You can usually tell when your dog has an upset stomach. They might not have much of an appetite, or they might not be as interested in playing or taking walks. They might also start vomiting. All of these things are indicators that your dog’s stomach might be upset – but what if your dog is also shaking at the time?

If this is what’s happening, there is cause for alarm. Here are some of the potential reasons why your dog’s upset stomach might be happening.

First Things First

If you notice your dog shaking after vomiting, or they’re trembling, lethargic, or otherwise showing signs of not feeling good, check their gums. Healthy gums have a pink color, somewhat like bubble gum. Press on your pet’s gums gently, and see how long it takes for them to get back to their normal color. If it takes more than two seconds, that could be a sign of an issue with your dog’s blood circulation. It could be serious enough where you’ll need to take your companion to the vet.1

dog dehydratedA dog’s upset stomach could be a sign that they’re dehydrated. Gently pull the skin on your pet’s back and see how long it takes to spring back to normal. It should do so immediately.2

You should also take your pet’s temperature using a rectal thermometer. A normal temperature should be between 101 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.3

If your pet’s gums don’t go back to a normal color (known as “capillary refill time”), if their back skin doesn’t spring back immediately, or if they have an abnormal temperature, get your dog to the vet.

Potential Upset Stomach Causes

If your pet checks out normally after you perform these tests, there could be some other issues at play. Some are relatively minor, but others should be a cause for concern. Here are just a few of them:

Simple Discomfort

dog simple discomfortThere are a lot of potential reasons for your dog’s upset or gurgling stomach. You might have switched your dog to a new brand of food. Or they could have eaten something in the yard that’s causing some stomach rumblings. If your dog has an upset stomach and is shaking, (especially if they’re a smaller breed), this could be happening for several different reasons. Your pup might, for example, be frightened or excited, along with having an upset tummy. Once your dog starts to feel better, the shivering should stop.4

(Learn how pumpkin can help your dog’s upset stomach.)

Blood Sugar Issues

Sometimes, a dog’s upset stomach will result in shaking due to some sort of imbalance with their blood sugar. A small dog’s blood sugar levels can take a steep drop if they haven’t had any food in a few hours.5

Try rubbing a little pancake syrup on your pet’s gums, or simply let them lick the syrup off of your fingers. There’s a very good chance that this will help get their blood sugar levels back to normal and reduce shivering. If this doesn’t work, however, and the dog continues to tremble after about 10-15 minutes, get your pet to a veterinarian to see what’s going on. This will especially be the case if your dog also appears to be lethargic.


If a dog with an upset stomach shivers and appears to be in pain, they could have a serious gastrointestinal issue. The trembling may be accompanied by heavy breathing, panting, whining, or even growling. One particularly severe condition that can lead to this type of behavior is known as canine bloat. This is where a dog’s stomach literally twists itself to the point that no food can enter – and no waste materials can go through the intestines.6 If your pet shows signs of this potentially fatal problem, you will need to get him or her to the vet as fast as you can. It is a medical emergency for your pup!

dog chocolate toxin exposureToxin Exposure

A pet will sometimes go through a vomiting attack after ingesting something toxic, such as chocolate. In addition to shaking, other signs include seizures, excessive drooling, weakness, and severe diarrhea.7 Get to your vet as quickly as possible if you have reason to believe your pet has eaten something poisonous.

Kidney Failure

A dog with an upset stomach who shakes may be dealing with a kidney problem. This is especially the case in an older dog.8 The shaking can be a result of weakness. A dog experiencing kidney failure may not show any signs of pain, but will have an upset stomach, as well as trembling.

The Last Word

As you can see, there are a variety of reasons why a dog with an upset stomach will shake. Some of them aren’t that alarming, but others will require fast action so that you can get the medical care your beloved pet needs. Don’t automatically panic if your pet starts to tremble, but you’ll need to watch the situation closely. If you think that something is seriously wrong, don’t hesitate to get your dog to a vet. It’s always be better to be safe than sorry.

Learn More:
Why is My Dog Vomiting After Drinking Water?
10 Most Healthy Dog Treats (Plus, 4 Unhealthy Treats Treats to Avoid!)
Olive Oil for Dogs – Can it Benefit Your Pup?