Why is My Chihuahua Shaking So Much?
Animal file: Chihuahua
Chihuahuas are the smallest dog breed in the world. Although they can vary in weight and size, they have a small frame. We can often see their skeletal structures through their skin, as is the case with other breeds such as the Greyhound. Also similar to the Greyhound, Chihuahuas often develop a tremor which can be acute or chronic. While this is a common phenomenon, it is something which we need to keep an eye on a Chihuahua shaking as it could be a symptom of a problem.
You might ask yourself why is my Chihuahua shaking so much? Perhaps they have started to shake more than usual, or maybe you just want to know why Chihuahuas shiver in the first place. AnimalWised has the details.
Why is my Chihuahua puppy shivering?
When we first bring a Chihuahua puppy into our home, we will want to indulge them with pampering and affection. It is possible we might not notice they tremble at first, but it is important to know that trembling in Chihuahua puppies is something they will all experience at some point. It should only last for a short amount of time, at least until their neurological system fully matures.
All newborn puppies will have a period of time when they are cumbersome and will not be able to move well. Since their limbs are still developing, their body makes it difficult to make smooth movements. Puppies are altricial animals, meaning they cannot properly look after themselves when they are born. They need help moving, eating and even defecating.
However, by 2 months of age, Chihuahua puppies should have a fully developed neurological system. Their cerebellum is able to send and refine orders with precision. Their body is also developed to a point their musculoskeletal structure is able to carry out these orders well. By this point, we should stop observing continuous trembling. Learn more by looking at our article on when do Chihuahuas stop growing.
In addition, up to three weeks of life, they are unable to regulate body temperature. They may be trembling when they are deprived of contact between themselves and their mother and siblings. This is because they are their main source of heat at this age. For this, as well as many other vital reasons, puppies should remain with their mother for a minimum of 8 weeks.
What if my Chihuahua puppy is still shaking after 2 months?
Since shaking in Chihuahuas is related to neurological development, it is possible that there is an issue with their brain health. In severe cases, it is possible the shaking is due to a viral infection or a bacterial problem such as encephalitis. A proper vaccination schedule should be in place to reduce the possibility of this occurring.
We should look to see if the Chihuahua shaking is accompanied by other symptoms. We should relay these to the veterinarian who will perform the correct diagnostic tests. For brain injury, the veterinarian may take samples of the cerebrospinal fluid or even perform an MRI.
With Chihuahua puppies, it is possible they have abnormal development of the cerebellum. This does not prevent the dog from leading a happy life. However, it may result in the nervous system having difficulty refining their movements. They may still be able to interact happily with their environment, humans and other dogs.
Chihuahua is shaking due to temperature changes
The Chihuahua is known as a mini-or toy breed, due to their small size. These breeds generally have a high metabolic rate, much more than large dog breeds. For this reason, it makes it even more difficult for them to regulate their temperature. Since animals with such a small body surface are sensitive to heat loss, they can develop tremors when the temperature drops. This shaking is a way for the Chihuahua to produce heat.
Protecting themselves from the cold is necessary in certain climates as low temperatures can lead to hypothermia. We need to protect the dog from this cold, so many guardians will purchase a special dog coat. This helps to keep in warmth by insulating their body heat. It also helps to protect their body from the wind which can reduce their temperature further.
Heat loss can also occur from conduction. This occurs when the Chihuahua comes in contact with cold surfaces, such as a tiled floor in winter. Body fat is a great insulator. However, this does not mean we should overfeed our dog can let them become obese. While it may make them shiver less, the threat it poses to their general health is too grave.
Poor temperature regulation is one factor in the most common Chihuahua health problems.
Chihuahua is shaking due to hypoglycemia
Although the Yorkshire Terrier is the breed most associated with hypoglycemia, the Chihuahua is not far behind. In both cases, they are small dogs with a high metabolic rate. They also both often have a selective appetite. For both these reasons, their blood glucose levels can be very poor. When their sugar levels begin to drop, we may notice the Chihuahua starts shaking a lot.
To know more about Yorkie health problems, take a look at why a Yorkshire Terrier is shaking so much.
When a human being's sugar levels drop, we can see various symptoms. Often our legs feel weak or our pulse starts to weaken. We can even start to shake our hands. This is similar to what happens to Chihuahuas, except their body is so small it is easy for all of it to shiver.
Can hypoglycemia in Chihuahua be prevented?
Low blood glucose levels tend to affect young Chihuahuas more often. Adults are more resistant as they have usually developed homeostasis (steady and balanced body function) and can better self-regulate their food. Due to their small size, feeding Chihuahua puppies is usually different to most other dog breeds. This can affect their blood sugar levels.
Chihuahuas less than 8 months of age should eat small amounts of food every 1.5 to 2 hours. This will help to prevent drops in normal blood glucose levels. Since Chihuahuas do not have big appetites, feeding them this way will help them to regulate their food intake.
Eating wet food might also be better for them as it allows them to have a burst of energy greater than when eating dry food. We can also let them eat something which has high calorific content such as a piece of fruit with honey on it or a pìece of turkey breast. This can help them to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Once they reach adulthood, they should be able to eat four meals a day without problem.
Can Chihuahuas go into hypoglycemic shock?
Unfortunately, Chihuahuas can indeed go into hypoglycemia shock. If we don't administer to their low blood sugar levels, the Chihuahua's shaking will increase and their shivers will become acute. They may lose consciousness, have a seizure and, if not treated, it can be fatal. If we think our Chihuahua is going into hypoglycemic shock, we need to administer first aid for dogs such as rubbing honey on their gums. They will then need to be taken to the veterinarian ASAP.
Chihuahua is shaking due to excitement
Although the previous examples of why a Chihuahua is shaking are to do with their physiology, there may also be psychological reasons why they are trembling. We might be aware that Chihuahuas can be a temperamental and expressive breed. This is, in a large part, due to their genetic lineage.
For this reason, it is not uncommon for a Chihuahua to shake when being petted, when they think they are getting a treat or even seeing us when we come home from work. Chihuahuas can even become so excited, they pee a little. Certain rituals which cause anticipation, such as going for a walk, can make them shake in excitement. If they are highly motivated by food, even picking up their food can be a problem.
On other occasions, the excitement can be negative. If we see tremors in our Chihuahua when we leave the house to go to work, it could be due to separation anxiety. In these cases, they feel insecure and scared when we are not around and shake because of it. We may also see them shaking if we approach the veterinarian or in any situation they do not like.
When a Chihuahua has been poorly socialized, they may shake when other dogs, animals or people are around. They may fear other animals or people will hurt them, so their shaking may even turn into aggression. Even though they are small, we need to be careful. This will be bad for others and for the Chihuahua themselves due to the stress it causes.
For the above reasons, education is very important to help any dog to have a happy life. If we want to be specific to this breed, in this AnimalWised article we look at how to train a Chihuahua.
Other reasons why a Chihuahua is shaking
In this section, we will briefly look at reasons why a Chihuahua shakes which are not specific to their breed. Canines have particular response to various stimuli and shaking can be a response to:
- Poisoning (due to ingesting toxic substances)
- Bacterial or viral infections of the central nervous system
- Neurological injuries at birth or subsequent trauma
- Visceral or musculoskeletal pain
- Effects of age/neurological deterioration
Although we have stated that Chihuahuas shake when they are young, they may start shaking again in later life. This is because aging can often cause neurological problems in older dogs, something all dogs can suffer from.
This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.
If you want to read similar articles to Why is My Chihuahua Shaking So Much?, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.