Why Do Chihuahuas Shake So Much: 5 Ways To Comfort Them

Written by Amber LaRock
Updated: September 24, 2023
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The chihuahua is known for being a tiny pup with a larger than life personality. A pup with so much personality often comes with a variety of quirks, but there is one unique trait that comes to mind when thinking of the chihuahua – shaking. Many assume that trembling is part of the chihuahua’s nature, but this is not always the case.

Shaking in chihuahuas can be tied to emotional and physiological factors, so let’s discuss all the possibilities below!

Do All Chihuahuas Shake?

chihuahua puppies blue and brown color. pet adoption

A confident and secure chihuahua is less likely to experience frequent trembling than one that is not well-socialized and trained.

©ElenaYakimova/Shutterstock.com

Before we dive into the details of why chihuahuas shake and how to best help them, it’s important to understand that not all chihuahuas will experience trembling. It is not a characteristic that is tied to the breed itself, but rather tied to the emotional and behavioral struggles chihuahuas can experience. Every dog is a unique individual that is influenced by their surroundings, training experience, and socialization levels.

Dr. Amy Nicole Lewis, a veterinarian with Worldwide Veterinary Services told A-Z Animals that a shaking Chihuahua is more often tied to emotional factors than physiological factors. A confident and content chihuahua usually will not tremble as often as a well-socialized chihuahua that is secure and confident in their surroundings.

Why Do Chihuahuas Shake So Much?

Chihuahua in a sweater

Cute little chihuahua dog walking on green grass wearing green knitted sweater.

©iStock.com/Irina Nedikova

Ranging from nervousness to cold climates, let’s break down the most common causes of shaking in chihuahuas!

They Are High Energy

What the chihuahuas lacks in size, they make up for in energy! These tiny pups are known to bounce off the wall with energy, especially if they are not getting enough exercise each day. Excessive amounts of energy can cause the chihuahua to tremble if they have no other way to expel that energy. High energy levels might be to blame if your chihuahua only trembles when they have yet to go on their daily walk.

They Are Overwhelmed With Excited

Many chihuahuas will tremble or shake when they are overwhelmed with excitement. This ties back in with their high energy levels, causing these pups to shake when they are presented with something that makes them really happy. For example, some chihuahuas will shake with excitement when they know they are about to go on a walk with their owners.

They Are Nervous Or Scared

The most common factor behind a shaking chihuahua is fear or nervousness. Some chihuahuas will tremble when they are presented with something unfamiliar or scary, causing them to cower and shake. This is most common in young chihuahuas that are not as secure in their skin, but it can occur in any situation that incites fear or anxiety. This is most common in car rides, when at the vet, when new people are around, during loud events like storms or fireworks, and in new environments.

They Are Cold

Chihuahuas often struggle to regulate their body temperature due to their fast metabolism. This can occur when they are outside in the frigid winter months, but it can also occur when your home is a bit chilly. Your chihuahua may be shivering due to being cold if their trembling resolves when they move to a warmer climate, or when you offer them a cozy blanket or sweater.

They Are In Pain

Trembling is a common sign of pain in all types of canine friends. Dogs may tremble with painful GI upset, a back injury, a soft tissue injury, and anything else that is causing them significant discomfort. A painful pup may also experience lethargy, a decreased appetite, disinterest in things they usually enjoy, or GI upset. We suggest having your chihuahua assessed by a vet if you think they could be in pain.

They Have An Underlying Medical Condition

Some painful medical conditions can lead to trembling in your beloved chihuahua. This is true of medical conditions that impact their body temperature regulation as well, as they may often struggle with feeling cold. We always suggest having your chihuahua assessed by a vet if they suddenly begin to tremble without an obvious emotional or environmental cause. This is especially true if they are experiencing any other changes in behavior.

5 Ways To Comfort Your Shaking Chihuahua

Closeup of three lovely, cute domestic breed mammal chihuahua puppies friends lying, relaxing in dog bed. Pets resting, sleeping together. Pathetic and emotional portrait. Dog ears, eyes and facesþ

©Benevolente82/Shutterstock.com

Let’s discuss some of the most effective ways to help your shaking chihuahua!

#1 Help Them Burn Off Some Energy

Increasing your chihuahua’s daily exercise can decrease their trembling if they typically shake due to excitement or pent up energy. Most chihuahuas need about 30 to 45 minutes of daily exercise each day to feel fulfilled. They typically enjoy going on long walks or playing interactive games with their owners. Just be sure to avoid any strenuous activities due to their delicate bones.

#2 Work On Building Their Confidence Through Training & Socialization

Many chihuahuas struggle with frequent trembling if they do not feel secure in their own skin. A confident chihuahua is a happy chihuahua, and often one that trembles less as well! The most effective ways to build your chihuahua’s confidence is through basic obedience training and socialization. We suggest really focusing on the areas that your chihuahua is known to struggle.

#3 Help Them Warm Up

The chihuahua’s high metabolism can make it difficult for the breed to stay warm in cool climates. Most chihuahuas need to wear a sweater outdoors when the temperature drops below 65 degrees, and especially during those cold winter months. We suggest investing in a sweat for both fall and winter weather. We also suggest keeping a few cozy blankets on hand for those chilly winter evenings indoors.

#4 Have Them Assessed By A Vet

As we discussed above, some chihuahuas will tremble if they are in pain or suffering from an underlying medical condition. Many of these pups will also experience a change in appetite, lethargy, weight changes, disinterest in activities they typically enjoy, and even GI upset. We suggest reaching out to your vet immediately if your little one is experiencing trembling in addition to any of the symptoms we listed.

#5 Final Thoughts

Chihuahuas can tremble due to feeling excitement, nervous, hyper, cold, or even unwell. Be sure to review the information we discussed above on why chihuahuas shake so much, and you can better understand how to help your chihuahua companion moving forward!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Al_Er/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Amber LaRock is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering topics surrounding pet health and behavior. Amber is a Licensed Veterinary Technician with 12 years of experience in the field, and she holds a degree in veterinary technology that she earned in 2015. A resident of Chiang Mai, Thailand, Amber enjoys volunteering with animal rescues, reading, and taking care of her two cats.

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