Puppy Shivering After Bath? [How To Stop It]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

It’s a scene that’s all too familiar: you give your pup a much-needed bath, only to have them come shivering out of the tub afterward.

But why do puppies shiver after baths, and is there anything you can do to stop it?

In this blog post, we’ll explore the science behind why puppies shiver after baths and provide some helpful tips for keeping your pup warm.

We’ll also offer some advice on when you should be concerned about your puppy’s post-bath shaking and what to do if it won’t stop shivering.

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Why Do Puppies Shiver After Baths? 13 Reasons

There are myriad reasons why your puppy might shiver after taking a shower.

They are both internal and external factors to consider, most of which are harmless and need nothing more than you being aware of them and a few minor adjustments.

1. Water temperature

If the water is too cold, shivering may happen both during and after a shower or bath.

The water should feel warm to the touch and be lukewarm.

The puppy’s body temperature will decrease and he can start to shiver if the water is too chilly and if you keep him in there for too long, he can also get sick.

Hot water, on the other hand, might make the puppy pant and overheat.

Additionally, it can burn their sensitive puppy skin.

2. Natural reaction

According to science, a dog’s fur can aid in minimizing heat loss.

However, the fur can hold a lot of water after a bath which leads to rapid heat loss.

Therefore, in order to stop it, your dog may begin to shake or shiver to rid itself of the excess water

If your dog only does it occasionally, you shouldn’t be concerned.

However, if they shudder for an extended period of time, you will need to pay more attention to the other factors.

Doggy says, consider reading this too: Dog Ate String From a Rope Toy [What You Should Do]

3. Excitement

Dogs have a tendency to shake when they are excited, kind of like how they react when they see you after a long absence.

Bath time could mean something exciting for them, being able to mess around in the water and bond with their humans.

Consequently, after a great shower, dogs frequently experience zoomies as well.

This is to let their energies out.

In such a scenario, you would likely observe other behavior such as:

  • Floppy ears
  • Relaxed body posture
  • High and waggy tail

4. Anxiety/scared

On the other hand, bathtime could be a dread for them too. No two dogs will react to water the same way, even if they are the same breed.

Some dogs just don’t like taking baths.

Maybe they don’t like how the shampoo smells or the tubs’ slick surface, or the sensation of being completely submerged in water.

So they run away as soon as they hear the word “bath” and complain by barking at you.

Doggy says, consider reading this too: Dog Foaming at the Mouth and Shaking [When to See a Vet?]

5. Need to potty

Dogs occasionally shiver or shake when they need to relieve themselves.

This could be due to your dog experiencing tension before taking a bath.

Try to ensure that your dog has cleared its bowels before showering to minimize the chance of an “accident”.

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6. Room temperature

Another important factor in keeping your dog warm is the temperature of the room.

Your dog may begin to shiver if it is cold outside after receiving a warm bath.

You should only ever bathe your dog in lukewarm water as your dog may feel uncomfortable in water that is either cold or too hot.

7. Shaking to dry

It is likely that your dog will shake off excess water after being bathed.

This helps to dry its coat and remove any dirt or debris that may have been left behind during the washing process.

You should always towel-dry your dog thoroughly after bathing as this will help prevent them from getting cold when they are outside again.

Doggy says, consider reading this too: Puppy Ears Changing? How to Correct it?

8. Shampoo poisoning

Some dogs are allergic to certain types of shampoo.

If your dog has a reaction, you should discontinue the use of the product and seek advice from your vet.

When bathing your dog, take extra care to not allow it to lick off any water in the tub.

Always read the packaging of any products you use on your dog to ensure that they are safe for them to use and do not contain any ingredients that may cause them harm.

9. Pain

Pain or discomfort can be caused by a number of factors.

You should always check your dog’s skin and fur for signs of irritation after bathing them, such as redness or flaking.

Not only that, but shivering can also be a sign of something you have not noticed, possibly an injury or an illness.

Pain is typically the reason why it becomes less active, struggles to find comfort when sitting or lying down, loses its appetite, and so on.

