Why Do Chihuahuas Shake?

Chihuahuas are the smallest dog breeds around. Their stature makes them seemingly fragile so even the slightest sneeze could bring fur parents much trepidation and anxiety. More so, if they are starting to exhibit symptoms that do not seem normal – like shaking.

You cannot help but think that your Chihuahua needs immediate medical attention. While this can be true at times, there are also instances when shaking can be a result of other scenarios not related to any illnesses.

What are they? You will find out here.

General information about a Chihuahua

Their looks

Chihuahuas are pretty popular because of their size. They are technically hailed as the tiniest dog breed growing at an average size of 6 to 9 in tall and weighing about 3 to 6 lb.

Note that there are Chihuahuas that are still way smaller than the above-mentioned average size. These are known to be not as common as the standard-sized Chihuahuas and are commonly known as the Teacup-sized Chihuahuas.

However, don’t be fooled by these dogs’ minute size because what they lacked in measurements, they compensated in terms of their personality. And they have a lot of the latter more than other bigger dogs.

Chihuahuas are known to come in various head shapes. There are Deer heads, Apple heads, and even Pear heads. The latter is the most uncommon although it neither reduces their value and uniqueness.

The most popular physical attribute of a Chihuahua is considered to be its big, bright eyes. One look and you can immediately say that it is full of mischief. Its eyes also look always alert and it seems as nothing can get past them.

Like their eyes, Chihuahuas also have black noses. It was observed though that Deer head Chihuahuas seemingly have more pronounced snouts compared to Apple head Chihuahuas. The latter have smaller bodies too compared to the former, but all have compact bodies and long tails.

Chihuahuas normally come in a variety of solid colors such as fawn, black, white, chocolate, and silver, although there are Chihuahuas whose coats could also be a combination of two or more of the said colors. Aside from this, there are also Chihuahuas with other interesting markings including spots. These coats could either come smooth or long.

Needless to say, the coat of the Chihuahua is just one trait that makes it extremely adorable and unique.


It doesn’t seem like it but the Chihuahua dog breed has a long history backing it. In fact, it has existed for so long that there are many versions of its history. The most popular one is having descended from the Techichi dog breed.

Techichi dogs have long been extinct. But they had been an ancient dog breed that was cared for by the Toltecs. These were mute dogs that have large similarities with Chihuahuas in terms of physical attributes but they are slightly bigger dogs.

The Techichis were bred because of their importance to the livelihood and rituals of the Toltec civilization. They also served as great companion dogs too.

It was believed that Techichis were sold as food during the time of the Aztecs. It is also here where these dogs were bred with smaller dog breeds which is how modern Chihuahuas got their size.

For a time, Techichis were thought to have disappeared especially after Spanish conquerors came to Mexico, only to be traced later on in one of the country’s states – Chihuahua.

This is also where the Chihuahua dog breed got its name.

Shaking Chihuahua – natural?

With all the cuteness of the Chihuahua and its ability to make its fur parents happy with its antics and spicy personality, there is one concern that is often being raised by Chihuahua owners that is causing them unease. This is whenever they notice their Chihuahuas shake.

Many believe that shaking is a natural occurrence among Chihuahuas. This is most especially since more and more Chihuahuas are exhibiting this trait. Some are even being brought to the vet immediately because they shake uncontrollably only to find out later on that these Chihuahuas are well and good.

Contrary to what many believe a Chihuahua shaking is not natural. Chihuahuas don’t just shake at will nor do they do this just to scare their fur parents. There are underlying reasons for this.

Just because it was not backed up by a medical finding, doesn’t mean that all is good about your Chihuahua. Sometimes, owners need to do a deep dive just to make sense of why this is happening.

So the next time you see your Chihuahua exhibiting violent shaking, don’t just consider it perfectly normal. Check what could be contributing to this rather than be sorry in the end.

Common Reasons why Chihuahuas shake and what to do

It was previously mentioned that Chihuahua shakes due to various factors. It could be brought about by its emotional state at times. There are also instances when it can be something it is feeling physically.

