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Why Do Chihuahuas Shake? Here’s The 17 Reasons

Why Do Chihuahuas Shake

Ever wondered why your Chihuahua shakes a lot?

It looks like an electricity surge went through their bodies, right?

Whatever the reason may be, you’re not alone in wondering why this happens.

You might even be asking yourself, “Are they okay?”.

Read on to find out…

  • 17 reasons why your Chihuahua shakes.
  • How this behavior can be traced back to their characteristics.
  • Whether or not a Chihuahua’s aggressiveness plays a role in this.
  • And this is just the beginning…

Why do Chihuahuas shake?

Chihuahuas shake because they could be feeling scared, excited, or anxious. Shaking is also a natural reaction of their body having low blood sugar levels, high metabolism, and feeling cold. Health conditions also cause them to shake such as allergies, injuries, and kidney problems.

17 reasons why Chihuahuas shake

#1: They feel cold

Chihuahuas are naturally petite dogs and have a low amount of body fat.

When the weather becomes colder than usual, or when they enter a situation where cold temperatures are involved, they get chilly.

While it’s true that there are dogs that can withstand cold weather conditions and even harsh ones at that, your Chihuahua isn’t one of them.

They simply do not have the capacity to be in cold places.

Would be nice if they’re like dog breeds who have thick fur. Or bred to work in the snow such as:

  • Saint Bernard.
  • Siberian Husky.
  • Great Pyrenees.
  • Alaskan Malamute.
  • Bernese Mountain Dog.

But because they lack the capacity to survive in the cold, they shake and shiver.

Other health conditions that your Chihuahua might experience if they’re exposed to chilly environments would be:

  • Colds.
  • Watery eyes.
  • Feeling lazy and sleepy all the time.

Wanna keep them out of the cold?

What you can do to help your pooch is keep the temperature in your home as comfortably warm as possible.

Giving them cozy dog beds with warm fuzzy blankets would also be helpful in keeping their body temperature up.

If you’re into dressing up your pooch, then go get them a stylish sweater from Amazon. 

If you also go out on a walk with them, make sure that you bring with you an umbrella to keep them from rain if it does come.

And as much as possible, pick them up and hug them. Your body temperature will greatly help them.

You might also want to know: 15 reasons why dogs shiver after a bath

#2: They are excited

Have you ever seen kids jump up and down and get happily unruly when they get what they want?

I know a few childhood friends who squirmed for joy when they got the new Playstation console.

This is how it is for dogs sometimes.

Because they feel the excitement from a treat or any reward that you’ll be giving them, they might react by shaking.

Aside from jumping, running around, and wagging their tail, shivering in happiness is another reaction they’ll show.

“Does it have any negative effects on them?”

Generally speaking, no.

It’s perfectly normal for them to shake when they get excited.

However, according to research, overexcitement does happen to dogs.

Your pooch will show this through barking excessively, and in worse cases, they’ll bite on your shoelaces or pant leg and shake them wildly.

“How do I keep this from happening?”

Make sure that you don’t accidentally startle your dog.

Even noises like sneezing can get your dog too excited.

Seeing new people and other pets can also trigger this reaction.

Socialization can help out in keeping your Chihuahua’s emotions in check and not get them over-excited at times.

Check out also: Why does my dog bark when I arrive home?

#3: They have high metabolism

Your pooch may be small but their bodies have gigantic metabolism.

According to research, dogs that are smaller in size have higher mass-specific metabolic rates. 

They also have bigger organs that are metabolically active.

One reaction that a Chihuahua’s body shows due to the speed of their metabolism is shaking.

This also affects how they keep their body temperatures warm.

Because they have metabolisms as fast as Usain Bolt, they burn off their body heat quickly.

This results in getting cold quicker and more frequently.

#4: They got scared

Dogs feeling scared is a normal reaction to new things in their surroundings.

I mean, we humans experience the same, right?

Settling down in a new place can be scary.

Even trying things would cause some of us to feel extreme fear.

This is how it goes for your baby Chihuahua sometimes.

Whether they’re inside your home or out in the world for a quick walk, they can encounter a lot of new things.

