Why Do Chihuahuas Shake

Health Problems are Associated with Shaking

Chihuahuas, both adults and puppies alike, often exhibit behaviors like shaking. This action, often described as shivering or trembling, is so widespread within the breed that it’s commonly and erroneously considered a natural or inherent trait of Chihuahuas.

Some inexperienced owners, however, often assume a more serious health issue is causing the ‘Chihuahua shaking’ behavior. As a result, they rush their little furry child to the emergency vet only to learn that there’s nothing wrong with it. 

So, why do Chihuahuas shake all the time? What exactly causes these small dogs to shake and shiver? If you’re wondering, why does my chihuahua shake? Keep reading and we’ll take a closer look into the ‘Chihuahua shivering’ behavior. 

Common Reasons Chihuahuas Shake

Why do Chihuahuas shiver so much? Some of the reasons why Chihuahuas shake so much include high metabolism, being cold, low blood sugar, anxiety, when they get excited, or old age. Let’s look closely at each reason as to how they cause a shaking Chihuahua.

High Metabolism

The first reason to answer the query, “Why do Chihuahuas shake?” is because of their metabolism. The fast metabolism Chihuahuas have is because of the small size of their guts. This causes the Chihuahua to burn calories three times quicker than any larger dog breed.

Thus, the high metabolism can make them shake so much when they’re excited about something. The same goes for conditions in which a Chihuahua is frightened.

Apart from that, their fast metabolism is directly related to how the breed regulates their body temperature. What commonly happens is that a Chihuahua can burn off its body heat very quickly. As soon as that occurs, they will start to feel cold.

Feeling Cold

Shaking is a normal body reaction that aids in thermal regulation. This means both humans and animals shiver as a way to increase their body temperature when they’re cold. As you know, Chihuahuas are considered to be one of the smallest dogs in the world.

As such, not only do they not have enough body fat to keep them warm but your furry friend also doesn’t handle cold temperatures well. They have relatively thin coats and their size does not allow them to retain their body heat well. As a breed, Chihuahuas are more adapted to warmer climates.


Like many other small dogs, your Chihuahua tends to shiver when it’s frightened or nervous. Stress, whether it’s in the form of a change of environment, a new experience, or a little scare, can also cause Chihuahuas to shake.

While a little stress is not harmful, too much of it can absolutely affect their health. With extreme anxiety or stress, a poorly socialized Chihuahua may shake more than is typical.

So, if you notice your Chihuahua shaking due to anxiety, you should try to identify what is causing your pet concern. This is vital when knowing the reason behind the question, “Why do Chihuahuas shake?” Some dogs usually express their concern by crying and whining.

This is your cue to step in and offer reassurance. Your Chihuahua will need some reassurance that you will help him get through this state. You can also use the ‘No talk, no touch, no eye contact’ principle. This rule will help you earn your Chihuahua’s trust, as it shows your respect for their space.

Moreover, to prevent your Chihuahua’s separation anxiety episodes, start leaving him alone for several minutes every day. Try to build it up when your Chihuahua gets used to being 10 minutes alone, 15, and so on. If you’re struggling to do this, you can always consult a professional dog trainer.


Another reason why your Chihuahua shakes is because of low blood sugar. Low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia, is a common health problem associated with the Chihuahua breed.

So if your Chihuahua shakes regularly first thing in the morning, you can safely assume that his blood sugar is the culprit. When not treated accordingly or not addressed on time, it could lead to seizures and even death. The good news is your Chihuahua’s low blood sugar is relatively easy to treat.

A change in his diet can help you with that. Try to serve your Chihuahua meals in smaller portions throughout the day. This means instead of feeding him one meal in the morning and another in the evening, give him 3 to 5 meals per day.

Do not lower the amount of food you serve per day. Just distribute it evenly so it can last for this many meals. It’s also advisable to keep a dropper filled with sugar water when you observe your Chihuahua experiencing hypoglycemia symptoms. Just add a few drops to their throat or to the meal. Avoid giving him junk food and other sugary treats. To help even out a blood sugar problem, you should give your Chihuahua more exercise.


Excitement is one emotion you can easily recognize in your Chihuahua. If a Chihuahua owner is asked what behavior they can associate with a Chihuahua breed, they would probably say ‘barking, jumping, spinning.’ And you can top up this agenda with shaking. But if excitement is the cause behind your Chihuahua shaking, is that a good thing? The short answer is yes.

Chihuahuas shake when they are excited and can no longer hold it in. After you’ve given your Chihuahua some treats out of the jar, they will probably be shivering and dancing anytime you get near the treats.

This form of excitement is nothing to be worried about and doesn’t require any special attention or treatment from the owner. So let your Chihuahua be excited and embrace it. Knowing that he’s shaking because he’s happy is a comforting thought.

A Heating Pad Can Help with Dog's Shaking

Old Age

It’s not at all uncommon for senior Chihuahuas to get tremors in their hind or front legs. The good thing is that these tremors do not affect the way your aging Chihuahua walks. As your dog ages, take them regularly to your vet.

While old age could be the cause of the tremors, you shouldn’t deny the possibility of your Chihuahua being in pain. To make certain your Chihuahua’s tremors aren’t accompanied by any type of pain, consult your veterinarian.