Needless to say, whatever causes your Chihuahuas to shake the need to be determined so fur parents could accordingly address them. You may not know it but it is possible that your Chihuahua may already be suffering from something life-threatening.

Listed below are the known reasons that could explain why do Chihuahuas shake at times.

Extreme Weather Condition

If you find your Chihuahua shaking due to the cold weather, then it is simply telling you that it is not made for such a weather condition. It doesn’t have a coat that could appropriately warm its body even if the Chihuahua you have is the one with a long coat.

If you don’t know it yet, different dogs have different endurance levels when it comes to various types of weather. Unfortunately, Chihuahuas could only withstand fair weather. Pushing them to get exposed to extreme weather conditions could have a detrimental effect on their well-being.

It is for this reason that fur parents should be conscious that their Chihuahua may need an additional layer of protection during the winter season. It could be anything like a coat, a scarf, or even soft blankets. It could also be a heating pad that could bring it warmth. Another way to do it is to keep your Chihuahua by your side so it could share your body temperature.

Aside from the above, it pays if you will not bring your little Chihuahua outside especially during snowstorms. Instead of going for long walks as part of its daily exercise, find an alternative instead in the comfort of your home.

Of course, you won’t want your Chihuahua to freeze to death as you go through your daily routine. Your Chihuahua’s shaking should already clue you in on this.

Anxiety due to lack of socialization

Many believe that Chihuahuas are naturally nervous dogs. While some Chihuahuas can be, this is not innate in their nature. In fact, it takes a lot to scare a Chihuahua given that it is naturally bold and fearless. It doesn’t have qualms in taking the alpha role as long as you’re going to let it.

However, there are still scenarios that could cause anxiety and discomfort to your fur baby. For some it could be being at a different place it is not familiar with. For others, it could be being around strangers or other pets. The result is all the same, your Chihuahua could either exhibit aggression or shaking due to these circumstances. The more your Chihuahua shakes, the higher is its stress level.

Rationally, we see these things as something that we should not be worried about. But looking through the eyes of your fur baby, it may feel out of depth and distressed especially if you have a poorly socialized Chihuahua.

If the reason why your Chihuahua shakes so much is due to anxiety, socialization training would be the right approach. This would help your Chihuahua healthily to different situations outside its comfort zone instead of just cowering, shaking, or being aggressive. This would also help build the confidence of your Chihuahua and make it a well-rounded dog.

Socialization training is pretty simple. You just need to expose your Chihuahuas to different situations, people, pets, and even other places that are not its norm.

It could be as easy as walking it through different busy streets daily and letting it mingle with strangers it meets along the way. You could also do this just by introducing it to guests during events and scheduling doggy playdates for it. There are also doggy kindergartens if you want to up your ante.

The key is to facilitate a peaceful interaction when you do socialize your Chihuahua. Don’t let it feel intimidated and on the defensive. If its body language is telling you that it is not comfortable, then remove your Chihuahua immediately from the situation. It would also be advantageous if you will start letting your Chihuahua go through socialization training as early as puppyhood.

Feeling of Fear

Chihuahuas are brave dogs despite their small size. But there are still incidents that could still bring fear to them or could cause them upset.

One common source of fear among Chihuahuas is whenever they are treated with intimidation and violence. Another is when they are caught off-guard by unfamiliar and loud sounds such as honking cars, the sound of thunder during thunderstorms, and the crackling of fireworks. It could also be caused by being backed into a corner by people or other dogs that are way larger than it is.

When fear struck your Chihuahua, an evident manifestation would be them cowering, whining, and barking. Many Chihuahuas shake so much also which is hard to ignore.

While you cannot control why Chihuahuas shake, you can help assure them and take pacify the situation.

As small as your Chihuahua, you shouldn’t let it get bullied by other dogs. Either remove it from the situation or don’t let any situation start in the first place.

You cannot control the loud sounds that could destroy the peace of your Chihuahua. However, this doesn’t mean that you would just do nothing. During scenarios such as this, it would help if you will give your Chihuahua an additional rub or hug especially when it sought comfort from you.

Some fur parents also soundproof the dog house of their Chihuahuas especially if they live on busy streets. Others also resort to products that could muffle the sound for their Chihuahua, especially whenever there is a fireworks display to be expected.

