Why Do Chihuahuas Shake? And How to Stop It!

If you’ve spent any amount of time with a Chihuahua, you’ve likely noticed a curious behavior: they tend to shake or tremble. It’s a characteristic that’s almost as synonymous with the breed as their small size or their feisty personality. But have you ever found yourself wondering, why do Chihuahuas shake?

In this blog post, we’re going to delve into the reasons behind this shaking, explore the factors that can exacerbate it, and offer some effective strategies to help your furry friend feel more comfortable and calm.

Key Takeaways:

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, here are the key points we’ll be discussing:

Now, for the short answer to why do Chihuahuas shake: Chihuahuas tend to shake due to various reasons, including their response to cold temperatures, emotional states such as excitement or anxiety, and certain health conditions. While it’s a common behavior for the breed, excessive shaking can indicate a problem that might require a vet’s attention. It’s essential for Chihuahua owners to understand this behavior and know when to seek help.

Why do Chihuahuas Shake?

Shaking in Chihuahuas is a characteristic trait observed across the breed, and it’s often attributed to a variety of factors. Let’s break them down one by one.

1. Physiological Factors

  1. Small Size and High Metabolism: Chihuahuas are among the smallest dog breeds. Their tiny size means they lose heat quickly, causing them to shiver in an attempt to stay warm. Moreover, these dogs have a high metabolic rate, which can also lead to trembling as they burn off energy.
  2. Low Body Fat: Unlike larger breeds with more fat reserves to insulate them, Chihuahuas have minimal body fat. This lack of insulation can make them more sensitive to temperature changes, leading to shaking in cold conditions.
  3. Hypoglycemia: Chihuahuas can be prone to hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, a condition that can cause shaking. It’s important to maintain a consistent feeding schedule to prevent this issue.

2. Emotional Responses

  1. Excitement: Chihuahuas may shake out of sheer excitement. If your Chihuahua starts shaking when you come home or when it’s time for a walk, they’re probably just excited!
  2. Anxiety and Fear: Chihuahuas can also shake due to anxiety or fear. This can be triggered by various things such as loud noises, unfamiliar environments, or other larger dogs.
  3. Stress: Stress is another emotional factor that can cause a Chihuahua to shake. Changes in routine, new family members, or moving homes can lead to stress-induced shaking.

3. Health Concerns

  1. General Sickness: If your Chihuahua is shaking and showing other signs of distress such as lack of appetite, lethargy, or vomiting, they may be ill and should be taken to a vet immediately.
  2. Dental Problems: Chihuahuas are prone to dental issues, and pain from dental disease can cause shaking.
  3. Neurological Disorders: Though rare, neurological disorders like Generalized Tremor Syndrome (GTS) can cause shaking in Chihuahuas.

Understanding these factors can help Chihuahua owners determine whether their pet’s shaking is normal or if it’s a symptom of an underlying issue. Always remember: When in doubt, seek professional veterinary advice.

Is it Just the Cold?

It’s a common misconception that Chihuahuas only shake when they’re cold. While their small size and lack of body fat can make them more susceptible to chilly temperatures, it’s far from the only reason behind their shaking.

Yes, a Chihuahua may start to tremble when the thermostat dips, but there’s more to this shaking story.

1. Sensitivity to Cold

Given their origins in the warm climates of Mexico, Chihuahuas are naturally inclined to prefer hotter temperatures. This means that even a mild drop in temperature can trigger their bodies to shiver in an attempt to generate heat and stay warm.

2. Lack of Insulation

The Chihuahua’s lack of insulating fat and their thin coat (especially in short-haired varieties) means that they are less equipped to retain body heat. As a result, they may shake more often in colder environments or during winter months.

3. The Role of Clothing

Clothing can play a crucial role in helping your Chihuahua maintain their body heat. Sweaters, coats, and blankets can make a significant difference in keeping your furry friend warm and possibly reduce shaking due to cold.

