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Why Do Chihuahuas Shake – Is It Normal?

With the pointy ears, large innocent eyes, and an adorable rounded ‘apple’ head – Chihuahuas make irresistible pets. This tiny terrier-like breed weighs no more than 6 pounds when full-grown and is highly energetic – so much so that at times it feels like your Chihuahua is shaking or shivering constantly.  So, why do Chihuahuas shake?

Chihuahuas shake caused due to hypoglycemia, high metabolism, allergies, anxiety, or cold weather. Shaking is normal for Chihuahuas and generally not a reason for concern.

If your stress levels are about to punch through the roof with worry for your little furball, take a calming breath. Our in-depth Chihuahua-specific article is tailor-made to answer all your doubts and queries. So stay with us as we break down why your pet may get a case of shivers and what you can do about it.

Reasons Chihuahuas Shake

There are times when your pet’s shivering makes sense, like when you bathe it. But, it can be a little confusing when your cuddly little Chihuahua gets the shakes when it’s in your lap or when you’re out for a walk. 

Nonetheless, we discovered that it isn’t uncommon for Chihuahuas to get the shakes during our research, and here are the top five reasons why.


As most of you already know, hypoglycemia is the medical term for low blood sugar. It’s a condition people generally experience when they have diabetes. And, here’s the surprising bit – it’s common in canines too. 

Hypoglycemia is especially prevalent in toy dog breeds, like Chihuahuas, because of their compact body mass. Toy breeds cannot store adequate amounts of sugar with their small body mass, which means they’re at a higher risk of experiencing low blood sugar-related concerns. 

One of the most noticeable symptoms of low blood sugar in Chihuahuas is trembling or muscular twitching – both of which can be mistaken for shaking. If you haven’t spoken about the risks of hypoglycemia for your pet with the vet – you should get on it asap. 

Hypoglycemia can turn pretty severe and, in extreme cases, can lead to coma. The good news is you can prevent low blood sugar in your pet by dabbing sugar water under or on its tongue because this way, the sugar is absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the tissue. 

High Metabolism

We’re sure you already have a pretty good idea about how energetic tiny little Chihuahuas can be. The reason behind your pet’s mammoth energy spikes is its super-duper high metabolism. 

Metabolism is the body’s method of converting food into energy it can use for other purposes. It involves the workings of the endocrine system, the digestive system, the nervous system, and the muscles. 

That’s why you can often notice Chihuahuas perking up after a full meal. Think of it as the doggy equivalent of downing three cups of coffee in one go. 

If your pet isn’t lethargic, off its food, or ill in any way – it’s likely its ‘shakies’ are related to its high energy drive and is nothing to be concerned about. Just play a fun game of fetch (or whatever your dog’s favorite game is) and help it burn off some of that energy. 


Another cause behind your pet’s trembling or shivering can be allergies. Of course, we know that’s not how allergies manifest in most canines, but the rules change slightly when it comes to Chihuahuas. 

If you’ve recently made some changes to your pet’s diet, fed it table scraps, or a new treat – it’s possible that an immediate attack of shaking can be a symptom of an allergic reaction. Considering the Chihuahua’s small body and fast metabolism, it won’t take too long for an allergic reaction to occur right after eating whatever disagrees with its system. 

If your pet’s shaking doesn’t show any signs of abating after ten to fifteen minutes and other symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea occur – take your Chihuahua to the vet as soon as you can. It’s essential to take health concerns seriously in toy dog breeds because of their size. 


Chihuahuas may be small in size, but don’t let that fool you about their intelligence. Not only are Chihuahuas super bright, but they can put their brains to good use. 

That means your pet can detect when you’re angry or when it’s being ignored. Unfortunately, that’s also one of the reasons why Chihuahuas are incredibly anxious at times. Don’t be surprised to find your pet shaking out of anxiety if it hears loud noises around itself or when it’s left alone on its own for too long. 

However, once you figure out your Chihuahua’s source of discontent, you can work on making it go away. Once that happens, you’ll notice your best bud will slowly and surely return to its good old self. 

Cold Weather

Animals generally tend to have two primary defenses against the cold. These are a heavy and thick coat of fur and body fat to help insulate their bodies and ward off the chill. 

Now take a good look at your baby Chihuahua. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the fur or enough fat to keep it safe from the cold when winter arrives and makes it vulnerable to conditions like hypothermia.

So if you notice your furry pal shivering during the cold winter months – the likeliest reason behind the trembling is feeling chilly. 

It’s best to gear up your Chihuahua for the winter by bundling him up in a light sweater at home or a winter jacket for those necessary walks outdoors.

However, remember anything beyond 40 degrees Fahrenheit may be too much for your little guy to bear. So, it’s best if you figure out an alternative to going potty out of the house. *Hint* You can look into potty pads used for training puppies.

Is It Common For Chihuahuas To Shake

Yes, it is common for Chihuahuas to shake.

While new Chihuahua parents may have difficulty believing this – it’s pretty common to see your little furbaby shake. Chihuahuas may look tiny and feeble, but their bodies are powered by the kind of metabolism that could put giant dogs to shame. 

A Chihuahua’s high energy drive (thanks to its speedy metabolism) can cause your furry friend to get the shakes from time to time – especially when it’s happy or excited about something.

