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Why Is My French Bulldog Shaking?

French Bulldog owners seem to encounter (and worry) about this subject more than owners of other breeds.

It made me wonder if French Bulldogs really do shake more than other breeds or if their owners are more inclined to notice it. There are many answers to this question.

Why is my French Bulldog shaking? Your French Bulldog is most likely shaking because it is either cold, nervous, stressed, suffering from anxiety, very excited, or in pain. Remedies for each of these causes and more can be found here.

Why is my French Bulldog shaking? with tennis balls

Reasons why French Bulldogs shake

There are numerous reasons why a French Bulldog might shake or tremble. Here are the known reasons:

  • Too cold
  • Nervous
  • Fearful
  • Anxiety
  • Over-excited
  • In pain
  • Illness
  • Poisoned
  • Addison’s disease
  • Old age

Too Cold

Going outside

This one is easy to remedy. If you take your French Bulldog for a walk on a particularly cold day and notice it shakes and shivers, buy it a coat.

Make sure you use it on a cold day – you wouldn’t go out without one so don’t let your dog. Frenchies have very short fur and it isn’t very insulating.

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, we just get used to the cold.

The majority of the time, your French Bulldog is probably shaking and shivering because it is too cold!

Turn your heating on or cover it partially with a blanket. In this case, shaking is how a dog raises its body temperature.

A little tip here, an easy way to tell if your Frenchie is too cold is to gently touch the inside of the ear. Don’t stick your finger in too far though!

If its ear feels cold to the touch, then your dog is cold. Give it a cuddle as your body heat will help to warm it up.

Why is my French Bulldog shaking? Frenchie having cuddle

If you can’t afford to turn the heat up in the house all day in cold weather, make sure your Frenchie has a cozy bed or make a nice sleeping place with cozy blankets.

Place your shaking bulldog in its bed or blankets and it won’t take long to warm up! It might go to sleep as shaking can be exhausting.

Test its temperature again after an hour with the ear technique to see if it has made any difference and continue monitoring to ensure your dog does warm up.


Many things can make a dog nervous such as a trip in the car, a visit to the vet or loud noises. This type of shaking usually lasts just for the duration of the particular cause.


Dogs can be scared of many things and in extreme cases will shake with fear.

Why is my French Bulldog shaking? Under blanket


Some dogs are very scared of fireworks, especially the ones that bang and whizz. 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 and hopefully, your calmness will reassure your dog.

Obviously, if you’re going set off a few rockets then it won’t help and it’s difficult to avoid if you have a family.

Make sure your French Bulldog is safely indoors in a quiet room with its favorite bed and toys. If one person can stay and play with it this may distract it enough to keep it calm


Thunderstorms can really scare a dog. Again you should remain calm which should keep your dog calm. If it shakes and trembles, comfort it and distract it as best you can by petting or playing.

A mean person

If your dog shakes when a particular person enters a room, be sure you know that person has not ever frightened or hurt it.

If someone is mean to a dog or shouts at it, the dog will develop a fear of that person which can make it shake every time they see them.

Make sure you always know and trust people who are ever left alone with your dog. Of course, you can’t go accusing every person who seems to make your dog shake of having abused it at some point – but just be extra vigilant.


Feelings of anxiety can induce shaking in a French Bulldog and can be caused by a particular event or might just be a general feeling. If you suspect your dog is shaking because it’s anxious, speak to your vet.

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.

Are they reluctant to move? If your dog does move but appears to be off-balance, this could be a spine-related issue and you should contact your vets for further advice asap.

Is Your French Bulldog Excited?

Why is my French Bulldog shaking? Frenchie with ball

If your French Bulldog is over-stimulated and gets too excited this can cause it to shake. This often happens when anticipates going or a walk or you’re playing with it, but has been known to happen at other times.

If it does happen, sit with your dog and let it calm down – make sure you stay relaxed yourself as your dog is then more likely to sit still until the shaking stops.

Is Your French Bulldog In Pain?

If there aren’t any obvious reasons for the shaking, then there’s a chance your Frenchie is feeling some discomfort. I’d suggest you contact your vet, describe the symptoms, and perhaps book an appointment.


Sometimes a French Bulldog might be shaking because of an illness. There are a few things you can do to ascertain this.

Take Its Temperature

Why is my French Bulldog shaking? Frenchie with thermometer

It’s worth getting a pet thermometer so you can quickly check your Frenchies temperature if you ever suspect it is feeling unwell. Ensure you follow the instructions for use carefully so as not to injure your dog!

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.

Other symptoms of illness

If your dog Frenchie doesn’t have a temperature check it is drinking, eating, and walking without difficulty. If it isn’t doing all three of these things then call your vet for advice.

Dogs sometimes mask illness quite well and can get severely dehydrated in no time.

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


Symptoms of poisoning in dogs can vary depending on the type of poison ingested. Signs include vomiting, shaking, breathing difficulties, and drooling.

Chocolate is poisonous to dogs and symptoms include agitation and shaking. If you suspect any sort of poisoning, don’t waste any time and get straight to your vets.

Addison’s disease

The cause of Addison’s disease in dogs is not clear. Vets suspect that most cases are related to an autoimmune problem.

There are several symptoms including:

  • Shaking
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Low temperature

This is why it is important to look for other symptoms as well as shaking and visit your vet if you are at all worried.

Why is my French Bulldog shaking? Frenchie panting

Is your Frenchie getting old?

Sometimes it happens when we get old and it can also happen to a dog. As dogs get old, it is likely they will have problems that manifest as physical shaking.

Some old-age related shaking is expected and can be down to joint pain but don’t assume it’s always related to your dog’s age.

Are you walking it too much? After a certain age, your French Bulldog shouldn’t be exercised as much. Try shorter walks, and see how it responds.

Why is my French Bulldog shaking? – Conclusion

There are many reasons why French Bulldogs shake and shiver, and most of the time it’s nothing to worry about. You can usually tell if the cause is innocent but make sure you are aware of all the causes to ensure you don’t overlook anything more sinister.

Occasionally your dog may shiver to get a reaction. Dogs are clever. If previously they have exhibited this behavior and you’ve spoilt them with treats and cuddles then they may associate shivering with a positive response from you.

Don’t just assume this is the case but if a pattern emerges it’s definitely worth considering.

You’ll find lots more useful information in our complete French Bulldog guide.

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