While keeping your Chihuahua warm can definitely help to minimize shaking, it’s essential to remember that temperature is just one piece of the puzzle. Always consider other factors like emotional responses and health concerns when trying to understand why your Chihuahua shakes.

Fear, Anxiety, and Excitement Leading to Shaking

Beyond physical triggers, Chihuahuas can also shake due to emotional responses. These emotional triggers can be positive, like excitement, or negative, such as fear and anxiety.

1. Excitement

Ever noticed your Chihuahua shaking when you reach for the leash or when a favorite person walks through the door? That’s excitement-induced shaking. The adrenaline rush they get from anticipating something exciting can result in a shivering reaction.

2. Fear and Anxiety

Fear and anxiety can also cause shaking in Chihuahuas. This could be a response to various triggers, such as thunderstorms, fireworks, unfamiliar people, or other animals. If your Chihuahua tends to shake when faced with these situations, fear or anxiety could be the culprit.

3. Stress

Stress is another emotional factor that can trigger shaking. Changes to their routine or environment, such as moving house or introducing a new pet, can lead to stress in Chihuahuas. If your pet shakes during these changes, they might be struggling with stress.

4. Understanding Your Chihuahua

Recognizing these emotional triggers can help you understand your Chihuahua’s shaking better. By managing their environment and using positive reinforcement techniques, you can help your pet feel safe and reduce shaking caused by emotional responses.

It’s crucial to note that chronic or intense fear, anxiety, or stress are serious concerns that can severely affect your pet’s quality of life. If you’re struggling to manage your Chihuahua’s emotional responses, don’t hesitate to seek help from a professional, such as a vet or a certified animal behaviorist.

Chihuahuas Shaking in Their Sleep

One behavior that often concerns Chihuahua owners is shaking during sleep. While sometimes, it can be harmless, in other cases, it could indicate an underlying health issue. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your pet’s behavior and consult with your vet if anything seems out of the ordinary.

1. Dreaming

Dogs, including Chihuahuas, are known to dream just like humans. You may notice your pet twitching, moving their paws, or shaking in their sleep, which is typically a normal part of the dreaming process and usually nothing to worry about.

2. Cold

Even when your Chihuahua is snuggled up and sleeping, they can still get cold. If you notice shaking during their nap time, it might be a good idea to provide a warmer sleeping environment with blankets or a heated pet bed.

3. Health Concerns

However, if your Chihuahua is shaking excessively or appearing distressed during sleep, it might be a sign of a health concern. Neurological issues, pain, or illnesses can sometimes lead to shaking during sleep.

4 Veterinarian Consultation

If you’re worried about your Chihuahua’s shaking while they sleep, it’s always a safe move to consult your vet. They can help you identify if this behavior is normal or a sign of an underlying health issue that needs attention.

In the end, while shaking in sleep can be perfectly normal for Chihuahuas, any excessive or sudden changes in behavior should be discussed with a veterinarian. Remember, when it comes to your pet’s health, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Why Do Chihuahuas Shake

Chihuahua Shaking and Not Eating

Shaking, paired with a lack of appetite, can be a clear signal that something is amiss with your Chihuahua. Not eating and shaking might indicate that your pet is experiencing discomfort, pain, or illness.

1. Digestive Issues

Gastrointestinal problems, such as upset stomach, can lead to shaking and loss of appetite in Chihuahuas. Infections, food intolerance, or ingesting something harmful could potentially upset your pet’s stomach.

2. Dental Problems

Chihuahuas are prone to dental issues, which can result in pain and difficulty eating. If your Chihuahua is shaking and refusing to eat, a toothache or gum disease could be the culprit.

3. Serious Health Conditions

Unfortunately, more serious health conditions like pancreatitis, kidney disease, or liver problems can also cause a Chihuahua to shake and not eat. If you notice these symptoms persisting, it’s crucial to seek veterinary attention promptly.

