8 Reasons Why Do Chihuahuas Shake (Shiver And Tremble)

Why Do Chihuahuas Shake? Photo of two Chihuahuas shivering.

It’s pretty standard for Chihuahuas to shake, though it can be alarming to responsible pet parents. Want to know why do Chihuahuas shake? Take a look!

A Chihuahua shakes, trembles, or shivers for quite a few reasons. Some are biological, some are normal, and some are concerning.

Biological shivering reasons include temperature regulation, high metabolism, and hypoglycemia. Normal shivering includes fear, anxiety, or excitement. Concerning shivering would be poisoning or allergic reactions.

We’ve discussed them all below to help you always know how to protect your sweet Chihuahua!

Reasons why Chihuahuas shake

As introduced above, there are quite a few causes behind your shivering Chihuahua. Understanding what’s going on will start with knowing what it could be and going from there. Top reasons include:

  1. Temperature regulation
  2. A high metabolism
  3. Hypoglycemia
  4. Fear
  5. Anxiety
  6. Excitement
  7. Poisoning
  8. Allergic reactions

1. Temperature regulation

Since Chihuahuas are tiny dogs, they get cold very easily. Even if you are warm and comfortable, your Chihuahua could very well be cold! If they are trying to snuggle into you or hiding under blankets. In that case, this is a good indicator that they’re feeling the cold temperature and need to warm up!

This is part of why many Chihuahuas are wearing onesies and coats all the time! It isn’t just a fashion statement, but rather an essential part of their overall health and comfort! You can find lots of great options that will help them ward the chill off. Your breeder and vet can help you pick suitable wardrobe staples, too!

2. A high metabolism

Also, a Chihuahua has a very high metabolism due to their small size! Since they digest food three times as fast as we do, this high metabolism makes them prone to the shakes. These could be very mild, hard to see, or moderate to severe. It depends on the dog.

3. Hypoglycemia

Chihuahuas can have a hypoglycemic attack pretty quickly, thanks to their fast digestion. This means that they’ll be much more likely to have a drop in blood sugar while waiting for the next meal. Try to feed your Chihuahuas in 4-5 meals per day, evenly spread out to keep this from happening.

You can also ask your vet for suggestions on keeping these drops from happening. Also, ask what to do if one does happen so that you can step in. Once you notice an attack, increasing their blood sugar quickly will be necessary for their health.

4. Fear

Like any other pet or human, they will shake and shiver when they are scared. Their body enters the “fight or flight” mode that is as natural as our lizard brains. You can help this by teaching your dog to calm themselves and being there as their ally, too.

While it’s normal to want to help our dogs avoid their fears, acing them in careful, secure settings is also helpful for them to face those fears and enjoy less of a reaction. You can do this with a vet’s support!

5. Anxiety

Anxiety is widespread in Chihuahuas. From generalized anxiety to true panic to something like a focused anxiety trigger, it’s all possible with Chihuahuas. If they are anxious about a car ride, this can cause them to tremble or shiver. Understanding those triggers will help you to minimize the reactions. You can also create a safe space for your dog to go when they need to calm down!

6. Excitement

Another emotion that leads to shaking is excitement! It could be hearing you come home or seeing the treat jar open, or hearing the word “walk.” Excitement leads to the shaking — in a good way.

There is also a connection between excitement and a Chihuahua’s metabolism. Experts believe that fast metabolism makes them prone to shaking, meaning excitement and other emotions will cause shaking faster and easier than other breeds.

7. Poisoning

This can happen easily with chihuahuas. They are so small that all it takes is tiny, trace amounts of poison to cause a toxic reaction. Shaking in combination with lethargy and vomiting are common indicators of this. If your Chihuahua is shaking and you know they’ve eaten something they shouldn’t have eaten, get them to a vet immediately! The faster the intervention, the better.

8. Allergic reactions

Dogs often have allergic reactions involving hives and difficulty breathing. This can be paired with a racing heartbeat and shaking. If you notice any kind of rash or panting and shaking, you’ll want to get your dog to a vet for a check-up immediately so that your vet can intervene.

