At A Glance
Chihuahuas are prone to shaking because of their small size and fast metabolism. In most cases, Chihuahua owners find that putting their dog in a sweater or offering a warm blanket during cold weather helps reduce shaking.
Last Updated on: Jul 27, 2022
Chihuahuas may be the smallest breed of dog known to us, but they’re also known for shaking – a lot. But why do Chihuahuas shake?
Their tiny size and consequent lack of body mass is to blame. But there’s more to uncover here than meets the eye.
For the most part, shaking is just a normal part of being a Chihuahua. Remember that scene from the movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua?
Chloe: You don’t scare me anymore!
Diablo: Then why are you shaking?
Chloe: Cause I am a Chihuahua!
— Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008)
They also don’t retain body heat very well because of their fast metabolic rate.
Here are some other reasons why your Chihuahua might shake:
If your Chihuahua is constantly shaking, it could be a sign that they have too much energy and need to burn it off with some exercise.
A good way to tell if this is the case is to see if your dog is also incessantly barking or running around. If they are, then a brisk walk or run should help tire them out and calm them down.
Experts recommend a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes of daily exercise for a Chihuahua.
You can easily squeeze this into your day by taking a walk around the block or giving them time to run around in the yard or at a dog park.
If going out isn’t an option, then a game of fetch with their favorite toys can also serve as a good exercise to tire their little legs out.
This can lead to your Chihuahua feeling colder than other dogs, even when it’s not particularly chilly outside. You might also notice your Chihuahua shivering even if you don’t feel cold.
Quora user Lois Harford from San Diego explains that small breeds like Chihuahua are often very hyperactive by nature and therefore shake a lot.
“Chihuahuas, and other tiny dogs, tend to be high-strung and easily anxious or excited, so they tremble a lot. Not all of them do, but a fairly high percentage. They have very high metabolisms, so they tend to be a bit hyperactive, too,” he adds.
As we mentioned, because of their small size and high metabolism, Chihuahuas can feel the cold more easily than other dogs.
If you notice your Chihuahua shaking and they don’t seem to have any other obvious reasons (like excess energy), then it’s likely that they’re just cold.
In this case, try putting a sweater or coat on them when you take them outside and make sure they have a warm place to sleep inside, especially if the weather is at 35 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
On the issue of doggy sweaters, Quora user Jill King says, “It may seem like you are just spoiling them and dressing them up for foofy reasons, the extra clothing is very helpful for such a small dog.”
So if you’re looking for a reason to splurge on that super cute doggy coat or sweater you saw online, go ahead. This is your sign!
Why do Chihuahuas shake and pant?
Chihuahuas are very loyal and emotional dogs. They can get excited easily and can shiver uncontrollably as a result.
Research shows that lighter toy breeds are innately more excitable and hyperactive. Therefore they are more likely to tremble with excitement.
Chihuahuas’ adrenaline levels shoot up when they see their owner after a long day spent alone, and they’ll shiver or shake out of excitement.
If you notice your Chihuahua shaking and they seem to be panting a lot or barking excessively, then it’s likely that they’re feeling either excited about something.
Try to calm them down by speaking in a soothing voice and offering them a favorite toy or treat.
Chihuahuas are also prone to stress, which can manifest through shaking. If you notice your Chihuahua shaking and they seem particularly anxious or scared, then it’s likely that they’re feeling stressed.
In addition to shivering, you may also be wondering why Chihuahuas bark so much.
There are a number of things that could be causing this, from being left alone for too long to being in a new environment.
Chihuahuas are also naturally suspicious of strangers, so if there’s someone new in the house, that could be the reason why your Chihuahua is shaking.
Try to introduce your Chihuahua to the person gradually and in a non-threatening way. You can also cajole them by giving them a toy or treat to help ease their anxiety.
Chihuahuas that have had bad experiences in the past may also be more prone to shaking. And that’s true of any other dog as well.
If your Chihuahua is a rescue that was abused or neglected in the past, they may be terrified of people and shake whenever someone tries to pet them.
It’s important to slowly introduce your Chihuahua to new people and situations and give them time to adjust.
Never force them to do anything they’re not comfortable with and be patient — it may take some time, but eventually, they should start to feel more relaxed.
Anxiety is another possible cause of shaking in Chihuahuas. Dogs can suffer from anxiety, too, and this can lead to physical symptoms like shaking.
If you think your Chihuahua’s shaking may be caused by anxiety, there are a few things you can do to help.
First, it’s important to identify the source of your Chihuahua’s anxiety.
“Their small size makes them vulnerable to anything bigger than they are,” Quora user Karen M. Jones shares. We couldn’t agree more!
If they’re afraid of loud noises (think fireworks on 4th of July), try to provide a safe place for them to go (like a crate or quiet room) and make sure they have a toy or blanket that smells like you.
Training them with positive reinforcement so they associate being alone with something good (like a treat) can also help.
In addition, there are a number of products that can help relieve anxiety in dogs, from ThunderShirts to calming supplements. Talk to your vet about what might be best for your pet.
There are a number of injuries and medical conditions that can cause shaking in Chihuahuas.
If your Chihuahua has recently been in an accident or you notice they’re limping, for example, they may be shaking from the pain. Other injuries that could cause shaking include broken bones, burns, and cuts.
There are also health conditions that may cause Chihuahuas to shake which we’ll discuss in the next section.