4. Stress and Anxiety

Remember, stress and anxiety can also cause shaking and might even affect your pet’s appetite. Consider recent changes or stressors in their environment that might be causing these symptoms.

5. Veterinary Help

In any case, a Chihuahua that’s shaking and refusing to eat needs prompt veterinary attention. Your vet can conduct a thorough examination and necessary tests to determine the cause of these symptoms and recommend the best course of treatment.

Always remember, it’s crucial to stay observant of changes in your Chihuahua’s behavior and eating habits. Early detection can make a significant difference in the treatment and management of various health issues.

Are Chihuahuas Naturally Shaky?

One question often raised by Chihuahua owners and enthusiasts is whether these adorable pups are naturally shaky. Indeed, it’s a unique trait commonly seen in this breed, but it’s essential to understand the factors behind it.

1. Body Structure and Temperature Regulation

Due to their small size and less body fat, Chihuahuas may have a harder time maintaining their body heat, especially in cold environments. Consequently, they may shake to generate warmth. This is a natural response and doesn’t necessarily signal any issues.

2. Emotional Sensitivity

Chihuahuas are known for their strong emotional connection with their owners. They’re incredibly sensitive to their environment and the emotions of their humans. Shaking can often be a natural response to these emotional stimuli, whether it’s excitement, stress, or fear.

3 Genetic Disposition

Just like humans, dogs can inherit certain traits from their parents. Some Chihuahuas might be more prone to shaking because of their genetic disposition.

While it’s normal for Chihuahuas to shake more than other dog breeds due to their physical and emotional characteristics, it’s always important to monitor this behavior. If the shaking is excessive, occurs suddenly, or is accompanied by other worrying symptoms, it’s time to visit the vet.

Always remember, being aware and observant can ensure your Chihuahua’s well-being.

Soothing Your Shivering Chihuahua: Practical Solutions

If your Chihuahua shakes often, there are practical steps you can take to help soothe them. It’s always crucial to remember that these steps should be seen as methods to improve your pet’s comfort, not as substitutes for professional veterinary care when needed.

1. Warmth and Comfort

Due to their small size and lack of body fat, Chihuahuas can get cold easily. Ensure they have a warm and cozy environment. Cozy beds, blankets, and even doggy sweaters can help keep your little friend comfortable.

2. Balanced Diet

A well-balanced diet can support overall health and vitality. Make sure your Chihuahua’s diet is suitable for their age, size, and health condition. Consult your vet for personalized diet recommendations.

3. Regular Exercise

Regular exercise can help to regulate your Chihuahua’s body temperature and keep them healthy. However, remember to adjust the exercise level to your pet’s size and health conditions.

4. Training and Socialization

If your Chihuahua shakes due to fear or anxiety, proper socialization and training can help. Gradually expose your pet to different environments, people, and situations to help them adapt and feel more comfortable.

5. Regular Vet Check-ups

Routine veterinary check-ups can help to catch any potential health issues early on. Regular exams ensure that your pet stays in the best possible health and any signs of illnesses are spotted before they become severe.

6. Emotional Support

Remember, Chihuahuas are emotional creatures and crave their owner’s affection. Your emotional support can go a long way in calming a shaky Chihuahua. Spend quality time, offer reassurance during stressful situations, and establish a secure and loving environment for your pet.

While these solutions can help manage and reduce your Chihuahua’s shaking, it’s important to consult your vet if shaking is frequent, excessive, or accompanied by other signs of distress. Remember, these tips are about comfort, not curing any possible underlying conditions.

How Do I Stop My Chihuahua From Shaking?

While Chihuahuas shaking can be a normal behavior, excessive shaking might indicate discomfort or distress. Here are some effective strategies you can employ to mitigate your pet’s shaking.

1. Identify the Trigger

The first step to mitigating your Chihuahua’s shaking is to identify the trigger. Once you know what causes your pet to shake, you can take steps to manage or eliminate these triggers.