Photo of a Chihuahua with a cold weather jacket.

Why has my Chihuahua started shaking?

Many people will come here to read all about trembling in their Chihuahua because it seems to have started randomly. The first thing to do is monitor your dog’s shivering. Is it genuinely new behavior, or has it been happening all along? 

If you’ve noticed that the shaking is very new and doesn’t seem to be linked to anything that we’ve talked about, it could be called Generalized Trembling Syndrome (GTS). This is a mysterious short-term condition that impacts your dog from about nine months to 2 years old. It isn’t just spotted in Chihuahuas, but it is especially common in these tiny dogs.

This is something that can be diagnosed with a vet test. If your vet thinks that this impacts your dog’s health, they can prescribe corticosteroids to help even out your dog’s body. After a few weeks of treatment, many dogs will feel much better.

This condition often disappears randomly after the 2nd birthday of your dog. If the trembling is minor, many vets won’t’ prescribe anything since it isn’t impacting your dog’s overall health.

How do I get my Chihuahua to stop shaking?

If you feel bad for your dog and just want them to enjoy a trembling-free life, the most important thing you can do is understand what’s causing it. If it’s a physical issue, like temperature, You can change that by getting them some clothes or a hug! If it’s a fear thing, you can help them learn to deescalate their fears through conditioning and offering comfort.

Addressing the root of the problem will help your Chihuahua to spend more time free from the shakes and shivering that is so annoying to them and worrisome to you! 

How do I stop my Chihuahua from shaking all the time?

Addressing all of their needs, especially their excitability and temperature ones, will help you minimize their shaking quite a bit. If you’re looking for a way to stop your Chihuahua from shaking at all, however, it’s essential to accept that shaking will be a part of their life.

You saw that list of reasons up there, right? So, one or more of these reasons will always cause your Chihuahua to shake a little bit. Having a dog that is entirely free from trembling at all, ever, is impossible. 

Accept your Chihuahua’s trembling for what it is, and do whatever you can to minimize it. If you’re concerned about it, you can also ask your breeder or vet for more tips. They might be able to help you understand what the most likely cause of it is, too!

Why do Chihuahuas shake when they sleep?

It’s one thing for Chihuahuas to shake when awake, but what about when they’re asleep? If they are asleep, there are two leading causes for shivering or trembling:

  • Dreaming
  • Seizures

If they’re dreaming, it’ll be mild twitches. They often involve the feet and legs. They may partially wag their tails and even yip or bark a bit. This is a happy sound, of course, and this whole thing tends to make most people laugh and take a bunch of videos. It is pretty cute, we agree!

In some cases, your Chihuahua might actually be having a seizure. Certain illnesses or sicknesses can cause them, and many times it’ll look like your dog is asleep when they’re having a seizure. Seizures tend to cause body-wide shivering with limbs that are straight out and unmoving (rigid). They might be yelping, but it would be a negative sound. 

If you suspect it is a seizure, bring your dog in for a check-up to make sure that they are okay, firstly, and then to see what the causes were for the seizure itself.

Why does my Chihuahua shake off after I pet him?

We’ve all been there! We’re petting our Chihuahua, and then as soon as we stop, they shake themselves off. It’s funny, but also kind of offensive right?

Don’t be! Most dogs do this because they are itchy. Something about how you were petting and scratching your dog tickled them, and they will need to shake themselves off of the itch. This is common if your dog is shedding and has built-up loose fur. Many dogs will immediately follow this with bitting the itchy spot or licking it, just for good measure!

In essence

A trembling Chihuahua is not always bad, but it is something to pay attention to. Common causes for your Chihuahua to shake include temperature regulation, hypoglycemia, fear or emotional responses, and health conditions such as poisoning or GTS.

Understanding which of these is the cause and what to do about it will help you get your Chihuahua back to feeling their best in no time!

Chihuahuas have complex reasons why they might tremble or shiver throughout their lives. Understanding when to be okay with it and when to worry is important for giving them the proper care they deserve.

Know someone feeling nervous about this very issue? Share this with them!

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