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Why Do Chihuahuas Shake So Much? 7 Vet-Reviewed Reasons

Written by: Chelsea Mortensen

Last Updated on April 10, 2024 by Dogster Team

chihuahua sitting on wool rug

Why Do Chihuahuas Shake So Much? 7 Vet-Reviewed Reasons


Dr. Lauren Demos  Photo


Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Chihuahuas are known for their tiny bodies, their big personality, and…shivering? This weird quirk is common in many Chihuahuas, and it usually isn’t a cause for concern. Most Chihuahuas that shake do so because of simple, non-health-related reasons.

However, shaking can also be a sign that something’s wrong, so if your Chihuahua is shaking more than normal, it’s worth being on the lookout for other signs of an accident or illness. Here are seven of the most common reasons for Chihuahuas to shake or shiver.

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The 7 Reasons Why Chihuahuas Shake

1. High Energy

If there’s one underlying cause of the Chihuahua quivers, it’s their high energy levels. Although it doesn’t cause shaking on its own, the breed’s excess energy may make it more likely for them to shake when they’re excited or upset.

long-haired chihuahua running with toy in its mouth
Image Credit: Myriams-Fotos, Pixabay

2. Emotions

Chihuahuas feel big emotions, and they feel them all over their body. Often, Chihuahuas shake because they’re feeling happy and excited. You can tell that the shaking is happy by your Chihuahua’s other body language and context. In other words, if your Chihuahua shakes whenever you bring out the treat jar, it’s probably just full of excitement. If your Chihuahua gets the happy shakes, there’s no reason to be concerned—it’s likey healthy and normal.

On the other hand, big negative emotions can cause shaking too. If your Chihuahua is afraid, stressed, or anxious, you might see it shake and shiver. Nervous quivering can happen in any kind of dog, but it is more common in Chihuahuas. Look for other signs that your dog is unhappy. Does it avoid eye contact? Does it tuck its tail down? Does it whine, growl, or snarl? If you think your Chihuahua shakes when it’s unhappy, you can work to socialize it more or reduce stressors to help it stay calm.

3. Cold

A third reason that Chihuahuas might be shivering is obvious once you think about it: your Chihuahua may be cold! Chihuahuas are tiny dogs with high metabolisms, and that means it is harder for them to regulate their temperatures. What might seem like a nice breeze to you may actually be way too cold for your pup. If you think your Chihuahua is shivering, try snuggling it under a lap blanket to help it warm up. Cozy dog beds, doggy sweaters, or a slightly warmer room in your house can all help your Chihuahua stay at a comfortable temperature.

chihuahua taking a bath in the tub
Image Credit: Studio217, Shutterstock

4. Old Age

Just like humans, older dogs can develop tremors. Chihuahuas often live for a long time—15 years or more—so if your Chihuahua is in its golden years, it might not be surprising if it becomes a little shaky on its feet. However, tremors can also be an indication of underlying conditions (see below), so always speak with your vet if you notice these occurring.

5. Injury

Although there are lots of normal reasons for a Chihuahua to shake, shaking can also be a sign of something wrong. This is especially true if it starts or changes suddenly. If your Chihuahua has a cut, broken bone, or other injury, one sign might be shaking. Look for any signs of pain, like crying, limping, or reduced movement.

chihuahua lying on a couch
Image Credit: Svitlana Sandberg, Shutterstock

6. Poisoning

If your Chihuahua eats something it shouldn’t, you might see shaking as one sign of poisoning. However, it’s usually not the only sign—shaking usually goes along with other signs like vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy.

7. Medical Conditions

Although most Chihuahuas shake for normal reasons, there are some medical conditions that can cause shaking in dogs. If you think there’s something wrong, it wouldn’t hurt to get it checked out just in case. Some causes for shaking include low blood sugar, kidney disease, or generalized tremor syndrome (GTS). If your Chihuahua’s shaking is caused by a medical condition, you’ll need to consult a vet for proper diagnosis and treatment options.

chihuahua ultrasound
Image Credit: Andrii Medvednikov, Shutterstock

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Overall, shaking can be relatively normal for Chihuahuas. However, shaking can occasionally be a sign of a bigger problem—if it seems unusual to you or it’s combined with other signs of distress, it is worth checking with your vet.

Featured Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

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