Medical Related Reasons Chihuahuas Shake

Why do chihuahuas tremble? Besides the causes mentioned above, there are some serious health conditions that can cause shaking, and these should be ruled out. It should be noted that in most cases, there will be other symptoms and signs other than shaking. It’s possible but rare medical-related reasons for shaking include:

Generalized Tremor Syndrome (GTS)

This syndrome is also known as “white shaker dog syndrome” or Steroid Responsive Tremor Syndrome. It was first noticed in small, white breeds such as the West Highland White Terriers and the Maltese, but it can occur in dogs of any size, color, or breed. The causes of Generalized Tremor Syndrome are unknown. But the signs of GTS begin between nine months and two years of age. Generally, treatment consists of steroids.

Food Poisoning

Several poisons or toxins can cause shakes or tremors in dogs. Common substances that are poisonous for dogs include cigarettes, insecticides, antifreeze, chocolate, and Xylitol (an artificial sweetener found in many chewing gums).

Signs of poisoning can vary but may include trembling, disorientation, weakness, drooling, depression, diarrhea, vomiting, and seizures. If you suspect that your Chihuahua has ingested a toxic compound and they are displaying any of the aforementioned symptoms, you should contact your vet right away.

Kidney Disease

While this must be considered as a possible reason for shaking, kidney failure or kidney disease is a very serious health issue that involves many more signs and symptoms aside from trembling.

Some of these are mouth ulcers, pale gums, bloodshot eyes, weight loss, weakness, a dulled coat, disorientation, difficulty breathing, loss of balance, and an odd ammonia smell (due to a buildup of waste products in the dog’s body).

Ear Infection

One of the most common reasons for vet visits is ear infections. Just like humans, a dog can also experience excessive ear wax production. When the ear wax isn’t cleaned regularly, it can cause an ear infection. When it comes to ear infections, your dog will most probably not tremble their body but their head instead [1].

A big sign that something inside your Chihuahua’s ears could be off, is when he often tries to rub his head against the floor, the wall, the couch, or tilt. Aside from these, there are some other symptoms to watch out for.

These include ear odor, red or swollen ear canal, dark or yellow discharge, and ear scratching. If you notice all these signs and symptoms, then bring your Chihuahua to the vet for ear examination. Your vet can explain to you what type of bacteria has caused the ear infection.

It’s also possible that your vet will prescribe a treatment that you have to apply at home.

Most Chihuahuas Shake When Cold

Internal Injury

When a dog is moderate to severely hurt, it may shake uncontrollably due to the shock of pain and/or trauma. Since Chihuahuas are an under-the-foot breed or one that is usually carried, they can be dropped or stepped on–and trauma is the second leading cause of death for a tiny toy breed like Chihuahua.

While there may not be outward signs of cuts or blood, internal injury is a possible reason for shaking. Your Chihuahua may cry or whine and the behavior will be very off. He may favor or limp a specific part of the body. Any suspected cases of trauma should be assessed by the vet.

The Truth Behind Chihuahuas Shaking

Now that we’ve tacked the reasons behind the query, why do Chihuahuas shake so much? It’s time to deliberate the truth behind why Chihuahuas shiver and shake the way that they do. Some people often perceived Chihuahuas as small balls of nervousness or anxious breed.

But that might just be because of your Chihuahua shaking habits. Oftentimes, the real reason behind this breed’s shakes is actually due to the fact that they are simply cold, and because of their metabolism.

Besides the common reasons and health conditions mentioned above, another thing that could cause your Chihuahua shaking behavior is the Canine Distemper. Distemper is a very dangerous viral disease that often affects puppies and adult dogs that haven’t had all of their vaccines. Distemper is also one of the causes of tremors in Chihuahuas.

Usually, it is categorized by coughing, fever, eyes discharge, and nose discharge. To treat the Canine distemper, you might have to give your Chihuahua physical therapy, antibiotics, and airway dilators. It’s also likely that you’ll need to ensure his intake of fluids to prevent dehydration.

Take note that it’s common for Chihuahuas to shiver and shake more than other dog breeds. So if your Chihuahua shakes, it always happens for a reason and you have to figure out what it is.

Some Chihuahuas Shake if Feeling Anxious

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Stop My Chihuahua From Shaking?

It doesn’t take owners long to realize what’s making their Chihuahuas shake and to learn the necessary course of action to take. It’s just a matter of paying attention to the pet, to what is going on around the Chihuahua dog, and trying different things to see if the shaking stops or not. 

Your Chihuahua’s shaking habit doesn’t necessarily have to stop, and you should note that oftentimes shaking has nothing to do with your Chihuahua’s health as well.

Is It Common for Chihuahuas To Shake?

Yes, it is common for Chihuahuas to shake. Chihuahuas naturally have high metabolisms, which make them shake when they are anxious or when they get excited. It also affects the breed’s ability to regulate body temperature. 

When a dog has a high metabolism, it burns off body heat very quickly. This means even when the owner doesn’t feel cold, their Chihuahuas might.

Can You Leave A Chihuahua Home Alone?

Yes, you can leave a Chihuahua home alone. In fact, if you want a tiny toy breed but you’re busy at work, the Chihuahua is a great choice. Chihuahuas will do fine if they are left alone for much of the day. Just make sure your pup has another Chihuahua dog to hang out with when you leave during the day. They will do well in pairs. 

Unfortunately, Chihuahuas are prone to a variety of health conditions. So you have to talk to your vet or find a reputable breeder if you decide to bring a Chihuahua home.


Shaking is an accepted part of the Chihuahua breed’s behavior. Most of the time, it is nothing to worry about. Hopefully, this article has helped you answer your query in enough depth so that you no longer have to inquire–why does your chihuahua tremble? Or why do chihuahuas shake?

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