The best thing is that with the world we live in today, almost everything now is available commercially.

Chihuahuas also react negatively to being intimidated. It may seem that they could stand on their own and they have everything in order but in truth, they are very sensitive dogs. They could immediately get anxious at a slightly raised voice. This is the reason why it would not be good if you will use an intimidation strategy on them.

Unfortunately, there are fur parents who do this. The reason behind this is that they believe that fear will be a good motivation especially during training and for punishment.

This is far from the truth because not only would this impact negatively the disposition of a sensitive Chihuahua but it could also break the bond between the two of you. There are even those Chihuahuas that are known to turn against their owners when not treated with respect. They go aggressive and even bite their owners.

You may think that you are scaring your Chihuahua now with the amount of shaking it exhibits. But know that it has also the capability to know when enough is enough. Thus, if negative reinforcement is your approach, you may need to think twice.

Many dog owners believe that the best approach should still be rewards-based reinforcement, especially during training. Like other dogs, Chihuahuas are known to respond best to the promise of yummy treats and cuddles.

Separation anxiety

Separation anxiety may also be one good reason why your Chihuahua shakes. It is not a hidden fact that Chihuahuas are every devoted to their owners. They follow them like little shadows whenever they can and whenever they are allowed to do so.

It is due to the Chihuahua’s clinginess that they understandably develop separation anxiety as their fur parents or their human family leave them behind for some errand or a trip. Thus, although Chihuahuas could be a perfect fit for almost any type of fur parents, they are not recommended for those who travel a lot.

Some Chihuahuas also develop separation anxiety due to their abandonment issues. This is most common, specifically among those Chihuahuas that have been a part of the rescue and were adopted from the doggy shelter.

Separation anxiety is not pretty among Chihuahuas. This could result in various types of misbehaviors such as howling, digging, gnawing at the furniture, incessant barking, and pacing. There are even Chihuahuas with the worst cases of separation anxiety that exhibit violent shaking.

There are ways to address separation anxiety among Chihuahuas. One way to do it is by giving it treats as you leave your home. You could also make your trip in and out of the house a low-key event. This means that rather than saying goodbye and hello to your Chihuahua, you can just slip in and out quietly.

It would also help if you will turn your television on as you leave your house. Particularly if you will just be gone in an hour, this would give an impression to your Chihuahua that it is not alone. But leaving it with a sitter or a friend would be a much better move.

Some owners also crate train their Chihuahuas. This is not at all bad especially when you are going to execute it properly. This is not making your Chihuahua live a prison life. Instead, you are creating a safe space for it to go to when it is feeling anxious as it gets left behind.

Traumatic past

It is unlikely that you will find your Chihuahua shaking when you do trigger its traumatic past. This is uncommon if you are the first owner and you know that your Chihuahua had not gone through anything traumatic events during its life. But this could be likely if your Chihuahua is a rescue.

Chihuahuas, like humans, have the capability to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) too. This is most especially for those who experienced an unfortunate event in the past that affected them greatly.

It could be an attack they survived or a type of violence they suffered from. It could also be an unfortunate event they witnessed. But this is normally one that is retained to them mentally.

For Chihuahuas that went through a traumatic event, it is recommended that one should veer away from anything that would trigger it to prevent them from reacting. Thus, if you are getting a rescued Chihuahua, might as well dig deep into their background.

There are times when getting this information is not achievable. If this is the case, it pays to pay attention to what would make your Chihuahua tick and go from there. This would help pacify your Chihuahua and prevent traumatic behaviors including shaking.


Chihuahuas shake is not always that bad. Sometimes, it is also brought about by intense positive emotions such as excitement.

You may notice this as you come home at the end of the day and your Chihuahua excitedly welcomes you back. It could also happen during playtime as it waits for you to throw a ball or during a game of tug of war.

You could easily determine shaking arising from excitement because it is normally accompanied by other signs such as jumping, excessive wagging of its tail, licking, and the like. This is your Chihuahuas way of showing you that you matter and it thinks of you highly.

