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Chihuahua Shaking: Why They Shiver So Much

Renee Whitmore
Last Updated on
by Renee Whitmore

Do you have a Chihuahua that always seems to be shaking? Perhaps this makes you worried, or maybe you think you’ve done something wrong. Allow me to provide you with some reassurance by telling you there’s probably no reason to worry.

Chihuahuas may have a reputation for being shaky, uneasy, and nervous dogs, but generally, they only shake when they have a good reason to do so. The reason can be emotional or physiological, so if you notice that your little companion is shivering, take note of his behavior and the environment.

 If you’re attentive, and you give your dog the care that they need, you are sure to keep their shaking under control.

Beautiful Looking Chihuahua Dog
Beautiful Looking Chihuahua Dog

So, Why Do Chihuahuas Shake?

There are many reasons why your Chihuahua is shaking, and those reasons include low blood sugar, being cold, high metabolism, upset, excited, anxious, or nervous. Other possible causes for shaking could be a medical condition known and generalized tremor syndrome (GTS), an allergy, or injury.

It’s imperative that you correctly identify exactly why your Chihuahua trembles, shivers, or shakes, to know whether the shaking is normal or not.

5 Possible Reasons Why Your Chihuahua Shakes

Below are the main reasons why a Chihuahua shivers that may not be so apparent:

1. They Have a Higher Metabolism

Chihuahua Is Eating

Chihuahuas have fast metabolism due to the small size of their stomachs. Their faster metabolism causes them to burn calories three times faster than other larger breeds of dogs.

Having a high metabolism can make Chihuahuas shake when they get excited about something. Chihuahuas shake similarly when they are frightened as well.

A Chihuahua’s high metabolism is directly related to the way that they regulate their temperatures. Essentially, they burn off their body heat quickly. When this happens, your Chihuahua will begin to feel cold immediately.

Keep in mind that just because you aren’t cold doesn’t necessarily mean that your Chihuahua isn’t either.

2. They Are Cold

Chihuahua in Shower

Chihuahuas are amongst the smallest dogs in the world. Due to their small bodies, they lack the body fat to keep themselves warm.

That means they don’t handle cold temperatures well. Many Chihuahua owners buy jumpers, jackets, and other clothes for their trusty companions.

Buying clothing for your Chihuahua will do wonders when it comes to keeping them warm. Although some of their clothing may look silly, the most important thing is that it gets the job done.

Note: Clothing your Chihuahua isn’t a fashion statement, it’s a necessity to keep them warm.

When it’s a bit colder in the home or outside, be attentive to your Chihuahua to ensure that they do not begin shivering. If you happen to see them shivering, grab them some warm clothes as fast as possible.

Solution: Here are a few tips to keep your Chihuahua during the spring, fall, and winter months.

Consistently dress your Chihuahua in clothing. Choose a comfortable jumper, jacket, or sweater, and be sure that they don’t go outside without it. Furthermore, you can hold your dog in your arms and warm them with your very own body temperature. And if it happens to rain, dry your Chihuahua immediately with a dry towel or even a hairdryer.

When it comes to the temperature in your home, use a heating system to maintain a consistent and favorable temperature for your Chihuahua.

Finally, give your dog a warm and soft bed and a few extra blankets. Moreover, position their bed further away from the windows and the doors, so that they feel minimal airflow and cool breezes.

3. Anxiety and Fear

Chihuahua Under Blanket
Chihuahua Under Blanket

Although Chihuahuas aren’t necessarily easily intimidated, fear is a reason that you may see your Chihuahua shaking.

They are very smart animals and they have emotional and physiological reactions to how they get treated; much in the same way that we do.

If they do something wrong and get scolded for it, you may see them start to shake wildly because they are aware of your disapproval.

That does not mean that you are being too hard on them, as a discipline is a necessary function of training and interacting with your dog. However, they will recognize emotional shifts between you two.

A tone change or a facial expression, sudden gestures, and so on, are indicators that you’re not happy. Aside from being afraid that you’re upset with them, they may also get scared around bigger dogs.

If you ever observe your Chihuahua shaking around a big dog, put them on a leash and remove them from that area.

Solution: if you think your Chihuahua is experiencing anxiety episodes, offer them some reassurance that everything will be okay. Make them feel loved and secure.

If the anxiety is caused by a hostile or uncomfortable environment, change the scene as soon as possible.

If you plan on leaving them alone, try going for a long walk beforehand to tire them out. And when you leave, don’t make it a big deal. Don’t acknowledge them or show them too much attention. Just leave the house and don’t look back.

You can get them better acclimated to a new home and your absence by leaving them by themselves for a few minutes at a time each day.

5. Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia)

Chihuahuas can become lethargic and start shaking uncontrollably when they have low blood sugar levels. If you do not catch this early enough and seek the correct treatment, it may cause seizures and in the worst case, death.

Mild cases of hypoglycemia cause shaking, whereas more severe cases lead to confusion, drowsiness, and fainting. It sounds fainting, but luckily it’s fairly simple to fix.

Solution: Try spreading out your dog’s meals during the day. Give them smaller portions that end up somewhere around 3-5 meals a day instead of 2-3. You don’t have to give them less food, just offer them a steady flow of nutrients.

You may even want to buy a small dropper and fill it with sweetened water. That will be useful in case you notice your dog is displaying symptoms of low blood sugar.

5. GTS (Generalized Tremor Syndrome)

This syndrome is present in all different types of dogs, no matter their size. It’s also called steroid-responsive tremor syndrome. Unfortunately, it’s harder to diagnose because it looks the same as anxiety or hypothermia.

Dogs between nine months old and two years of age experience this condition, and it can only get remedied by taking the Chihuahua to the veterinarian.

They will run a complete check to find out if this is what’s causing the shaking. Be sure that you give them a thorough rundown of your dog’s behavior, symptoms,  activities, and so on.

Other causes of shaking include:

  • Allergies
  • Excitement
  • Nausea

Final Thoughts

Why do Chihuahuas shake? For a plethora of reasons, though it’s usually nothing to worry about. They could be excited, cold, nervous, sad, anxious, injured, and the list goes on. If the behavior is chronic and you suspect something is wrong, go see your veterinarian right away to get assistance. Otherwise, just keep an eye on your companion and try to figure out what they are communicating to you by shaking.

About Renee Whitmore
Renee Whitmore
Renee Whitmore is an American college professor and freelance writer from North Carolina. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a Master’s Degree in English Education. When she is not driving her teenage son to wrestling practice or learning the ins and outs of Fortnite from her younger son, she is working on her first book to be published soon.
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