2. Positive Reinforcement

Reward your Chihuahua for calm behavior. Use treats, toys, or praise to reinforce when they are relaxed and not shaking. This can help to associate calmness with positive experiences.

3. Provide a Safe Space

If your Chihuahua shakes due to fear or anxiety, providing a safe, quiet space can be beneficial. This could be a crate or a special area with their bed, toys, and familiar items.

4. Consult a Professional

If you’re unsure about why your Chihuahua is shaking or if the shaking persists despite your efforts, it’s important to consult with a veterinary professional. They can provide medical advice, diagnose potential health issues, or recommend behavioral therapy if necessary.

Remember, while these strategies can help manage your Chihuahua’s shaking, they aren’t a substitute for veterinary advice and care. Your vet is the best source of information and guidance for your pet’s individual needs.

When to Seek It?

It’s essential to recognize when your Chihuahua’s shaking might warrant a visit to the vet. Here are some instances where professional help should be sought:

Persistent Shaking

If your Chihuahua’s shaking is constant and doesn’t seem to stop even in comfortable, non-threatening situations, it might be time to consult a vet.

Accompanying Symptoms

If the shaking is accompanied by other symptoms such as loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, or any signs of physical discomfort, it’s a clear signal that you need to seek professional help.

Changes in Behavior

A sudden change in behavior or personality is often a sign that something isn’t right. If your usually active Chihuahua suddenly becomes lethargic and shaky, a vet visit is warranted.

Post-Traumatic Shaking

If your pet recently underwent a traumatic event such as an accident or a major change in their life and they start shaking afterward, it’s crucial to consult a vet.

Shaking After Medication

If shaking starts or significantly increases after introducing new medication or vaccination, this could be a sign of an adverse reaction, and you should immediately contact your vet.

In all these scenarios, prompt veterinary attention can help diagnose potential health problems and provide necessary treatment. Your vet can guide you on how to deal with your pet’s specific situation and suggest appropriate measures to reduce shaking.

Debunking Myths: Understanding Chihuahuas Beyond Shaking

Chihuahuas, despite their small size, have a larger-than-life personality, which often leads to a number of misconceptions. Here, let’s debunk some of the common myths and get to know our little friends a bit more.

Chihuahuas are Always Nervous and Fearful

While it’s true that Chihuahuas can be anxious and often shake due to fear or nervousness, it doesn’t mean they’re always in this state. With the right care, socialization, and training, Chihuahuas can be just as confident and calm as any other dog breed.

They are Fragile

Chihuahuas are indeed small and require care to prevent injuries. However, they aren’t as fragile as many believe. These dogs are robust and often quite adventurous.

They are Aggressive

Chihuahuas can be protective and may exhibit defensive behavior. However, labeling them as aggressive is a misunderstanding. With proper socialization, Chihuahuas can get along well with other animals and people.

They Don’t Need Much Exercise

Contrary to popular belief, Chihuahuas are energetic and require regular physical and mental stimulation. Regular exercise and play sessions can help keep them healthy and mitigate issues like anxiety, which can lead to shaking.

In summary, understanding your Chihuahua’s behavior goes beyond observing their shaking. Getting to know their unique personality and needs can help you ensure they live a happy and fulfilling life.

Shaking Impact on Chihuahuas’ Lifestyle and Lifespan

Shaking can be a regular part of a Chihuahua’s life, but it’s crucial to understand how it might impact their overall lifestyle and lifespan.

Impact on Lifestyle

Chihuahuas are lively, loving, and full of energy. Frequent shaking, especially if caused by fear or anxiety, can inhibit their natural behavior and reduce their overall quality of life. A constantly shaking dog might be less inclined to play, socialize, or engage in normal doggy behavior.