Shaking due to excitement is not something you should be worried about. However, it would help make its shaking to the minimum by assuring it with touch and cuddles. Since Chihuahuas are tactile creatures, this could also be a way of telling it back that it matters to you too.


The small size of the Chihuahuas means that all their body parts are relatively small too. This includes their gut. This physical make-up of the Chihuahuas makes them burn the dog food they eat way faster than other dogs that have bigger sizes.

The same physical attribute contributes to Chihuahua shivering whenever it is feeling heightened emotions. Notwithstanding if it is positive or negative. It is also why Chihuahuas are susceptible to shaking during cold temperatures. Their metabolism and the absence of enough body fat simply do not allow them to get the level of warmth they need to make them comfortable.


Pain could also cause your Chihuahuas to shiver and shake. Sometimes, the shake could be specific to a body part that is hurt. But there are also times when it is a full-body shake especially if your Chihuahua is suffering from severe physical trauma or even an internal injury.

The injury may not be visible to you at times but it doesn’t mean that it is not there. There may not even be any tell-tale signs. But when you observe that the shivers of your Chihuahua become non-stop and started to become violent, this is a sign enough already for you to bring it to the vet. This is most especially if it exhibits other symptoms such as fainting, whining, or even problems in terms of its mobility.

The last thing you’d want is to ignore the current state of your Chihuahua and regret it in the end.


Poisoning can be another cause of tremors among Chihuahuas. This is along with other symptoms such as vomiting, drooling, unexplainable fatigue, and even seizures.

Poisoning happens when your Chihuahua accidentally ingests food or even substances that are considered poisonous to dogs. Good examples include rat poison, home cleaning products, chocolates, grapes, human medication, flea and tick solutions, and the like.

Many people don’t know it but many types of human food and human products are really harmful to dogs. So the next time you think of sharing a portion of what you are eating with a Chihuahua, better think twice first or research whether or not it has ingredients that are not recommended for your tiny friend.

Old age

How old is your Chihuahua? Is it already at its dog years that could be considered old already? If yes, then it is possible that this could be the reason why your Chihuahua shakes.

This is not uncommon at all especially when you see them shake as they walk or do other strenuous activities. Normally, this doesn’t indicate anything serious unless it is already hindering your fur baby’s mobility. More so, if it is not accompanied by other concerning symptoms that would indicate it is in pain.

Nevertheless, it won’t hurt to still have it checked by the vet.

Health conditions or diseases

Chihuahua shake could also be caused by various health conditions.



This is a health condition wherein your Chihuahua suffers from low blood sugar mostly due to its fast metabolism. This could be immediately noticeable your Chihuahua would not normally be its cheery and energetic self. Instead of instigating mischief and encouraging you to play games, you will find it slumping at a corner looking exhausted. Not to mention, there could be involuntary muscle twitching, loss of appetite, disorientation, and a lot of shaking involved too.

If your Chihuahua’s Hypoglycemia is already in a severe state, you will find that it may also experience seizures.

There are ways to treat Hypoglycemia which include regulating its diet and keeping sugar water on hand. Your vet could guide you through this. However, when not treated, Hypoglycemia could be life-threatening.


Allergies could trigger shaking among Chihuahuas. This could happen during a shift of your Chihuahua’s diet or when you let it have a type of food it has not yet tried before.

Unfortunately, in many instances, you won’t know your Chihuahua is allergic until it exhibits allergic reactions such as itching, reddening of its skin, and tremors. Don’t ignore these signs because sometimes allergic reactions could be lethal to Chihuahuas.


This is a disease common across different dog breeds alike. This could be very fatal if your Chihuahua is not vaccinated against this virus and if the fur parents are not proactive in addressing the symptoms at the onset such as vomiting and shaking.

Chihuahuas have a higher rate of surviving Distemper only when they are brought to the vet immediately. The treatment is not always easy and it may involve confinement of your Chihuahua.

Ear infections

You may notice that your Chihuahua is restlessly shaking its head and rubbing it against your furniture. This shake may be due to it suffering from an ear infection, especially there is a noticeable odd smell being emitted by its ears and abnormal discharge.