Their senses might get stimulated and it sparks their curiosity.

Now, it can get scary for them if they are exposed to the stimulation in a rather quick manner.

“What do you mean?”

One example would be opening an umbrella.

If you unfold it in front of your pooch in a slow and controlled manner, they might not even notice it.

However, if you open it and let it burst out then your fur baby could get frightened.

Other examples of these scenarios would be:

  • Dropping a heavy object.
  • Loud noises like clapping and stomping.
  • An unknown (to your pooch) human trying to pet them.
  • Birds and other flying animals zooming past your Chihuahua.

And out of this fear comes the involuntary shaking of their bodies.

It would be helpful if you keep your pooch away from these experiences as much as possible.

However, we can’t always be there for them.

When they go out for a walk or explore by themselves, they need to be prepared to face any surprises that might come their way.

If you want to have a less fearful pooch, try doing these:

  • Exposing them to the outside world consistently and gradually.
  • Let them sniff around new objects first before introducing it to them.
  • Make time for socializing and other activities that will make them meet strangers – dogs or otherwise.

Further reading: Why Does My Dog Lay On Top Of Me? 13 Reasons + 3 Tips

#5: They have low blood sugar

Your Chihuahuas Shake Due To Low Blood Sugar

This might sound like something only humans experience. But dogs have this condition, too.

Low blood sugar or hypoglycemia affects mammals including dogs.

According to the PPC, this condition can occur in dogs when they get too active and do not have enough meals to fuel their activities.

This could also happen when they don’t eat before a physically tiring task.

Another cause of hypoglycemia in dogs would be: 

  • Addison’s disease.
  • Issues with glycogen storage.
  • Tumors in the pancreas that release insulin.

If your vet identifies that the cause of your fur baby’s hypoglycemia is an underlying medical condition, they’d treat that first.

“How do I know if they have low blood sugar levels?”

If your Chihuahua shows any of these signs they might be experiencing this condition:

  • Seizure.
  • Shaking.
  • Poor appetite.
  • Weakness and lack of energy.
  • Blemishes and discoloration in their gums and skin.

Checking their activity levels in comparison to their meals would be a good start in keeping them from having low blood sugar.

A quick visit to the vet will also keep the diagnosis precise.

If you think that your pooch is experiencing severe low blood sugar levels, these are the tests that will be done to them:

  • Urinalysis.
  • Biochemistry tests.
  • Complete blood count.
  • Concentration of blood insulin.
  • Concentration of blood glucose.

#6: They’re growing old

Smaller dog breeds live significantly on average.

This is in comparison to their bigger counterparts.

The average lifespan of small dog breeds is between 10 to 15 years with some breeds even reaching 18 years, according to the AKC.

Chihuahuas, specifically, can live somewhere between 15 to 17 years.

While that’s already a significant amount of time, I’d get why we’d still be sad to see them go.

However, the best we can do is give them the proper care and attention while they’re growing old.

One of the signs that your fur baby is already getting too old is that they’re shaking.

Particularly the hind legs.

These tremors are caused by the deteriorating state of their bodies.

Which is pretty common in older dogs, especially with Chihuahuas.

There might be instances when your pooch would have difficulty in walking and they wouldn’t be as active as before.

To help ease their pain during this stage in their life is to keep their usual route in your home free from obstacles.

Examples of these paths would be from their bed/sleeping area to the kitchen.

You can also feed them where they usually stay when they’re inside the house to minimize movement.

When going out for walks, keep it short and choose paths that are smooth and free from roots and rocks.

Having a stroller on standby would also be a good option if your pooch finds themselves too tired to walk back home.

This way, they can still see the outside world and interact with their friends

#7: They are feeling anxious

Anxiety is pretty common in dogs.

And when canines feel anxious, they sometimes show it by shaking.

While Chihuahuas do tremble for several reasons, having it as repetitive behavior in dogs may mean that they have anxiety.

Feelings of anxiousness can affect any fur baby from any breed.

This may even manifest differently in every pooch.

One reason why your dog feels anxious is because they are far away from you.

This condition is more commonly known as separation anxiety.

