Are you worried that your Chihuahua is shaking too much? I don’t want to set off any alarms here, but maybe you should be worried.
Chihuahuas seemingly tend to shake relatively often, more than any other dog breed, and that prompts some dog owners to wonder if there is anything wrong with them.
There are many plausible reasons for shaky Chis, but there are also a lot of myths circulating online. In this article, I’ll do my best to separate the two and offer you some legit reasons why Chihuahuas shake.
Some of the causes are completely harmless, but there are also those that can be a potential health risk. I’ll leave those for the latter part of the article. Let’s get started!
1. High Metabolism
Chihuahuas have a super fast metabolism, and when you combine that with their tiny bodies, you get a dog that can burn three times as many calories as other breeds.
Recommended read: How To Create The Perfect Chihuahua Feeding Chart
One of the symptoms of such a high metabolism is occasional shivering and shaking, but it usually isn’t a cause for concern.
Another symptom of Chihuahuas’ high metabolism is that they’re not able to regulate their body temperature as well as some other dogs can. That causes them to be cold a lot of the time, which leads me perfectly to entry number two on this list.
2. Cold Weather
Unless you live in an eternally warm and sunny place like California, Florida, or Australia, then you know what it feels like to step outside and have your body shocked by a wave of cold January air.
Shaking and shivering are normal responses to feeling cold, but imagine if your body was unable to regulate its own temperature.
Well, that’s how Chihuahuas feel. Their lightning-fast metabolism and lack of body fat make them ill-prepared to deal with the cold, and that is something you should have in mind.
Don’t take them outside in cold weather unless you have to, and when you do, put some warm clothes on them.
3. Anxiety And Fear
This is something more serious than simple winter chills. All dogs need proper socialization and training during their puppyhood in order to grow into functioning dogs who are accustomed to other animals and people.
If your Chihuahua has not been properly socialized in time, there is a possibility that it has grown to be anxious and fearful, which can often manifest itself in the form of shaking.
Keep an eye on your Chi and pay attention to its behavior around other people. If it starts shaking when somebody comes into the house, anxiety or fear might be the cause.
4. Excessive Energy
I keep coming back to this, but this is yet another symptom of the Chihuahua’s high metabolism. There is a reason why I put it as number one on this list.
There is a lot of energy running around the tiny Chihuahua body and if it’s not spent properly, your dog can start “shaking it off.”
To prevent this, make sure that you give your Chi plenty of opportunities to burn off its excess energy in a natural way. Take it for regular walks, play with it as much as you can, and give it a lot of interactive toys.
If you own a Chihuahua, then you know how hyper they are. They just love action and excitement!
Sometimes they will literally shake with excitement in anticipation of something. Most dogs will put on a silly grin or wag their tail when they know they are about to get a treat or go out for a walk, but Chis seem to put their whole body into it.
6. Old Age
This is another natural cause of shaking in Chihuahuas. Sometimes, as they get older, Chis will start occasionally shivering due to tremors or joint pain.
While this might be painful for the dog, it is a natural consequence of aging and there is really nothing you can do about it.
Fortunately, Chihuahuas are a very healthy breed of dog and can live up to 20 years. If they get to that point and start shaking a little bit, just know that they’ve had a good run already.
7. Generalized Tremor Syndrome
Generalized tremor syndrome (GTS) is a condition that affects many dog breeds, during their formation period, between 9 months and 2 years of age.
It causes the ailing dog to shake uncontrollably, which is why it has been dubbed “the white shaker dog syndrome.”
Vets remain puzzled as to what is the root cause of this condition, but thankfully, there is a treatment for it. Giving corticosteroids to your Chihuahua helps treat GTS.
8. Low Blood Sugar
Low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia, is much more common among smaller dogs, such as the Chihuahua.
The reason for this is (again) the combination of their high metabolism and small body. The energy that they intake runs through them so fast that they just can’t replenish their blood sugar levels quickly enough.
To combat this, you should feed your Chihuahua food that is rich in nutrients, and try feeding multiple smaller meals throughout the day, instead of a couple of big ones.
There are a lot of potentially toxic or poisonous substances, sometimes even found in food, that can cause your Chihuahua to shake.
The best example is probably chocolate, which is famously bad for dogs. Unlike cats, dogs can’t really teach themselves to avoid stuff that is bad for them, which is why you need to do it for them.
Keep your Chihuahua away from chocolate, but also from things like chewing gum, cigarettes, various insecticides, etc.
10. Distemper Virus
Distemper virus is a serious, and potentially fatal, infection that can befall any puppy that has not received all of its vaccinations.
Aside from shaking, other symptoms include coughing, vomiting, and high fever.
There isn’t really a cure for this, but it can be alleviated with the use of antibiotics and physical therapy. Remember, it is absolutely vital to stay up to date with your dog’s vaccinations in order to avoid things like this.
Chihuahuas can be allergic to a lot of things, including various types of food. And some of those allergies have symptoms that include shaking.
If you’ve recently changed your Chi’s food and noticed that it started to shake, it’s probably best if you stick with the food that works.
Additionally, you can do a thorough allergy test on your dog so that you know in advance which ingredients to avoid.
12. Kidney Issues
General kidney failure is a very sad medical condition that can affect Chihuahuas, and one of its symptoms is tremors.
Other signs of kidney failure include ulcers forming around the mouth, gums becoming pale in color, your dog losing weight, losing its balance and having trouble moving, as well as a very strong ammonia smell emanating from it.
If you notice any of these in your Chihuahua, get it to the vet’s office as soon as possible.
13. Ear Infection
If your Chihuahua is shaking only its head, and not its entire body, that might be a sign of an ear infection.
Ear infections are pretty common in Chis, as they tend to build up a lot of gunk and wax in their ears.
To prevent this, regularly inspect its ears and clean them out gently. If it’s already too late and an infection has taken place, then take it to the vet for a check-up.
14. Physical Injury
A painful injury to a certain part of the Chihuahua’s body can sometimes cause it to shake that part in order to try to deal with the pain.
If you notice your Chi uncontrollably shaking its leg, for example, take a good look at it and see if there are any wounds, scratches, or anything like that.
If it’s a painful injury, your Chi will probably try to communicate it via whining or crying, so keep your ears and eyes peeled.
So those were the 14 potential causes of shaking in Chihuahuas, along with tips on how to deal with it.
Shaking can often be completely harmless and easy to deal with, but it’s important to know what’s causing it in order to fix it. Hopefully, this article will give you a good idea of how to recognize it and act in good time.