Ear infections could be due to a lot of factors but the most common one is your Chihuahua’s ears not being cleaned regularly. Because of this, there could be a build-up of ear wax which sometimes causes a swollen ear canal

One way to prevent this is to clean the ears of your Chihuahua regularly. You can do this twice a week. There are available ear cleaning solutions for dogs at the pet store that you could use.

When you do clean the ears of your Chihuahua, however, make sure to use soft cotton pads only. Never use Q-tips or other sharp objects as this could damage permanently the ears of your fur baby.

If by doing this, your Chihuahua still suffers from an ear infection, then you may already need a trip to the vet for assistance.


Seizures cause uncontrollable shaking also to Chihuahuas. This could be symptoms of other more severe health issues such as epilepsy and other neurological disorders.

When Chihuahuas suffer from seizures, you will find them often losing consciousness, drooling, and their mouth foaming. In order to treat seizures, one should know first its source. Nevertheless, there are treatments for this type of disorder.

Shaking due to different types of health conditions could be addressed by bringing your Chihuahua to the vet regularly. This would prevent it from escalating and resulting in fatalities.

It is recommended that you don’t discount the Chihuahuas shake as “normal” without consulting your vet. While for some Chihuahuas it can be nothing worrisome, most of the time shaking is an indication that your fur baby is already suffering.

Reasons why you should still consider a Chihuahua as a pet

It is without a doubt that Chihuahuas shake could be worrisome. But should this discourage you from getting one? The answer is definitely, no.

As mentioned above, there are a lot of ways to address this particular tendency of a Chihuahua. All you have to do is have that insight as to what has been causing it.

Chihuahua shaking aside, there are many ways why you should still consider getting a Chihuahua.


Chihuahuas have an overall great temperament. Although they could be stubborn at times, this is not anything a good training and socialization could address.

Chihuahua is an amazing dog breed that is loyal to no end. These dogs are without a doubt devoted to their families and would provide companionship whenever it is needed.

You will never see a Chihuahua far away from its favorite human. It will follow its fur parent whenever it can. Despite its seemingly bouncy and energetic disposition, it is insightful. This small dog knows when to just sit with its fur parent especially when its presence is needed.

Chihuahua dogs are well-known for their bigger-than-life personalities. They can be nervous dogs at times, but they are the bringer of life even during a dull day.

Chihuahuas are also intelligent and alert dogs. They are bold and fearless even to strangers and larger dogs. They will have no qualms alerting you of potential dangers. Nothing much intimidates them and they always put their families first which is what makes them valuable.


Chihuahuas are pretty low maintenance. Even if you have the long-haired one, you could get away even with just once a week brushing.

Bathing is also not a fancy affair for a Chihuahua. Unlike other dogs, they do not really develop a foul smell. Thus, you can only bathe them every two weeks or so.

In fact, doing this would be for its benefit because it would lessen the likelihood of the natural oil from its skin being washed away. This natural oil is important because it helps maintain the moisture on its skin and makes its coat look healthy always.

Chihuahuas would also have moderate exercise requirements. You don’t need to be athletic if you want one. Despite being highly energetic, their small size means that they can be happy even with just an average of 30-minute daily exercises.

Don’t forget though to combine the regular walks of a Chihuahua with other exercises that would help stimulate its mind. In that way, it won’t be susceptible to destructive behaviors.

Fitting Home

The small size of a Chihuahua makes it fit to live in any type of household. While other dogs require the whole nine yards -spacious home, fenced-in backyard -a Chihuahua would be happy dwelling even in a modest apartment.

In fact, this would be more than enough for it. This is most especially when it has plentiful of place to walk around.

Chihuahuas would fit any type of lifestyle. They are adaptable enough that whether you are an active person or a home buddy, they could give you the companionship you need.

Due to the good temperament they have, it wouldn’t even matter if you have kids and other dogs because they can get along well with them particularly if they are raised side by side. If not, they just need to have a bit of socialization.

Just a safety precaution, all interaction with kids and other pets especially large dogs, should be made with supervision. This could prevent any mishaps from happening.

