Food & HealthTips & Facts

Why Does My Chihuahua Shake When Sleeping?

Do you ever see your Chihuahua shake when sleeping and worry that something is wrong? Most pet parent share this same concern. This can be especially concerning if it’s something new to you. Especially if your pup has started doing this behavior or appears out of the blue. The good news is that this shaking doesn’t always a cause for concern. However, understanding why it occurs is important nonetheless.

In this blog post, we’ll explore why your furry friend might be shaking while sleeping. So you can better understand what is going on with them. And ensure nothing more serious is happening behind the scenes.

Possible Reasons Why Chihuahua Shake When Sleeping

why does my chihuahua shake when sleeping

A chihuahua shake while sleeping can be quite startling for pet owners. As it looks like something is wrong with your pup! However, there are several possible explanations for why dogs shake while sleeping. Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons. 

🐾Active Dreaming 

One of the most common explanations for why dogs shake while they’re sleeping is that they’re actually a dreaming dog. Dogs experience rapid eye movement (REM) sleep just like humans do. During this stage of sleep, their bodies may twitch or jerk as they dream.

It’s thought that dogs may even “act out” what they’re dreaming about, which could explain why yours might start running or barking in their sleep! While it’s not uncommon to see a Chihuahua shaking while the dogs dream. It could indicate deeper issues if the movements become more frequent or intense over time. 

🐾Muscle Stiffness 

Another possible explanation for why your dog’s shaking while sleeping is muscle stiffness. This issue can arise from any number of causes. Including arthritis, injuries from rough playtime, and poor nutrition. And will most likely cause them to feel stiff and sore when waking up from a nap or after periods of inactivity.

🐾Anxiety Disorders 

Some dog shakes while asleep due to an underlying anxiety disorder. If your pup shakes more often when they’re stressed out. Such as during thunderstorms or large gatherings—these feelings can likely manifest themselves during REM sleep. Talk to your vet about ways to help reduce anxiety levels to keep them from shaking during deep slumber. 

🐾Growth Development 

As puppies, their tiny bodies are in the process of growing and developing. While asleep, their muscles go through periods of muscle spasms, similar to REM sleep in humans. This can cause dog twitching or even shiver as they nap, which is normal and nothing to worry about. 

🐾Outside Stimulation 

Another possible reason your dog shake while asleep is external stimulation, such as noise or movement. If something happens around them while they are napping that startles them or causes fear. It can cause their body to react with a startle reflex which will usually manifest as shaking or trembling.

See also
Why are Chihuahuas Mean?

🐾Encounter With a Stranger 

It’s also possible that Chihuahua dogs might be shaking when he sleeps due to an encounter with a stranger earlier in the day. Suppose your pup had an unpleasant experience with someone unfamiliar to him earlier in the day. In that case, his body may still be on alert from the experience and still feel anxious and agitated even while he sleeps.

🐾Addison’s disease

Addison’s disease is a rare disorder that affects the adrenal glands, and it can cause chihuahua shakes, while feeling weak, and unsteady if your pup has been exhibiting any other signs of Addison’s disease. Such as vomiting or diarrhea, weight loss, weakness in their hind legs, or panting excessively.


As with humans, arthritis can affect dogs as they age and is caused by inflammation or joint wear and tear. This can cause pain and stiffness in their limbs, leading to muscle spasms or shaking during sleep.


Diabetes is most common in older dogs but can also happen in younger ones. If your Chihuahua has been showing signs of excessive thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, or increased hunger, then diabetes may be the culprit behind the shaking. In this case, it is essential to bring them to a veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible because untreated diabetes can lead to serious health problems down the line. 


Epilepsy could also be the cause of your dog’s trembling while asleep. It is a neurological disorder that affect a sleeping dog and can result in seizure disorder or tremors due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain. It’s important to note that not all seizures will look alike, and some may cause only mild dogs twitch or trembling, depending on the severity of the seizure. 

🐾Age-related Issues

Your dog shaking might be due to age-related issues. As dogs get older, they may experience joint stiffness or arthritis, which can cause trembling while sleeping. Additionally, adult dogs tend developing other health issues, which can all lead to tremors at night.

🐾Cold Temperatures 

Chihuahuas are small dogs, and as such, they don’t have much body fat to keep themselves warm in cold temperatures. This means that if the body temperature or their environment is too cold, they may start to shiver or shake.


Dehydration can also cause your chihuahuas shake while sleeping. It is important to ensure that your pet has access to plenty of fresh water throughout the day and a full bowl before bedtime.

See also
How Long Do Miniature Chihuahuas Live?

🐾Ingestion of Toxic Substances 

If your chihuahua has ingested toxic foods or substances such as antifreeze, pesticides, or household cleaners, it can cause them to shake while asleep. Signs of poisoning include excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and lethargy.


If you have noticed that your Chihuahua is shaking involuntarily while sleeping, your dog may be suffering from distemper. Distemper is a highly contagious virus that affects many dogs and can cause seizures or involuntary shakes that you see in your canine companion.

It is essential to seek medical treatment if you think your pet may be affected and ensure that any other animals in your home remain safe by vaccinating them. Distemper is a serious affliction with potentially fatal consequences, so do not postpone contacting a veterinarian to check your dog’s health and well-being.

🐾Brain Diseases

The brain diseases like encephalitis, brain tumors, and hydrocephalus can lead to tremors or seizures in chihuahuas. If your Chihuahua has been exhibiting strange behavior such as confusion, depression, loss of balance and coordination, circling, or aggression, then it is best to contact a veterinarian.