If your canine isn’t off its food, lethargic, or showing symptoms like low heart rate, diarrhea, or vomiting – it’s business as usual for your Chihuahua and its high energy drive. 

Do Chihuahuas Shake More As They Age

Dogs go through physiological changes as they age – like us. That means your pet’s body will slow down in certain aspects, and it tries to adjust to aging. 

One such change is the ability to control body temperature. Older dogs tend to have difficulty adjusting their body temperature to the changing climate and will need a helping hand to stay cool or warm according to the situation.

So if your Chihuahua is entering its golden years and you see it shiver more frequently as the weather turns cold – that’s one effect of old age. 

Another aspect of growing older for dogs is orthopedic problems. Breeds like Chihuahuas and Yorkshire Terriers are at risk of conditions like arthritis or a luxating patella.

And, increased shivering can be a sign of a developing orthopedic condition that’s causing your little guy pain.

Talking to your pet about your pet’s changing needs would be an excellent way to prepare for taking care of your senior furbaby. After that, it’s just a matter of being prepared and knowing enough to help your Chihuahua get more comfortable. 

Why Do Chihuahuas Shake When They Sleep

Your Chihuahua can go all shivery in its sleep. One of the things that canines and humans have in common is that we all dream. And, just like humans, dogs have three stages of sleep too. These are:

● non-rapid eye movement (NREM) 

● rapid eye movement (REM)

● short-wave sleep (SWS)

Scientists believe that when your canine is in the short-wave sleep stage, it’s in a deep sleep, and you can notice it by how deeply it breathes.

But, canines dream in the REM stage, and that’s when they try and act out on the action they’re dreaming about. It’s not uncommon for pets to twitch or moves all four paws as if running after something in REM sleep. 

So, the next time you notice your Chihuahua shaking or twitching in its sleep – don’t worry; it’s just probably dreaming of running after its favorite toy. 

Why Do Chihuahuas Shake And Pant

Chihuahuas can shake out of nerves, excitement, allergies, etc. But, when their shaking is accompanied by panting – that’s something you should watch closely.

If the temperature outside is over 85 degrees Fahrenheit and you see your Chihuahua shaking and puffing after a quick run – chances are it’s feeling hot. 

But, when the weather’s okay and your dog hasn’t been running – then shaking and panting can be the result of stress, pain, anemia, and other serious concerns.

In such situations, it’s best to watch your pet like a hawk, and if its condition doesn’t improve within 20 minutes, then a visit to the vet is necessary. 

Why Is My Chihuahua Shaking More Than Usual

Suppose you notice your little Chihuahua shaking more than usual, and the shivering is accompanied by signs like lethargy, lack of coordination, weakness, and dilated pupils. In that case, your pet may be suffering from hypoglycemia (or low blood sugar). 

Hypoglycemia can be a bit dangerous in toy breeds, and that’s why you should try dabbing sugar water on or under your pet’s tongue to bring up its sugar levels immediately.

Meanwhile, if your canine hasn’t experienced a low blood sugar episode before, it’s best to drive down to the vet to ensure all is well and understand how to tackle such a situation in the future. 

How Do You Calm A Shaking Chihuahua

Sometimes your Chihuahua may shake out of nerves, and that’s why it’s best to learn about how you can help your best bud calm down a little. As incredulous as it may sound, you might be able to help your furball relax by giving it a nice doggy massage. 

Anxiety tends to leave the same physical effect in canines as it does in humans – and that is tense muscles. One of the best ways of alleviating your pet’s tension is by stroking it gently from neck to back in long, downward strokes.

If your Chihuahua is a bit of a wriggler, hold it one place with one hand and use the other to message. 

How Do I Get My Chihuahua To Stop Shaking

Cold temperatures may bring on continuous shaking in Chihuahuas. Invest in a warming bed to keep your canine warm and toasty during chilly nights. It’s also a good idea to winter clothing shopping for your Chihuahua and get a light sweater and a jacket for warmth. 

Other Factors

We’re almost at the end of our Chihuahua-intensive feature. But, we’re not about to let you step into the world of puppy parenthood without a few tips and pointers. So, here’s a few things to keep in mind concerning shaking Chihuahuas.


Learning your pet is prone to hypoglycemia can be a bit of a shock. But that doesn’t have to mean your best bud won’t be able to live their best life. Just watching your pet’s diet and feeding schedule may be enough to keep hypoglycemia and all its troubles away. As long as you feed your Chihuahua a healthy diet and don’t miss out on any mealtime – the grain content in commercial dog food will be more than enough to look after your pet’s sugar levels.


Chihuahuas can get depressed, nervous, or distressed if they don’t get adequate mental and physical stimulation. That means, sometimes you can keep nerve-induced shakes at bay by keeping your pet busy with regular exercise and playtime with interactive toys to ensure your furbaby doesn’t want for anything. 

The Importance of Vets

We must have said it a hundred times already – but you can’t overlook the importance of a vet’s advice. Veterinarians are your number one source of vetted information – that’s your canine-specific.

That means there’s no chance of fake news or blown-out of proportion diets and trends.

Not to mention, with breeds like the Chihuahua, the time frame for a health condition to develop (such as an allergy) is pretty short because of its fast metabolism – so don’t stress about appearing paranoid to others for wanting to rush to the vet. When it’s your pet’s well-being at risk, your vet should be your first stop. 

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