Why Do Chihuahuas Shake So Much?

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Chihuahuas, one of the smallest dog breeds, have one peculiar behavior, they shake and shiver a lot. While it can be scary to see your chihuahua shaking, in most cases, there’s nothing wrong with them.

There’s not a single reason why chihuahuas shake so much. They could be cold, scared, or have a health problem that causes this behavior.

In this guide, you’ll learn about the reasons behind your chihuahua’s shaking behavior, and what to do to stop your chihuahua from shaking.

Check this out: Why Are Chihuahuas So Aggressive and What to Do About It?

So Why Do Chihuahuas Shake So Much?

Below are the most common reasons why Chihuahuas shake and shiver:

  1. Hypoglycemia
  2. Anxiety and Fear
  3. Excitement
  4. Cold
  5. Ear Infections
  6. Injury
  7. Allergy
  8. Being a Chihuahua

1. Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia is the number one reason why your Chihuahua shakes so much. These dogs have an extremely high metabolism, which means they burn calories a lot faster than other dogs. When the calories they’ve consumed run out, the shaking starts.

In order to make sure the dogs have the calories they need, they need to have small meals served more frequently. Their stomachs are also small, so they don’t hold much at a time. They should also eat quality food.

2. Anxiety and Fear

This is another good point and is probably what caused your dog to shake. Some Chihuahuas are highly strung, but they don’t have to be. The biggest problem with dog anxiety is if the dog isn’t properly socialized as a puppy. 

Chihuahuas are prone to fear. This usually happens when your chihuahua is around larger dog breeds that he’s not familiar with.

Besides that, your Chihuahua may start trembling and shaking when you’re about to leave home. They could also shake in fear of punishment for bad behaviors.

3. Excitement

If you have a high-energy dog like a Chihuahua, you can expect it to get excited on occasion. In fact, it may be an hourly phenomenon. This excitement can cause the dog to shake, although when it calms down the shaking should stop. 

4. Cold

There are very few fat Chihuahuas, which makes it harder for them to stay warm in the winter. In temperate zones, it may be something to watch out for year-round. Without the insulation, fat provides, the dogs are likely to get cold faster. Being high energy also plays a role in this.

5. Ear infections

An ear infection can cause pain which may cause shaking. However, it also messes with the body’s ability to maintain balance. With this double whammy, the dog may not only shake but paw at his or her ears and do some head shaking.

Make sure you know how to clean dog ears properly to prevent ear infections.

6. Injury

Being a tiny dog can be something of a trial. It is very easy for these dogs to be stepped on, particularly if they are out in public with you. That may be why so many owners physically carry their pets; it would prevent that problem.

7. Allergy

Any creature can be allergic to the things around them. In fact, at one time it was believed that Chihuahuas prevented asthma attacks, and were often given to those afflicted with the disease. It could be something in the environment or something in their food.

8. Being a Chihuahua

A lot of the time, these dogs shake because they have too much pent-up energy. As someone mentioned, they have a lot of power inside a too-small body. 

How to Stop My Chihuahua from Shaking

While some shivering and shaking are good, a life of constant shaking isn’t. This is especially true if the cause of it is something that can be physically harmful. Constant shaking can, over time, cause wear and tear on joints.

1. Hypoglycemia and Your Dog’s Diet

Some dog breeds may be all right with run-of-the-mill dog food. Chihuahuas tend to need more care taken in what they eat. Our daughter feeds her dogs a raw diet. It includes raw meat and some raw vegetables.

Dogs are carnivores, but not obligate carnivores. They can have about thirty percent of their diet in plant material. The right vegetables can help keep your dog healthier and keep its guts in balance. There are a lot of websites that go into what to use and how much. Some even have recipes.

Each dog is a little different, so talk to your vet about amounts and timing for feedings. Chihuahuas are like small children in the need of frequency; three meals with between-meal snacks is the normally suggested amount.

This may be problematic if there isn’t going to be anyone home for the midday meal. This can be resolved by having a treat ball with enough food in it to provide the midday meal plus some snacks. You could also leave the meal out for your pet, but that might become a toy, rather than a meal.

2. Anxiety

In this, an ounce of the proverbial prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. It is wise to properly socialize all dogs when they are puppies. It is far easier to do then, when they are more impressionable, than when they are older.

It’s a good idea to get your puppy used to walking on a leash in public, even though it could be somewhat hazardous. A pet that is always carried will begin to believe there is something terrible about being on the ground.

Besides that, you need to train your dog to stay home alone. This will help with dog separation anxiety which can be at the root of his shaking behavior.

3. Cold

To people, cold can be relative. To Chihuahuas, cold can happen at surprisingly warm temperatures. In order to keep your pet warm enough, you may want to consider doggy outfits. They aren’t just cute; they can help keep your little pooch warm and cozy.

There are heated dog beds, although care should be taken with those. If your pet has a tendency to accidentally piddle inside, an electric one may not be ideal. However, you could also use hot water bottles.

Another method of warming a cold dog is easy and simple. Put plain white rice into an adult tube sock. Fill it about three-quarters full, tie it off and then nuke it for thirty seconds to a minute. Test to make sure it’s not too hot, then place it next to your dog.

4. Vet Needed Problems

Ear infections, allergies, and injuries should all be taken care of by your vet. It will help if you notice anything that could be a cause. As an example, a new food could cause an allergic reaction. That can be mitigated by stopping the food, but the vet should know.

Environmental allergens are a different matter. It could be a process of elimination, but the vet may choose to treat the allergy rather than search out the cause. It depends on how serious it is and whether or not other members of your family, furry or otherwise, are having similar problems.

5. Just being a Chihuahua

The problems many dogs face could be mitigated somewhat by a good exercise program. We not only take our dogs (all four of them) for long hikes, we also train them in agility.

These activities burn a lot of the excess energy the dogs have. My two nieces also play with the dogs, which burns energy. This can prevent more problems than just shaking. It can help your dog sleep better at night, have less anxiety, and be more socially adept.

If it isn’t possible to do these physical activities along with your dog, there are a number of interactive toys that can help your dog stay entertained, busy, and even feed him or herself.

Treat balls are one, though several different toys can be chosen. In fact, if it’s small enough, even a few rounds of fetch would help.

6. A Note About geriatric Dogs

When an older dog starts shaking for no discernible reason, it could be a variety of things. Age itself can cause some shakiness, although arthritis would be a better guess. Certain illnesses and conditions can do so, as can some medications.

In an older dog, it is important to keep a good routine going with regular vet visits. The vet can use blood samples and other tests to rule out problems or catch them when they are more fixable. Some problems could include oral health, canine cognitive dysfunction, and diseases such as heart or diabetes.

Medications can help with some of these problems, though again, prevention is always the better bet. Using a canine toothbrush and toothpaste is a good investment in time and equipment. Avoid giving your dog too much fat or sugar, to help ward off disease.

If your pet is having trouble getting to his or her favorite place to nap, a small staircase can be of great assistance. That can help pain from causing your furry friend to shake. 

Cold is also more noticeable to a geriatric dog. They are somewhat like humans in that. Not only do they feel cold more easily, but any arthritis problems they have will also be worse in the cold. 


While your chihuahua’s shaking behavior is not something to be worried about, there are cases when you should not ignore this behavior.

If your chihuahua shaking is accompanied by other symptoms, you should look for vet help as soon as possible.

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Lisemaine is a dog lover. She currently owns a Frenchie and enjoys working with and training her. She'll share her best tips with you to keep your dog happy, healthy, and active.

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