Why Do Chihuahuas Shake So Much?

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While Chihuahuas have a reputation as nervous, shaky dogs, they typically only shake if they have a good reason. That reason can be physiological or emotional, so if you notice that your tiny friend has a case of the shivers, take stock of both his environment and his general behavior. By giving him the care he needs, you can help keep his shaking under control.


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High Metabolism

Chihuahuas naturally have high metabolisms, which can make them shiver when they get excited or anxious. It also affects their ability to regulate body temperature. When an animal has a high metabolism, he burns off body heat quickly. This means that even when you don't feel cold, your Chihuahua might.

Cold Weather Woes

Whether your Chihuahua has short or long hair, he's sensitive to cold weather. These dogs are not particularly robust, and with their tiny frames, general lack of body fat and high metabolism, they aren't able to withstand the cold. If the weather is as cold as 35-40 degrees Fahrenheit, your Chihuahua is likely to shiver, and should be dressed in a sweater or wrapped in a blanket to help him stay comfortable.


Shaking Myths

Though these dogs have a reputation for nervousness, this is likely a product of their shivering -- not a cause of it. Chihuahuas generally are well-tempered, sociable dogs who aren't necessarily intimidated easily. A well-trained Chihuahua may be as calm, self-assured and well-behaved as any other breed of dog, and won't habitually shake unless he is cold or in a particularly stressful situation.

Nerves and Care

Like many dogs, Chihuahuas must be trained and socialized from a young age -- otherwise, they can grow up maladjusted and fearful. Because these dogs may shiver and shake when experiencing extreme stress or anxiety, a poorly socialized Chihuahua may tremble more than is typical. Despite their small size, Chihuahuas also need daily exercise and mental stimulation. Neglecting your Chihuahua's needs can leave him anxious, and when he becomes anxious, he may shake.


By Tom Ryan

Chi Friends: Chihuahua Myths
K9 Web: The Chihuahua FAQ
Dog Owner's Guide: The Chihuahua

About the Author
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.