10. Young age

It’s usual for little puppies to shiver briefly after their first washes because they still have a “puppy coat,” or a single covering of soft, thin fur, at their young age.

Young dogs often shiver because of this and their bodies react by shivering, thus helping them control their body temperature.

According to AKC, puppies typically shed their newborn coat between the ages of 4 and 6 months.

And following shedding, they’ll develop an “adult coat,” or a thicker coating of hair.

11. Old age

Conversely, dogs will have trouble controlling their body temperature as they get older, which makes them less capable of adjusting to changes.

As our dogs get older, they also tend to develop arthritis which makes them look like they are shivering, but are in fact trembling due to their weak joints.

12. Shaker syndrome

Dogs with Shaker syndrome experience widespread head and body tremors.

Other names for this condition are steroid responsive tremors or widespread tremor syndrome.

This happens more in white small breeds such as the Maltese and the West Highland White Terrier.

Tremors are irregular, rhythmic, and uncontrollable muscular movements that resemble shaking.

The entire body may experience tremors or just a certain part of it (like the head).

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13. Flea/tick treatments

Did the shivering and shaking occur after you gave your dog a flea and tick bath?

If so, it is probably a result of it.

According to experts, some of the substances can trigger tremors, and in some cases, they can even have seizures.

Treatments often include the use of Pyrethrin and Pyrethroid, which are purported to be pesticides.

Doggy says, consider reading this too: Dog Licking Its Paws After Grooming? [5 SOLUTIONS]

How To Tell If Your Puppy Is Too Cold

If your puppy is shivering, whining, has stiff muscles, is slow to move, seems confused or uncoordinated, or if its skin feels cool and dry to the touch, these are all signs that it may be too cold.

If your puppy’s core temperature drops below 99°F (37.2°C), it requires immediate medical attention.

Dogs of any age can suffer from hypothermia, but puppies are particularly susceptible since they have not yet developed a full coat of fur.

If you think your puppy may be suffering from hypothermia, wraps it in a warm blanket and take it to the vet immediately.

How to Stop Your Dog From Shivering After a Bath? 10 Ways

How to Stop Your Dog From Shivering After a Bath

1. Introduce them to bathtime

Most bathtime phobias and fears develop as a result of the dogs’ poor bathing experiences in the beginning.

Keep in mind that taking a bath can become a stressful activity, particularly for young puppies.

Allow them to become accustomed to the sounds and feelings of taking a bath.

Even though it could take some time, it will make your dog love the water.

2. Get ready

Make sure that you have everything you need ready before starting the bath.

This will help prevent any unnecessary stress or distractions that could cause your dog to become anxious, which can lead to shivering.

3. Use warm water

One of the most important things that you can do to make bathtime easier on your dog is to use warm water.

This will help relax them and will also prevent any chills that could lead to shivering or shaking.

You can even put a towel in the warm water so that it doesn’t feel too cold when it touches their skin.

This will make your dog more comfortable and reduce any chance of developing cold-related illnesses.

Cold water can cause the pores of the skin to constrict and close, which can lead to dry, flaky skin and dandruff.

Even though it may be tempting for some people to use cold water because it feels more refreshing on hot days, keep in mind that this could make your dog’s skin dry out over time.

4. Wash and dry quickly

Dogs need to be washed thoroughly, but you should also avoid spending too much time in the bath.

You don’t want your dog to get cold or develop a rash from being wet for too long.

Make sure that you completely rinse off any soap residue before getting out of the tub.

5. Stick to a bathing schedule/routine

It’s important to develop a regular bathing routine for your dog.

This will help prevent problems associated with excessive dirt and oil build-up on their skin, such as dryness or irritation.

It also develops a routine that dogs love and can understand better, therefore reducing stress levels when it comes time for one.

After all, they can’t tell you when they need a bath!

6. Make baths less stressful

Baths can be stressful for dogs.

Try to make them as comfortable and enjoyable as possible by using warm water and using a gentle shampoo that’s specifically designed for dogs

Let your dog play outside before the bath so they can release some energy and have fun.