Your pooch may also do the following behaviors when they feel this:

“What should I do to avoid this from happening to my pooch?”

According to research, you can do the following to help lessen the chances they develop separation anxiety:

  • Let them meet other people and pets.
  • Refrain from giving punishments to your pooch.
  • Provide a holistic experience outside your home.
  • Create a consistent routine in your household (meals, playtime, rest, etc.).

#8: They feel nauseous

Have you ever ridden a taxi that had a driver as crazy as Deadpool?

I did once.

He did nothing outside the legal limitations of driving, but man, the way he handled the car was mad.

By the end of the trip I was feeling nauseous and wanted to lie down for a bit.

I hope I never ride with him again. Ever.

Luckily, I didn’t bring my pooch with me or we’ll both have our heads spinning.

“Dogs feel nauseous, too?”

Yes, they do.

Just like humans, our dogs can also feel sick due to several factors.

Most of which may affect us, too such as:

  • Excessive eating.
  • Motion sickness from car rides.
  • Exposure to toxins e.g. strong cleaning agents.
  • Eating something that doesn’t agree with their stomach.
  • Ingesting solid objects like toys, rocks, and other objects that can obstruct their digestive system.

#9: They’re having food allergies

Dogs can have allergies, too.

So when your pooch hears you ranting about how tasty lobsters are but you’re deathly allergic to it, they’d understand.

Or any food for that matter.

I’d be sad too if I won’t be able to eat a food group because my body decides to react badly to it.

And this can happen to your baby Chihuahua, too.

“Really? But, when do dogs get allergies?”

One common reason why your pooch is going through this condition is due to a diet change.

They could be reacting to eating something that their body doesn’t agree with – and rightfully so.

Their skin could become itchy and have inflammations that are uncomfortable.

Add to that the fact that they can’t scratch other parts of their body.

All they can do is shake their bodies in discomfort.

If you think this is what’s happening with your pooch, run some tests on them.

According to the CVMC, the best method for knowing the food which your dog is allergic to is through a dietary elimination trial.

However, this can be frustrating and time-consuming.

The next best thing your vet can do is to conduct a blood and saliva test on your fur baby.

This method is quicker and will save you money, but the results might be inaccurate.

Reading recommendation: 7 reasons why dogs scratch themselves

#10: You have encouraged the behavior

Another reason why your Chihuahua shakes is because they might think you like it.

Or at the very least, they get rewards when they do it.

Dogs respond positively to the following:

  • Petting them.
  • Throwing treats at them.
  • Giving them your attention.
  • Positive words such as “good boy/girl”.
  • Rubbing their tummy, head, or chin.

Whenever you do this, you are giving them a reward.

Especially if they receive it after they do certain behavior.

In this case, shaking.

Your dog would do anything just so you’ll notice them and give them these good things.

That’s why whenever possible, they might repeat this behavior over and over again.

Even simple gestures like smiling can encourage your pooch.

#11: They have a neurological disorder

Shaking violently might be a sign of a more severe health disorder.

Here is an example of what I mean by this:

One of the neurological disorders that your pooch might have is seizures.

According to Dr. Ward, one of the most common causes of seizures is idiopathic epilepsy.

There is currently no known cause as to why this happens to dogs.

But we’ve learned that it is an inherited condition.

Other causes of seizures in dogs are either of the following:

  • Failure of their kidneys.
  • Inhalation or ingestion of toxins.
  • Presence of tumor in their brain.

If you think that your Chihuahua’s shaking may be caused by a neurological disorder, schedule a visit to your vet.

After check-up, and if your vet sees the need for it, they might suggest medication to help with your pooch’s seizures.

The VCA says that the two most common medications that vets use to treat are either phenobarbital and potassium bromide.

#12: They had a recent head injury

Is your pooch the adventurous type?

If they are, then you might be one of the fur parents who are always worried for the safety of your pooch.

We’ll never know what might happen to them when we’re not around.

Injuries, cuts, and bruises are only a few of the things that might occur.

However, these can also happen to lap dogs like your Chihuahua.

And because they are active at times, they might run around and get themselves injured.

