then help her in the same way that you give yourself a tablet when you have a headache.

Take Her Temperature

Take the temperature of your dog. It’s worth getting a thermometer anyway as you’re bound to require it on at least half a dozen times throughout its life and better to have one at-hand than have to go out when your little Bully is poorly and have to find one. If you do, then great! If you don’t, then take a look at the only thermometer I’d really recommend on Amazon (opens in a new tab) – I don’t recommend much but you’ll see from the reviews how good this one is. They might not like where it has to go (I don’t blame them) to get that temperature but it’s very quick and very accurate so please do consider having one handy.

A normal temperature for a dog is between 37.8°C (100°F) and 39.3°C (102.7°F), if it’s above this upper limit then you should consider calling a vet. If it’s not and you can’t see any obvious problems and the only symptom is that your dog is shaking, it most likely wouldn’t do any harm to give it 24 hours to see if they get better. learned is assuming they are drinking, eating and walking – if they aren’t doing these three things then call the vets, describe the symptoms and ask for advice. Likewise, if they have shown no sign of recovery after 24 hours, play it safe and contact your vet.

Remember though, your French Bulldog has trouble regulating its temperature because of its small nose. Sometimes, it might need a little help from you 🙂

It should be noted though that there are other reasons why a dog may shiver. Perhaps he has learned this behavior achieves a certain result? You may not think this possible but dogs are clever. If previously they have exhibited this behavior and you’ve spoilt them with treats and cuddles (err depending on the size) then they may associate this behavior with that response. Unlikely perhaps in most situations but think about it, has this happened before? It’s best not to assume this is the case but if a pattern emerges it’s definitely worth considering.

Is Your French Bulldog Excited?

French Bulldog with ball

If your bully is over-stimulated then this can cause a reaction that manifest in shivering. This usually happens when it’s time to go out and play/walkies but has been known to happen at other times. If this happens, sit with them for a bit and just let them calm down – make sure you stay relaxed also and don’t become over-stimulated yourself!

Is She Just Getting a Bit Old?

He’d hate me to mention this but my Dad is approaching 80 now and his hands are starting to shake a bit. It happens when you get a bit older (more experienced is what he’d say) and it can happen to your dog also. When dogs get older it is also more likely they will have problems that manifest in physical shaking. Some old-age related shaking is even expected and can be down to joint pains but don’t assume it’s always related to their age. Are you walking them too hard? Remember they’re not as young as they used to be (I know the feeling) and maybe they shouldn’t be exercised as much as you think. Try a shorter walk, if they’re up to it and see how they respond.

How Cold Is Your House?

I live in a house that doesn’t have particularly good insulation (it’s a couple of hundred years old) and I think over time, you just get used to the cold more. So, you might get a little comfort out of the fact that the majority of cases when dogs are shivering are simply because they are a bit too cold! Turn your heating on or cover them partly with a blanket. Obviously, this is much more likely for dogs with little or no hair!

A little tip here, an easy way to tell is to gently touch the inside of the ear. Don’t stick your hand in far –  just the underside. If it feels cold to the touch, then the dog is cold. Give her a cuddle.

If you can’t turn the heat up in the house, find the dogs favorite resting place (where they feel safe) and make it into a bit of a camp. Put some blankets (not new, make sure they smell of the house and/or of you) down and make sure they’re cozy. If you do this it won’t take long for them to warm up! They will at this point probably just go to sleep and hopefully, the shaking will stop.

Test their temperature again after an hour with the ear technique to see if it has made any difference and continue monitoring. Fingers crossed this is the answer, it’s the simplest and easiest to fix 🙂

So, don’t panic (that will only stress the dog out more if that’s the problem) – but just step through the different possible reasons. Take their temperature, check their body and look for problems. Monitor the situation and if they are eating, drinking and walking – consider giving it 24 hours. If in doubt though, call the vets – this is what they’re there for. Even if just for your own reassurance.

Final Thoughts

I do hope that things are a little bit clearer and we’ve been able to shed some light on the matter. It’s horrible when your little Frenchie becomes ill, I know.

Keep an eye on her, are they eating/drinking/going to the toilet with no problems? Are they moving around okay and also physically examine them as best as you can. Check for any obvious areas that are sensitive to them but do this softly and without fuss. Just be your usual relaxed self and this will help your dog deal with your unusual behavior.

If you’ve had any experience with your French Bulldog shaking, I’d genuinely love to hear from you so please feel free to leave a comment below!


I'm Jane Pettitt, co-owner of Pets Knowledge Base with my husband, Matt. I have a grand total of 50 years’ experience as a pet owner. It all started with a guinea pig called Percy when I was 5 years old and since then I’ve lived with two more guinea pigs, a hamster, mice, a rabbit, a tortoise, a dog and 11 cats. I’ve learned so much about pet care during this time and many of my articles are based on my personal experiences and those of my family and friends .

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