If your Chihuahua shakes, rattles and rolls even when there's no Elvis on the radio, don't be alarmed. There are a number of causes as to why Chihuahuas shake and shiver the way that they do. Not all Chihuahuas shake, and the ones that do don't always do it.
The obvious reason why some Chihuahuas shake is because they are cold and their bodies are reacting to the ambient temperature much the way a human body does. Unless they are the long-haired type, Chihuahuas have very short fur and you will frequently see them sporting sweaters and jackets since their owners want to keep them warm. The Chihuahua has an unusually high metabolism, and their tiny bodies lose heat rather quickly.
It sounds anthropomorphic, but just as you may shake from nerves, so does the Chihuahua. If your Chihuahua is in a new environment, or if there are strangers, both human and canine around, or if there is a storm brewing (dogs can feel the barometric pressure drop long before people see the first cloud), your Chihuahua may be reacting to this. One way to tell if your Chihuahua is shivering from nerves is to listen for whining or barking. Other signs of nervousness include lip-licking, failure to make eye contact and excessive licking of the paws.
Like a 10-year-old child getting ready to go to Disney World, an excited Chihuahua will shake and shiver due to anxiety, be it good anxiety because he's going on a car trip, or bad anxiety because his car trip means a visit to the vet. An overexcited Chihuahua will shake until the cause of the excitement passes. Most dogs wag their tails wildly when excited. This isn't enough for the Chihuahua, he's got to get his whole body into the act.
Chihuahuas have high energy due to their extra-high metabolism. Shaking and shivering is a common trait among Chihuahuas and it is nothing to be to concerned about. Just as people sometimes have an abundance of energy for the situation, such as drinking too much coffee and having to sit through a boring meeting, Chihuahuas have that energy pretty much all the time. Giving your Chihuahua an opportunity to run off that excess energy will most likely stop all that shivering. If not, grab some rock and roll music and join him!
Michelle A. Rivera is the author of many books and articles. She attended the University of Missouri Animal Cruelty School and is certified with the Florida Animal Control Association. She is the executive director of her own nonprofit, Animals 101, Inc. Rivera is an animal-assisted therapist, humane educator, former shelter manager, rescue volunteer coordinator, dog trainer and veterinary technician.