a chihuahua snuggling under a blanket.

Chihuahuas are known for shivering more often than other breeds. When you see your little one shivering and shaking away, you may wonder what’s going on. Chihuahuas shake for a variety of reasons. Here’s the most common reasons why your chihuahua may be shaking.

They’re Cold

Chihuahuas are very thin coated, and some even have patches where no hair grows at all. What feels warm or maybe just a little cool to you could feel freezing to your pup. If your dog is shivering away, try putting a nice fluffy blanket in their bed for them to burrow under. (This one is our dog’s favorite!)

High Metabolism

Despite your chihuahuas small stature, their little bodies are a powerhouse for energy. That can also mean that they run out of that energy fairly quickly. Many veterinarians recommend breaking chihuahua meals up into 3-5 meals a day. (A quick survey of the chihuahua owners we know reveals that many free feed, possibly for this reason.)

If your chihuahua burns their calories faster than they consume them, they may start to shiver as their blood sugar dips. If you think this may be the problem, ask your vet about it to form the best plan for your pet.


That mailman isn’t going to bark at himself! Lots of exciting things happen in your pet’s life. If they are excited when they bark out the window, see their leash, or during a rousing game of chase, it’s probably just excitement.

Sometimes excitement can also be fear though, so check out the classic signs of fear to know for certain.


It’s a big world for your little dog. There’s a lot more to be afraid of when you are tiny and surrounded by people the size of King Kong. Classic signs of fear include:

  • Visible white around the eye, called “Whale Eye”
  • Licking lips
  • Tucked tail
  • Shaking
  • Alarm barking, growling, showing teeth
  • Submissive peeing
  • Showing belly

If you see some of these signs, its possible your dog is shaking because they are afraid.

Pain and Other Medical Problems

Sometimes when a dog is in a lot of pain, they shiver. If your dog is clearly not excited, afraid, or cold, pain can be a possibility. Pain is a lot harder to figure out in pets, because it is very common for them to hide pain.

Rounded backs, obvious limping, reluctance to use the stairs or jump, or simply being grumpier than normal can all be signs of pain. If you’ve noticed any changes in your dog’s behavior, it’s best to ask your vet about these things to rule out pain or medical problems as the issue.

Chihuahuas shiver for a lot of different reasons—but it’s not necessarily a breed specific thing. Chihuahuas are generally more fearful (you would be too if you were the size of the foot about to step on you!) and tend to get cold more easily than other dogs, but shivering without reason is not something they do.

If you can figure out why your dog is shivering and provide solutions, your pet will likely stop shivering soon.

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By Andrea

Andrea is a dedicated dog mom of three chihuahuas. She has over a decade of experience as a dog groomer, chihuahua owner, and more recently as a dog trainer. She loves all things canine, particularly chihuahuas.

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