In this article, we are going to show you some possible causes why Chihuahuas shake so much. If there is something curious about this well-known breed, apart from its small size and strong character, it is that it seems that Chihuahuas are always trembling.
The main reasons why Chihuahuas shake so often
Here are some reasons Chihuahuas may shake:
Cold: being such a small dog, it is very common for this tremor to be due to the cold, therefore, this tremor increases the metabolic rate and warms the animal.
Excitement: it is a very nervous breed, which is easily excited. These tremors can appear in moments of nervousness and happiness.
Hypoglycemia: low blood sugar is very typical of toy breed dogs, especially puppies. If the dog is young or has not eaten for too many hours, you have to be very careful and try to make it eat so that hypoglycemia does not appear, since if the drop in blood sugar continues it can have a fatal outcome.
Fear: As with excitement tremors, dogs can tremble in stressful situations that cause them discomfort and fear, as in the case of dogs with a phobia of fireworks.
Pain: in some cases, this tremor may be indicative of pain, usually in the ear or abdominal or muscle pain.
Hydrocephalus: some varieties of this breed can suffer from fluid accumulation in the brain, which causes nervous symptoms such as tremors and seizures to appear.
Other less probable causes: other less probable causes but that must be taken into account, with the tremors caused by intoxications of certain drugs or toxins, neurological problems other than hydrocephalus, or the tremors that appear in elderly dogs.
Hypoglycemic tremors in chihuahua
Chihuahuas are dogs of very small size, with a high metabolic rate, and who sometimes show a selective appetite. Its blood sugar regulation is quite poor, and when the sugar levels start to drop, we may notice that the chihuahua is shaking a lot. Extrapolating to humans to understand us better, just think of the “slack in the legs” when you fast for several hours, or the lack of pulse in the same case.
It usually affects the Chihuahua puppies, adults being more resilient, have developed glucose homeostasis, more experience and free access to food to “self-regulate”. In puppies, we may have a bad idea of feeding them three or four times a day, just like we did with another dog that we had during the first year of life.
But Chihuahuas under 8 months old should eat small amounts of food every hour and a half or two to heal us healthy and avoid the drops of glucose. This does not go along with the fact that they can be quite sybaritic and only go to their feeder when they have no choice but to eat the food.
Wet foods can get us out of this problem, offering cream cheese with a drop of honey or a piece of turkey breast can help us maintain normal blood sugar levels. By the time the dog reaches adulthood, we can give them three to four meals a day without a problem.
Tremor of excitement in Chihuahua
No one escapes the fact that Chihuahuas are a temperamental, expressive, and lively breed. It is not easy to find a spaniel with this joy, genetic selection influences both character and many other things.
So, it is not difficult for our Chihuahua to tremble with emotion when receiving hugs, or attention, after spending time without seeing each other (even losing toilet training for a few seconds), or when you feel that we are going to provide you with your favorite food.
Sometimes certain rituals make him anticipate this emotion, and they start to tremble just by watching us pick up the spoon if he is very motivated by the food.
At other times the excitement is in the negative direction and we notice tremors in case our Chihuahua suffers from separation anxiety, when other dogs in the park are scary when we go to the vet, clear case of trembling.
Always check if your dog’s tremors are accompanied by other symptoms
Again, even if no illness or medical reason is yet known, pay attention to the other symptoms that accompany your dog’s tremors: panting, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of balance, heavy breathing, loss of appetite, drooling, cries, whines, etc.
All of these signs can indicate that there is a more serious problem and that a vet needs urgent attention.
Questions to ask yourself about your Chihuahua’s tremors
To know how to help your dog, first ask yourself some basic questions:
- Are the tremors recurrent or very occasional? Rare or frequent?
- How long do they last?
- Is it always in the same context that they appear?
- Is it particularly cold that day?
- Could it be too strong an emotion? Positive or negative?
- Is it easy to distract or calm your dog?
