We have a 13-year-old Maltese-cocker who enjoys playing on the air conditioner vent when it is on. I also noticed that she lies on it for heat during the winter. My concern is that sometimes when she is sitting near me, she shivers. She isn’t cold, and she doesn’t seem to be in pain. What else could be causing the shivering?
From the Editors of The Dog Daily
Shivering is quite common in many dogs, particularly certain breeds. Maltese are prone to this behavior, but that doesn't mean you should ignore it. You are wise to take notice and be concerned.
Such trembling can have many possible causes. Although your dog may not be cold, shivering is one way that the body can increase its temperature. Puppies, for example, sometimes tremble to regulate their body heat. But trembling can also be due to fear, or as a result of neurological, skeletal or muscular problems. Conditions such as arthritis, anemia, diabetes, epilepsy, hypothyroidism and lupus can also lead to canine shivering.
Have your Maltese-cocker examined by a veterinarian to rule out any of these obvious suspects. If your dog receives a clean bill of health, then it is possible that the shivering is either tied to her body's heat regulation or to her genetic makeup. Our breeding of dogs results in certain desired traits, such as floppy ears, big eyes and other attractive features. But the breeding process can also lead to certain behavioral issues tied to those selected genes, including shivering.
Researchers haven't fully determined yet why certain dogs tremble, even when there is no known medical cause and the animal is not showing other signs of fear or discomfort. What's important is that your dog is healthy and not in any pain.