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Why Do Chihuahuas Shiver?

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why Chihuahuas shake

It seems to be such a cliché, doesn’t it? The tiny shivering shaking Chihuahua. But it is often true. Many Chihuahuas do seem to shake a lot. And there is no one reason for the shaking. Below, I will give you the most common reasons Chihuahuas shiver.

The most common causes of shivering or trembling in dogs include being cold, anxiety, low blood sugar, poisoning, and various diseases. If your Chihuahua suddenly starts trembling or shivering, it’s important to take note of other signs such as diarrhea, vomiting, or limping and take him/her to vet immediately. Some common causes of shivering in Chihuahuas are:


Shivering is a mechanism of thermal regulation. Chihuahuas need to be in a warm place since they do not have much hair or body fat to protect them from the cold weather.

This dog breed has been adapted over the years to a hot climate, and that is what they are more comfortable with. Do give them snuggly blankets to cuddle under and have them wear a sweater when it’s cold outside.


Chihuahuas, like other small dogs, are very prone to stress and anxiety; therefore, that is the most common cause of shivering in this dog breed. Your little friend may be shivering because he or she is excited to see you or other members of the family.

It is also possible that he or she is anxious or stressed out. For example, your dog may be stressed because another dog is around. A little stress is not harmful to anyone; however, you should identify any cause of continuous stress and, if possible, eliminate it from the environment.

Shaking and trembling along with howling, whining, and pacing are also signs of separation anxiety. This usually happens when the dog owner leaves, and the dog is left alone. Your pup can begin to display the signs of separation anxiety a few minutes after the dog owner has left the home.


Hypoglycemia is low blood sugar, and about 10% of all Chis suffer from this. If your dog has it, break up their meals into multiple small meals throughout the day. The amount of food should stay the same, just feed them more often. You can also squirt a little sugar water into their mouth if they seem to be having an attack, and you know they suffer from hypoglycemia.


This is a viral disease that affects dogs that are not current with their vaccinations. Chihuahuas infected with the distemper virus will show a variety of systemic illness signs, such as eye and nose discharge, fever, coughing, diarrhea, and vomiting.

In addition, the distemper virus can cause neurological signs like tremors and uncoordinated movements. Treating distemper generally involves supportive care while your dog’s immune system fights the virus.

Treatment may also include antibiotics, airway dilators, physical therapy, and fluids to help manage dehydration. Take your Chihuahua to the vet immediately if you observe any of these signs.

Shaking Chihuahua


This syndrome is also known as steroid responsive tremor syndrome or white shaker dog syndrome. It was first noticed in small, white dogs such as the Maltese and West Highland white terriers, but it can occur in dogs of any size, breed, or color. The causes of this syndrome and the dog’s shaking are unknown. The signs of GTS start between nine months and two years of age. Treatment generally consists of corticosteroids.


Several toxins or poisons can cause tremors or shaking in dogs. Common substances that are poisonous for dogs include chocolate, cigarettes, antifreeze, insecticides, and Xylitol (the sugar substitute found in many chewing gums).

Signs of poisoning can vary but may include tremors, weakness, disorientation, depression, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures. If you think that your Chihuahua is intoxicated, you can call the ASPCA poison control center at (888) 426-4435, and they can help you determine if the substance is toxic to your pet. The ASPCA poison control center is available 24/7, so this is a good option if it is late in the night, and you cannot find an available veterinarian.

There are other less common reasons for shivering or trembling in dogs. If you have questions about your Chihuahuas’ shivering or trembling or about any health and wellness issue, you should contact your veterinarian.

Chihuahuas have a naturally high metabolism, which makes them shiver if they become anxious or excited. However, this also affects how their small body regulates their body temperature. Dogs with higher metabolisms tend to burn off body heat much more quickly, so even if you don’t feel at all cold, your Chihuahua may be.


To help stop the shivering, you need to know the cause of the shivering. For most causes, there are also some very simple solutions you can follow to help your pup. First, make sure your dog stays warm. If you live in an area that sees cooler temperatures, then find them some cute sweaters to wear to keep them warm. You should also avoid letting them stay outside for too long when the weather is too cold.

If the shaking is due to being anxious or scared, then your pup will need some reassurance. Let them know that they are okay. If it is possible, try removing them from whatever situation or environment is causing them to feel that way.

If you suspect your pup might be hypoglycemic, then have them tested by your veterinarian right away. Once you know for sure that this is the cause, it is very easy to treat.

If your pup is shaking because of separation anxiety, it is recommended that you take them for a walk before leaving the house. When you are about to leave, try to avoid all touching, talking, and eye contact, and say your goodbyes a good bit of time before you actually leave. You should also start out by leaving your pup alone for just a few minutes at a time to see how he reacts.

Finally, keep a watchful eye on your Chihuahua’s diet. Feeding them smaller meals throughout the day may help. If you have tried everything and your Chihuahua is still shivering, then you may want to consider that they may have been injured. Your Chihuahua pup may shake, whine, and yelp if they have been hurt.

Small dogs are more susceptible to injury as well because of their size. So, look for other symptoms like limping, crying, or a change in their personality and behavior. If you notice these signs, then take your Chihuahua to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

So, does your Chihuahua shiver? Kilo does, but only when she is cold or scared.

Click to find about other Chihuahua health problems.

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Bernice Tylka

Tuesday 25th of August 2020

My Chi very seldom will put her bead up in the air and sniff the air and a!omg with that she will pace. A k and forth. She sometimes will do this also when she gets ready to go into heat. What could be the cause of this?


Wednesday 26th of August 2020

Sounds like the typical little quirks some dogs have.Although the pacing before going into heat could be because she's uncomfortable.


Friday 17th of April 2020




Monday 20th of April 2020

It's hard to break them from this once they start. And usually they won't mess in their crate. You have to be consistent with her with whatever training method you use. We have a few articles that may help:


Wednesday 14th of February 2018

I have a 7 year old chi. Lately he began suffering from arthritis. He is on medication. He is in pain, sometimes but only when I try to hold him, he bites me. My husband can touch him everywhere, he let him do everything but he doesn’t like me. He seems that he is thinking that its ny fault that he is having pain. We have him since he was a puppy.


Wednesday 14th of February 2018

He very well may think that Roberta. 7 is pretty young for a chi to be dealing with arthritis, poor baby. Is he on any supplements for it?


Tuesday 28th of November 2017

We adopted our approximately 7 year old female chi a year ago. We also have an 11year old larger chi female. Jancy follows me every where. She sleeps with me but she won’t cuddle. She comes over for 15 second and leaves. I massage her very lightly and she scrambles away. We have not bonded at all...either have the girls with each!


Wednesday 29th of November 2017

It sounds like you are doing the right things Vera. She may eventually come around. Some dogs are more aloof like cats. If she follows you around, she is already seeing you as a pack leader.


Sunday 24th of July 2016

My chihuahua is very sensitive to adverse weather conditions, including wind, rain, and obviously thunderstorms. In the winter, we have snow and ice that accumulates on the roof and when it starts to melt, it crashes down and scares her. She shakes, pants, and hides under the furniture. Even after the storm has passed, it takes her awhile to calm down. I have seen various products that are supposed to help but have never tried them.


Sunday 24th of July 2016

Are you talking about supplements Christie? I'm curious about them too. I know the thunder shirt works well for some dogs but not all of them.