Impact on Lifespan

Shaking in itself is not likely to directly impact a Chihuahua’s lifespan. However, if the shaking is a symptom of an underlying health issue, it could potentially lead to a shortened lifespan if not addressed promptly. Regular vet check-ups and keen observation of any changes in shaking patterns can help ensure your Chihuahua stays healthy.

Mitigating the Impact

Addressing the reasons behind your Chihuahua’s shaking can significantly improve their lifestyle and ensure they live a long, happy life. Whether it’s providing a warm blanket, reducing exposure to stressors, or seeking treatment for health issues, various strategies can mitigate the impact of shaking on your Chihuahua’s life.

Remember, every Chihuahua is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. Therefore, it’s essential to understand your pet’s individual needs and respond accordingly. With love, care, and patience, you can help manage your Chihuahua’s shaking and enhance their overall well-being.

FAQs on Why Chihuahuas Shake

Why does my Chihuahua tremble so much?

Your Chihuahua may tremble for a variety of reasons, including excitement, cold, fear, anxiety, or certain health issues. It’s essential to observe the context of the shaking and consult a vet if it seems unusual or excessive.

How do you calm a shaking Chihuahua?

Calming a shaking Chihuahua involves identifying the cause of the shaking. Providing a warm blanket or adjusting the room temperature can help if they’re cold. If they’re anxious or scared, comforting them, providing a quiet space, or using calming products can be effective.

Are Chihuahuas naturally shaky?

Shaking is quite common in Chihuahuas due to their small size and high metabolism. However, not all Chihuahuas shake, and excessive or sudden shaking can indicate an underlying issue.

Why do Chihuahuas have anxiety?

Like humans, dogs can also experience anxiety. Chihuahuas may have anxiety due to factors like lack of socialization, traumatic experiences, or separation from their owners.

Are Chihuahuas always shaking?

No, Chihuahuas are not always shaking. While they may shake more than some other breeds due to factors like their size, metabolism, and temperament, constant shaking is not normal and should be addressed.

What diseases can cause shaking in Chihuahuas?

Several diseases can cause shaking in Chihuahuas, including hypoglycemia, kidney disease, distemper, and neurological disorders. If your Chihuahua is shaking excessively or abnormally, it’s crucial to consult a vet.

Do all small dogs shake like Chihuahuas?

While many small dogs shake due to reasons like cold or high metabolism, not all small dogs shake like Chihuahuas. Each breed, and each individual dog, has unique characteristics and behaviors.

Is shaking a sign of pain in Chihuahuas?

Shaking can indeed be a sign of pain in Chihuahuas. If your dog is shaking and showing other signs of discomfort, like whimpering or loss of appetite, you should seek veterinary advice.

At what age do Chihuahuas start shaking?

There is no specific age when Chihuahuas start shaking. Puppies may shake when they’re cold or scared, while older dogs might shake due to health issues or anxiety.

Can Chihuahuas be trained not to shake?

Training can help manage shaking caused by fear or anxiety. However, shaking due to factors like cold or certain health issues cannot be resolved through training and should be addressed with appropriate care or medical treatment.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, shaking in Chihuahuas is a multifaceted phenomenon that can be influenced by various factors, ranging from emotional responses to health issues.

This behavior, often inherent to their breed, is not always a cause for concern, but owners should always be attentive and perceptive to their Chihuahuas’ shaking patterns.

Understanding why your Chihuahua shakes is the first step in ensuring their comfort and health, and with the right approach, it is possible to manage and, in some cases, reduce this behavior.

Remember, when in doubt, the best course of action is to consult with a trusted veterinarian who can guide you based on your Chihuahua’s specific needs and conditions. Here’s to happier, healthier Chihuahuas!


  1. Why Do Chihuahuas Shake So Much? – HealthyPawsPetInsurance.com
  2. Why Do Chihuahuas Shake? – BijouAndCo.com
  3. Why Chihuahuas Shake and Shiver – ChihuahuaWardrobe.com
  4. Why Do Chihuahuas Shake? – Pawsafe.com

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