Once the circumstances are better understood, you will be able to work effectively on his behavior.
Some solutions for trembling dogs/puppies
The first thing to do is to see a veterinarian rule out or confirm a medical cause. We cannot repeat it enough: we can never be too careful! Leave the medical question in the hands of professionals and avoid at all costs the “solutions” found on the Internet or social networks. Your veterinarian is in the best position to help you when it comes to the health of your canine companion.
At the behavioral level, however, you have the power to work on certain aspects.
- For a Chihuahua who is always afraid:
To give a dog back control of his fears, we will use 2 complementary principles: progressive desensitization followed by counter-conditioning.
Understand here: reducing the fear effect of a stimulus (the claw cutter for example) by reducing the time the dog is exposed to the tool (a few seconds at the start) and by creating a distance between the object and the dog.
We want the experience to be easy and beneficial for the dog in order to keep him successful and allow him to learn. If your dog is stressed, he or she learns less easily, if at all.
Always adapt the starting point (distance, intensity, duration) to what your dog is able to tolerate without being stressed. If your dog is showing signs of stress (pulling his paw back, looking away, whale eyes, yawning, licking his muzzle, putting his ears back, etc.), it is too much for him.
Here is a great article on dog language and calming signals!
In short, the key to success is respecting your dog’s pace and tolerance and turning the horror object into a promise of happiness!
This method should of course be applied with rigor and precision to avoid reversing the desired effect. We don’t want to go too fast in the process or miss a step. In order to succeed in this behavioral therapy, it is more than desirable to call on a professional who can establish with you the different levels and show you how to apply them. A simple mistake in the process can quickly make the situation even worse for you and your dog.
- For a Chihuahua that lacks self-control
Several exercises are available to introduce your dog to learning self-control, in all circumstances: a guest arriving, a child running, an animal coming towards him, a period of a little intense play, etc.
When presented as an exercise, the game of ‘tugging’ with a dog is a great way to practice self-control!
Likewise, the key is to take it step by step: first in an easy setting (most often in the house and with reduced stimulus), then quietly increasing the difficulty when your dog passes the previous step.
Don’t hesitate to speak with your dog trainer for more game ideas to have a more relaxed and calm dog even when he is very excited and happy!
- For a Chihuahua who is anxious and/or stressed
Here, the problem is often too serious to be summarized in a single paragraph and requires a full assessment in order to have a protocol that will not harm your dog and that will be adequate for the problem encountered.
The solutions exist, of course, but the intensity of the emotion experienced by the dog is so great and unsettling that it is strongly advised to seek professional help (and even anxiety professionals!).
The bottom line
Let’s not forget that mental stimulation is often an overlooked and unrecognized aspect of dog owners. A deficiency that can lead to different consequences, including a problematic emotional or physiological state, such as tremors. Don’t skimp on your dog’s stimulation.
If you are not sure why your dog is shaking, see a veterinarian first. If the cause is ultimately behavioral, it is worth investing in a consultation with a dog behaviorist who uses ethical dog training methods. You know your dog best, but there is no shame in getting expert help!
If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!
FAQ on Why do Chihuahuas shake
Why do Chihuahuas shake?
Chihuahuas shake because they have a high metabolism, which makes them shiver when they are extremely excited. Also, they have small bodies so they are often cold, even if their owner is not.
How intelligent are Chihuahua dogs?
Chihuahuas are not among the most intelligent breeds of dogs. While they lack in obedience, Chihuahuas are high in adaptive intelligence, meaning that they will either wait for you at the door when you arrive from work or wake you up before the alarm sounds.
Are Chihuahuas easy to train?
Chihuahuas are easy to train, but you need a lot of patience, as they are known to be quite disobedient. Of course, you have to keep in mind that each dog has its own character and uniqueness.
Is a Chihuahua a good dog?
A chihuahua is a very good dog, especially for active people. Although they are known to react aggressively when feeling threatened, Chihuahuas can also be great family pets.