What’s worse is that they could get one that affected their head.

Because of the impact, your pooch’s brain might have been hit.

Serious injuries that affects your fur baby’s brain can cause the following according to PetMD:

  • Vomiting.
  • Disorientation.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Their pupils do not have the same size.
  • Difficulty in walking which would sometimes look like shaking.

#13: They have distemper

This is another medical condition dogs have that would cause them to shake.

Since it will cause seizures when the condition worsens, some fur parents might look at it like a typical Chihuahua shiver.

However, this is far from your old regular shake.

Distemper is a disease that is caused by a paramyxovirus.

It is highly contagious and in the worst cases, can be fatal to dogs.

When the virus enters the body of a canine, it attacks on multiple fronts.

Several internal systems of a dog will be infected resulting to a disease that is severely difficult to treat.

“Ohhh, hey, this sounds bad. I don’t want my fur baby to have this.”

Neither do I.

What you can do to help stop this disease from getting into your dog is having them vaccinated for it.

Make sure that your pooch’s shots are all up to date.

There’s a reason why the AKCCHF considers the distemper vaccine a core vaccination shot.

It’s up there with rabies, parvovirus, and adenovirus vaccines.

Yeah, it’s that important.

Unfortunately, vets haven’t found any cure for distemper.

If a dog is diagnosed with this disease, all veterinarians do is provide life support for them.

Their survival will depend heavily on the canine’s immune system.

Some do survive, but it is still best to get the vaccine ahead of time and not gamble their health.

#14: They have internal injuries

When your pooch is out in the world exploring and playing, they might encounter some problems along the way.

Speeding cars, aggressive dogs, heartless humans (yes, they exist).

Your pooch can get into an altercation with another dog, or in an accident.

When they do they’ll most likely have internal injuries.

Watch out for signs of these kinds of injuries:

  • Limping.
  • Poor appetite.
  • Excessive whining.
  • Difficulty in walking.
  • Reaction to pain when picked up such as screaming or barking.

If you think that your pooch got into a scenario where they might have internal injuries, observe them for a few days.

Track the frequency of their meals and their level of energy.

#15: They ingested poison

You know how dogs are sometimes…

They go out, play around, and randomly eat things they find interesting.



Insects and bugs?


Our dogs are furry and cute, but man, sometimes, it’s like they don’t think.

And this type of behavior could be the reason why your pooch would ingest poison.

“Where might they get poisoned?”

Oh, anywhere. Even at your home.

Here are a few items that could poison your pooch:

  • Xylitol.
  • Grapes.
  • Raisins.
  • Alcohol.
  • Avocado.
  • OTC medicines.
  • Prescription medications.

If you can’t keep these out of your home, make sure that you lock them in a secure place.

Keep in mind that dogs may still jump up and reach these items.

#16: They have kidney disease

Just like humans, Chihuahuas’ internal organs may also take a hit.

And when they do have damage in their kidneys, it can cause them to shake in pain and discomfort.

According to PetMD, kidney diseases can be caused by the following:

  • Snake bites.
  • Leptospirosis.
  • Severe dehydration.
  • Being exposed to heat for long periods of time causing heat stroke.

If you suspect your dog has kidney issues, take them to the vet for treatment.

Here are some of the medications your pooch might receive from the clinic:

  • Dialysis.
  • IV fluids.
  • Electrolytes.
  • Medicines to treat gastrointestinal issues.

You might also be interested in: How to get a sick dog to drink water?

#17: They have Generalized Tremor Syndrome

This health condition is also widely known as GTS.

If your Chihuahua has this (and I hope they won’t. Ever.), that means they have an inflammation in their brain.

More specifically, the part that controls their movement and other motor skills – the cerebellum.

When this manifests, a dog may shake uncontrollably and have full body tremors.

The cause for the disease has remained unknown but is widely believed to be related to a mild central nervous issue.

During your vet visit, they’ll conduct a quick health history of your pooch and check if they have underlying medical issues.

If they do, then the doctor will treat your Chihuahua for that condition first.

Medications such as corticosteroids may also be given to help your pooch recover from GTS.