Before, during, and after the bath, give them lots of praise!

7. Lick mats

These are excellent dog distraction toys and are perfect to associate bath time with good things.

Put in some of your dog’s favorites such as cream cheese or peanut butter, and what you can do is get those licks mats with suction caps.

This way, you can stick it to the wall of your bathroom, and while you’re soaking them, let your dog have at them.

8. Use a calming treat

This is another excellent way to help your dog get over their bath time anxiety.

Have a calming treat ready for them and let them eat it once they are done with the bath.

This will not only reduce their stress but also relax them while they are being bathed.

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9. Give them something they are used to

If your dog is used to playing with a squeaky toy, take it out and let them play with it while you are bathing.

This will help them get over their anxiety as they are occupied with something else instead of being stressed out by the bath.

10. Use a hairdryer

Using a towel is an excellent way to remove extra water from your dog’s coat, but it doesn’t dry it entirely.

The remaining water can be slicked out using a hairdryer, leaving you with a dog that is dry.

An additional benefit is that it helps your dog avoid skin problems as well since there won’t be any warm, moist locations for bacteria to grow.

A hairdryer can also eliminate the musty dog odor we never got used to.

Is It Normal for Dogs to Shiver After a Bath?

Yes, it is normal for dogs to shiver after a bath.

Dogs are mammals, so they get cold the same way we do.

Shivering is their body’s way of heating itself up when it’s cold outside or when they’ve been in cold water for too long.

When your dog is shivering, you can either wrap him in a towel or give him some space to dry off on his own.

So if your dog is feeling cold but not showing any other symptoms of illness (such as vomiting or diarrhea), then there’s no reason to worry—she’ll warm up soon enough!

Learn about this: When do puppies start eating food and drinking water?

Expert Tips For Bathing Your Puppy

It’s bath time! Here are some expert tips to make it a fun and positive experience for both you and your pup.

Before starting, be sure to have everything you need on hand – this includes shampoo, soap, water, towels, and a leash if necessary.

Once everything is set up, fill the tub with enough water for your pup to submerge its whole body.

It’s also important to keep an eye on them while they bathe – if they start getting tired or scared, take them out of the tub immediately!

When your pup is wet, add a small amount of shampoo to their hair and work it into a lather.

Puppies are just like babies, so be gentle with them and avoid getting the shampoo near their eyes, ears, and mouth.

Once they’re dry, reward them with treats or praise!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is my dog shaking before taking a bath? 

In most cases, this is normal behavior and does not indicate any medical condition. The shaking happens due to fear of being in the water or anxiety about something new. If your dog is shaking uncontrollably before taking a bath, it may be due to medical problems such as epilepsy or hyperthyroidism. In such cases, you should consult a veterinarian immediately.

How often should a dog have a bath?

In general, a healthy dog with short, smooth hair and no skin issues doesn’t require frequent bathing. Dog baths are typically performed more for the convenience of the dog owners than for the benefit of the dogs themselves. Nevertheless, giving your dog a wash at least once every two to three months is an excellent idea.

Is it safe to use a blow dryer on my puppy?

Yes. Not only is blow drying your pet safe, but it’s also very vital to avoid the dog developing hot spots (acute wet dermatitis) and ugly cowlicks.

Can puppies become ill after bathing?

Yes, it is possible but it can be prevented. For example, bathing removes the natural oils and protective layers of skin that help keep your puppy’s body healthy, so avoid bathing too often or using harsh chemicals in the bath that can leave them vulnerable to skin infections.

In Conclusion: Puppy Shivering After Bath

Puppies shiver after baths because it is their natural way of regulating their body temperature.

By understanding the reasons why puppies shiver, you can take steps to keep your pup warm and comfortable after a bath.

If your puppy is shivering for more than a few minutes, or if it seems confused or uncoordinated, be sure to contact your veterinarian immediately.

Check out other dog care tips on our blog or have a look at these first:

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Daily Dog Drama!

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