One health condition that can cause shaking in Chihuahuas is low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia.
This is a common problem in small breeds (like Chihuahuas), and it can be caused by anything from not eating enough to overexertion. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include:
Take your little one to the vet immediately if it shows any of these symptoms. Self medication is not the route to take here.
As Lois Harford from San Diego points out, “Because they are so small, they also can have trouble regulating their body temperature and blood sugar, so they make shiver if they feel chilly (you’ll often see Chi’s with sweaters on if the temperature is below about 70!), and they may shake if their blood sugar is falling and they need a snack.”
Ear infections are another common health problem in Chihuahuas that can cause shaking.
If your Chihuahua is shaking and scratching its ears a lot, it may have an ear infection. Other symptoms of ear infections include excessive wax buildup, redness, and discharge.
Since Chihuahuas do tend to suffer from their fair share of health issues, it’s good to invest in a good dog insurance. You can check out our guide for the best dog insurances and take your pick.
Like it’s the case with us, fever leads to shaking and trembling in Chihuahuas too.
If your Chihuahua’s body temperature is above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, it may have a fever. In addition to shaking, other symptoms of fever include lethargy, loss of appetite, and dehydration.
You can use a rectal thermometer to check its temperature. Don’t let your dog’s fever go above 106 degrees Fahrenheit, as this can be dangerous and can lead to organ damage.
GTS is a neurological condition that can cause shaking in dogs.
Also called “shaker syndrome” or “steroid-responsive tremors,” this condition is most common in small breeds.
Different from normal shaking in Chihuahuas, GTS is usually more pronounced and can be accompanied by other symptoms like weakness, incoordination, and head tremors.
Canine distemper is a viral infection that can cause shaking in Chihuahuas (and other dogs).
This disease is most common in puppies, but it can affect dogs of any age.
Symptoms include fever, lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea — in addition to shaking. If you think your Chihuahua may have canine distemper, it’s important to take them to the vet immediately as it can be fatal.
Seizures are another possible cause of shaking in Chihuahuas.
A variety of factors can cause seizures including low blood sugar, electrolyte abnormalities, and brain tumors.
If your Chihuahua is having a seizure, you’ll notice them losing consciousness, paddling their legs, drooling, biting or chewing their tongue, and foaming at the mouth.
It’s best to take them to the vet immediately as they will need medication to control the seizures.
Kidney disease is a common health problem in older dogs of all breeds and Chihuahua’s are no exception.
When the kidneys are unable to filter toxins from the blood, it can lead to a build-up of toxins in the body, which can cause symptoms like shaking, weakness, and vomiting.
Has your Chihuahua been in an accident or do you think they may have suffered some sort of internal injury?
This could be the cause of their shaking!
Internal injuries can be very serious and even life-threatening, so if you think your Chihuahua may have one, it’s important to take them to the vet right away.
Always err on the side of caution and take them to the vet if you cannot decipher why your Chihuahua is shaking.
Only an experienced professional can properly diagnose and treat whatever is causing your Chihuahua to shake.
In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to ensure that your pet is comfortable:
If your Chihuahua is shaking due to cold weather or a health condition, make sure to keep them warm. A heated pet bed or putting a sweater/ blanket can help.
If your Chihuahua is prone to shaking due to anxiety or excitement, try to avoid overstimulating them. This means no rough play and keeping their environment as calm as possible.
If your Chihuahua is shaking due to hypoglycemia, make sure they’re getting enough food and water.
This means regular meals and snacks throughout the day, as well as always having fresh water available at all times.
As the old saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure.” If you’re worried that your Chihuahua might be shaking due to an undiagnosed health condition, make sure to take them to the vet for regular check-ups.
This way, you can catch any problems early and get them treated before they become serious.
Chihuahuas may shiver due to cold weather, anxiety, and excitement. In some cases, “shivering” may actually be seizures caused by health conditions like low blood sugar or electrolyte imbalance.
Chihuahuas may cry due to pain, fear, or separation anxiety. They may also do so to get your attention or signal a physical need such as hunger, thirst, or the need to use the bathroom. If your Chihuahua is crying excessively, it’s best to take them to the vet to rule out any medical causes.
When pet parents talk about their Chihuahuas “vibrating,” they usually mean that the dog is shaking excessively. This could be caused by the same reasons as normal shivering (cold weather, excitement, stress, etc.) or it could signal a more serious underlying health issue, such as canine distemper, GTS, or kidney failure.
If your pet is shaking and trembling, it could be due to a variety of reasons, including cold weather, anxiety, or excitement.
In some cases, “shaking and trembling” may actually be seizures caused by health conditions like low blood sugar or internal injuries.
If your Chihuahua is shaking excessively and inexplicably, it’s best to take them to the vet to ensure that there are no medical concerns.
Shaking while asleep is normal dog behavior and is usually nothing to worry about. Dogs usually shake or paw at the air when they are dreaming, also known as REM (rapid eye movement).
Meet Paul, a devoted dog dad to the delightful French Bulldog, Cofi. With a flair for humor and a deep understanding of Frenchie quirks, Paul brings a lighthearted touch to his writings. His relatable stories and practical insights are a blend of laughter and valuable advice and resonate with fellow dog owners.
Through his words, Paul aims to celebrate the joys and challenges of being a dedicated pet parent, reminding you that life is simply better with a four-legged, snorting sidekick by your side.