Kids should also be told how to handle Chihuahuas well. They should be advised not to just lift and carry Chihuahuas during playtime. This is because their small body makes them very fragile and prone to injuries during a fall.

Chihuahuas would also do well being a pet of a single fur parent or even a retiree. It is without a doubt that these dogs could easily sprinkle joy and fun into their lives and be great companion dogs.

So you see, getting a Chihuahua has all-around a lot of perks. Unlike other dogs or even pets, it doesn’t really require too much. All things considered, there wouldn’t be much for you to do other than love it and give it the care it deserves.

Where to get your own Chihuahua

If you have decided to get a Chihuahua, you should know by now that there should be no other sources for it than a licensed and reputable breeder. Getting it from puppy mills or even backyard breeders could cause you more harm than good.

The latter do not have sufficient controls in place to assure you that you are getting a great quality Chihuahua puppy. Admittedly, you can buy pups from them at a relatively lower price but considering the costs of medical care that you need to pay for a poor conditioned pup, it may cost you more in the long run especially if your Chihuahua has no pet insurance.

The average price to pay for a Chihuahua is somewhere between USD800 and USD2,500. The price could even increase up to USD5000 if you prefer to get a rarer type of Chihuahua such as the teacup-sized. It can be a bit costly but buying from a reputable breeder would make every penny worth it.

Reputable breeders only breed healthy parent Chihuahuas in order to produce a healthy litter. This decreases the likelihood that the Chihuahua puppy that you will get has pre-existing hereditary conditions. Plus, all the Chihuahua puppies they produce even went through a series of health checks and temperament checking to ensure that you will only have the best companion dog.

If you don’t have much money and looking for a way to make a difference, then getting a Chihuahua from a doggy shelter could also be another option for you. It is unfortunate but even if Chihuahuas are such amazing doggos, there are still those that are left abandoned there by their fur parents.

It’s a good thing though that Chihuahuas are very resilient little dogs. Even if you are going to get them as adult dogs, you will have no issues training them. They would still give you unconditional love as long as you can give them the love and care they deserve.

Note that the purchase price of a Chihuahua shouldn’t be just the only consideration when you decide to get this little buddy. You should be able to think also about the affordability of its upbringing cost. This is not a small amount because this could mean thousands of bucks annually.

This covers all the living requirements that would help it thrive and have a comfortable lifestyle such as food, accessories, medical care, and the likes. The fur parent’s inability to meet this requirement could have a detrimental effect on a Chihuahua.

You will realize though that having a Chihuahua in your life can be priceless and no less than amazing. They really have the ability to put an additional spice in your life and would no doubt be a valuable companion through and through.


Shaking among Chihuahuas could be brought by many different factors. In order to address it, fur parents should be able to determine first the cause. This should not be just ignored because while sometimes it could be just nothing, there are instances when it could result in fatalities. Thus, before discounting Chihuahuas shake, one should make sure first that it is nothing problematic by consulting a veterinarian.

Nevertheless, despite the fact that Chihuahuas could exhibit shaking sometimes, there are still many reasons why this should be a good choice for a companion dog. But before you get one, make sure that you have the commitment and the budget to give it a comfortable life.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: How do I make my Chihuahua quit shaking?

A: In order for one to be able to successfully address the Chihuahua shake, it is important to know first what is causing it. Don’t just assume that it’s nothing or consult the internet on why this is happening.

The best way forward is still to contact professional help who could be reliable in giving their recommendations and advice.

Q: Why has my Chihuahua started shaking?

A: The shaking of a Chihuahua could be attributed to a lot of reasons. It could be due to it expressing its fear and anxiety. Other times, it may be just expressing its excitement and happiness.

What should not be discounted though is the fact that the shaking of a Chihuahua could also be due to it being in pain or suffering from a health condition. If your Chihuahua’s shaking persists accompanied by other alarming symptoms, then you should bring it to the vet immediately.

Q: Do Chihuahuas have a favorite person?

A: Chihuahuas are devoted to their family but it is inevitable that they would have a favorite person who they would want to be with the most. You will know this person because Chihuahuas would love to be around them most of the time. They even tend to follow them around and they are susceptible to separation anxiety when they are left behind by their favorite person.

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