Why Do Boston Terriers Shake? [7 reasons]

As a loving and proud owner of a Boston Terrier, you undoubtedly want your best four-footed friend to be comfortable all the time. So, if you notice them shaking, you’re understandably concerned and wondering, “Why do Boston Terriers shake?”

I’ll help you understand the many reasons why Boston Terriers shake. Some of them are harmless, others you can fix, and a few may require veterinary attention.

why do boston terriers shake
Why do Boston Terriers shake? [7 reasons]

7 Reasons Why Your Boston Terrier Is Shaking

If you see your Boston Terrier shaking, the last thing you should do is reprimand them. In many cases, shaking isn’t a behavioral issue but something in their external environment that’s causing it to occur. So, below are some of the most common reasons your Boston Terrier shakes.

1. They’re Cold

We all know the feeling of shivering in response to the cold. Boston Terriers do the same, and the reason is to help keep them warm.

Boston Terriers need temperatures above 45 – 50 degrees Fahrenheit to feel comfortable. So, if you notice them shaking and the temperature is below this range, being cold is likely the reason.

To support your cold Boston Terrier, wrap them in a blanket and bring them into a warm, indoor area. You should also put a jacket on them when walking outside in temperatures below 45 degrees.

Even if the weather is warm out, watch out for a shivering Boston Terrier after a beach visit or swim. They can get very cool very quickly!

Boston Terrier in a cold winter
Boston Terrier in a cold winter wearing a jacket.

2. Something Is Scaring Them

Yet again, just like humans, Boston Terriers shake when they’re scared. However, what’s scary to them might seem silly to you. So, while fireworks or other sudden noises can make them jump and shake, more subtle environmental situations can also cause this reaction.

For example, they might feel uneasy around a plastic bag flapping in the wind or a new toy that rattles differently than they’re used to. 

Furthermore, if your Boston Terrier has a history of abuse, certain actions you do or situations they find themselves in might cause them to shake uncontrollably. Regardless of the trigger, they’ll often tuck their tail between their legs and flatten their ears.

So, if you suspect that your Boston Terrier is shaking because they’re afraid, do your best to remove them from the fearful situation and soothe them with lots of cuddles and sweet talk.

Boston Terrier looks scared in blanket
Boston Terrier looks scared in a red blanket.

3. They’re Happy to See You

If your Boston Terrier shakes when you walk in the room, it could be a compliment because they’re happy to see you. Aside from shaking, signs that your pooch is excited by your presence include:

  • Wagging their tail
  • Running in circles
  • Barking
  • Acting a little hyper (classic Boston Terrier)

Should you determine that your Boston Terrier is shaking because they’re happy to see you, here’s the good news: There’s nothing you should do to change their behavior. Instead, embrace it and shower them with the love they crave from you.

Boston Terrier exercise guide
Boston Terrier Exercise Guide

4. Anxiety Is Taking Over

If you have a camera at home and you’re wondering, “Why do Boston Terriers shake when I leave the house?” it’s likely because they have separation anxiety.

Although separation anxiety is one of the most common forms of anxiety in this breed, Boston Terriers might also shake from anxiety when they see threatening animals or people

Should your Boston Terrier suffer from anxiety, it’s a serious issue. Therefore, I encourage you to speak with a trainer to help your dog feel more comfortable in situations that give them anxiety. You can also talk with your vet about prescribing pills for moments to help manage your dog’s anxiety in conjunction with training.

a small boston terrier puppy looks down sadly
A small Boston Terrier puppy looks down sadly.

5. A Medical Condition is Causing It

Sadly, not all reasons for a Boston Terrier’s shaking are harmless. Instead, several medical conditions can cause them to shake, including:

  • Brachycephalic syndrome
  • Epilepsy
  • Poisoning
  • Severe infection
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Distemper (rabies)

These are just a sample of medical reasons your Boston Terrier might be shaking. So, if your Boston Terrier is shaking without wagging their tail and if they’re displaying other odd behaviors, you should take them to the vet.

Since nausea can cause dogs to shake, look around your home to see if your Boston Terrier got into something they shouldn’t have. Many human foods are toxic to them, including grapes and onions. Watch out for stomach upset, flatulence, and general strange behavior.

a boston terrier leans against a wall
A Boston Terrier leans against a wall.

6. They’re Stressed

Stress and anxiety can go hand-in-hand, but a stressed Boston Terrier isn’t always an anxious dog. That’s because stress is a combination of mental and physical symptoms, whereas anxiety causes dogs to remain worried even when you remove the stressor. 

In addition to shaking, signs that your dog is experiencing stress include:

Furthermore, some Boston Terriers respond to stress by hiding or losing their formerly bubbly personalities. It’s important to speak with your veterinarian and dog trainer to help your stressed dog, along with trying to remove whatever may be stressing them.

a boston terrier outdoors with its large tongue hanging out
A Boston Terrier outdoors with its large tongue hanging out.

7. They Have Lots of Energy

If you haven’t been giving your Boston Terrier as much exercise as they need or are used to, they might be shaking because they have so much pent-up energy.

You can probably relate to the feeling if you think back to when you were a kid and had to sit in school all day. Your Boston Terrier feels a similar sensation when they’re cooped up in the house while you’re at work.

So, if you believe that your Boston Terrier is shaking because they have lots of energy to release, take them outside and see if playing with them settles their shaky behaviors. Other signs that your Boston Terrier wants to release their energy include barking, jumping, and tail wagging.

Boston Terrier running on a leash
A Boston Terrier on a leash running with her owner.

How to Stop Your Boston Terrier From Shaking?

So, now that you know the answer to “Why do Boston Terriers shake?” you’re understandably wanting to know how to stop them from shaking. Below are some tips to help according to the reason for their shaking.

boston terrier outdoors
A Boston Terrier outdoors looks at the camera with interest

1. Use a Dog Coat

If you live in a cold climate, your Boston Terrier likely gets cold when you take them outside. So, bundling them up in a dog coat goes a long way toward helping them to stay warm.

2. Buy a ThunderShirt

Thunder, fireworks, and other loud noises can be scary for Boston Terriers. So, wrapping them in a ThunderShirt or a tight-fitting jacket that makes them feel like you’re snuggling them, can help them manage triggers that you don’t have control over.

3. Hire a Dog Trainer

Anxiety and stress are both situations that an experienced dog trainer can help your Boston Terrier with. Often, these conditions come with other symptoms that are more destructive than simply shaking, such as excessive drooling and shedding around your home. So, getting your dog trained to manage their anxiety or stress will help both you and your Boston Terrier.

4. Give Them Plenty of Exercise

Your Boston Terrier should have at least 30 – 60 minutes of exercise per day. So, they might be shaking if they’re getting under this amount. Keep in mind that younger Boston Terriers usually require more exercise time than older dogs.

Getting to the Bottom of Your Boston Terrier Shaking

Luckily, there are many harmless reasons why Boston Terriers shake. Nevertheless, it’s important to get to the bottom of their shaking; with the exception of being happy to see you, shaking is a sign that they’re uncomfortable in some way.

If you suspect that your Boston Terrier’s shaking could be due to a medical issue, I encourage you to take them to the vet right away. The long Boston Terrier lifespan needs regular vet care. Otherwise, you can resolve most other shaking issues covered here with some training or an environmental change.