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Why Do Chihuahuas Shake? The Mysterious Case Of The Shivering Chihuahua

Why Do Chihuahuas Shake? The Mysterious Case Of The Shivering Chihuahua

Written By Rebecca Paredes

Sep 22, 2016

Few dogs are as adorably hilarious as the Chihuahua. From their tiny bodies to their huge ears, these dogs demand some serious snuggles and lap time. But if you’ve ever spent some time with a Chihuahua, you might have discovered one common trait of these lovable pups: they shake, and oftentimes, it isn’t clear why.

Why do Chihuahuas shake so much? We’ll delve into the answers here. But remember, if you have any concerns about your dog — or if they seem to be shaking more than normal — schedule a visit with your vet.

Why Do Chihuahuas Shake?

All dogs react differently to various stimuli, and every dog breed has unique quirks. For instance, Basenji puppies can't bark!

Not all Chihuahuas shake, and many other dog breeds will shake because they’re cold, nervous, or excited. However, Chihuahuas do seem to have a more noticeable shake, possibly because of their small frames!

If your Chihuahua is shaking, it may be for one of the following reasons. Take a look!

They’re Cold

According to AKC breed standards, Chihuahuas weigh less than six pounds and stand under 9 inches tall. With that size and short hair, they’re more susceptible to cold temperatures. If you notice your Chihuahua is shivering when you let them out in the morning or late at night, they’re likely cold — just like humans!

Some owners put sweaters and jackets on their Chihuahuas in order to keep them warm in the fall and winter. It might seem silly, but your tiny BFF can look dapper in the right outfit!

They’re Anxious

A few different factors can make your Chihuahua feel anxious. If they’re in a new environment or meeting new people (or dogs), they might feel nervous — especially if your Chihuahua wasn’t socialized as a puppy.

Behavior training is a good way to help your dog relax around new people and dogs. Work with a trainer to create safe environments and interactions for your Chihuahua. Over time, they may stop feeling nervous around new people and animals — and you’ll learn how to help your dog cope with their anxiety.

Why do Chihuahuas shake? Possibly anxiety

Not sure if your Chihuahua is anxious? Look and listen for the signs. Classic signs of nervousness include whining, barking, licking their lips or paws, or tucking their tail between their legs.

They’re Excited

If your Chihuahua is ultra-hyped, they might shake to show their excitement! If your Chihuahua is full of energy, they might be happy that you’re home, excited for a treat, or ready to play. Help your pup burn off that extra energy by taking them on a walk or throwing around a toy with them.

Sometimes, it might be tough to tell the difference between anxiety and excitement. If your Chihuahua is shaking, look at their body language and the context of their reaction. Are they shaking, but also wagging their tail or running around? Did you just mention one of their favorite words, like “dinner,” “treat,” or “walk?” They’re likely just shaking with excitement!

They’re Sick

Occasionally, shaking can be part of a larger collection of symptoms that your vet would need to diagnose. For example, a dog that is shaking and vomiting may have eaten something poisonous, and you should immediately call your vet or the Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435).

If your Chihuahua’s shaking is out of the norm, or if you notice other unusual symptoms like lethargy or limping, speak with your vet. It could be nothing, or it could be something more serious — but only a medical professional can make the final call.

Why Does My Chihuahua Shake?

If your Chihuahua is shaking and you’ve ruled out any medical issues or sources of anxiety, it could just be a trait that is unique to your pup! While you should always address any concerns with your vet, some happy shaking is totally normal in Chihuahuas. And remember, if they’re cold, a sweater looks extra stylish on a Chihuahua.

Does your Chihuahua shake? Tell us about your dog in the comments!