Parvo is another serious virus that can affect dogs and cause them to shake while asleep. The symptoms include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Parvo is highly contagious and potentially fatal if not treated immediately by a veterinarian.


Generalized Tremor Syndrome (GTS) is an often-overlooked condition in small dogs and can be daunting to diagnose. Symptoms of GTS can include persistent shaking while sleeping or at rest that may not be noticeable to the untrained eye, as well as sporadic episodes of tremoring during alertness.

These are some of the most common reasons why your Chihuahua may be shaking while sleeping.

When to Worry If Your Chihuahua Shake When Sleeping?

why does my chihuahua shake when sleeping

If your Chihuahua is shaking while sleeping, it may be normal or something more serious. Let’s look at what’s normal and what you should worry about.

What’s Normal? 

The occasional leg twitches or shivers from your Chihuahua while they’re getting their beauty sleep is generally considered quite normal. These little twitches may resemble the same movements we make in our sleep—a sign that your pup might just be dreaming!

This type of movement is typically nothing to worry about unless your pup appears to be in pain or discomfort. But if this occurs, it’s always best to check with your veterinarian to ensure there isn’t an underlying issue causing the trembling.  

When Should You Worry?  

In some cases, tremors can actually indicate a medical issue, such as seizures or hypoglycemia.

See also
Chihuahuas: What to Feed Them and How to Keep Them Healthy and Disciplined

👉Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) 

If you notice that your pup’s shaking while they’re sleeping is severe, accompanied by vocalizations (like screaming), drooling, or scratching at their face during sleep, these could all be signs of something more serious going on. Seizures typically involve jerking motions and loss of consciousness so if you observe any of these signs, contact your vet immediately for guidance. 

👉Vomiting or Diarrhea 

Vomiting or diarrhea accompanying your pup’s trembling can be a sign of an upset stomach or infection, both of which require veterinary attention. If you notice any signs of these symptoms along with the shaking, it’s important to check them out immediately.

👉Urinating During Sleep

Urinating during sleep can also be a sign of something more serious and should always be checked out by your vet.

👉Decrease Bowel Movement

If your Chihuahua is experiencing frequent or prolonged bouts of shivering while sleeping, it could be a sign that her bowel movements are being decreased. Severe constipation can cause abdominal discomfort, dehydration, and even shock in some cases. It’s important to consult your veterinarian if you suspect that your Chihuahua is suffering from a decrease in bowel movements, as this requires appropriate medical attention.

👉Mouth Foaming

Suppose your Chihuahua is drooling or foaming at the mouth while shaking during sleep. This could be a sign of an underlying medical problem such as poisoning or another serious health issue. It’s important to seek professional guidance if you observe any of these symptoms to ensure that your pet receives proper care and treatment.

👉Shaking for Long Periods than Usual

If your Chihuahua is shaking while sleeping for longer periods than usual, this could be a sign that something more serious is happening. Seizures, poisoning, and organ failure can all cause prolonged trembling and require immediate veterinary attention.

👉Accompanied By Fever and Lethargy 

If your Chihuahua is shaking during sleep and accompanied by fever or lethargy, this could be an infection. There are a variety of infections that can cause your pup to become lethargic, feverish, and shake while sleeping. Contact your vet for further evaluation and treatment.

These alarming signs can indicate various conditions and should always be addressed by your vet. Paying attention to your pup’s behavior can help you catch any potential problems before they become serious.

The Treatments of Chihuahuas Shaking When Sleeping 

If it is determined that your Chihuahua’s shaking while sleeping is due to a medical condition, the treatments will vary depending on the cause.

Diagnosing the Cause of Shaking While Sleeping 

Your veterinarian can help you determine if an underlying medical condition is present by performing a physical exam, blood work, and/or other tests. They will also ask questions about your pup’s diet and behavior to determine what could be causing the shaking episodes. Depending on their findings, they may recommend tests such as a blood test or an MRI scan to rule out any underlying health issues contributing to the problem. 

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How to Tell if Your Chihuahua Is Healthy: Tips for Owners

Treatment Options for Shaking While Sleeping 

Once an underlying issue has been identified, your vet will recommend treatment accordingly.


For example, if hypoglycemia is diagnosed, they may recommend changing your dog’s diet and providing regular meals with supplements such as honey or peanut butter to keep their blood sugar levels stable throughout the day.

❗Electrolyte Imbalance

If an electrolyte imbalance is present, they may suggest increasing fluid intake through water or electrolyte solutions like Pedialyte®.


A veterinarian can run diagnostics such as CT and MRI scans to confirm what is causing the tremor, including seizure activity, abdominal pain, and kidney issues. If GTS is confirmed, your vet will offer medication for symptom relief such as fatigue reduction, reduced anxiety, muscle cramps, and specific treatment plans. Including behavior modification—to address any underlying causes that may have triggered the condition.

❗Neurological disorders

For neurological disorders such as distemper virus or epilepsy, medication may need to prescribe for your pup’s tremors to subside while sleeping.


If arthritis is present, various treatments are available, including physical therapy, weight management, supplements, and medications.


If diabetes is the cause, your vet will suggest specific dietary changes and insulin therapy to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

❗Viruses and Bacterial Infections

If there is a virus or bacterial infection, they may recommend antibiotics and other medications to kill off the offending organisms. Vaccinations may also be suggested to avoid future occurrences.

Chihuahuas can shake while sleeping for various reasons, from simply being scared or cold to more serious underlying medical conditions. By detecting the cause and working with a veterinarian, you can ensure that your pup gets the care and treatment they need to improve its overall quality of life. 

Tips to Help Reduce Shaking in Chihuahuas

why does my chihuahua shake when sleeping

Here are some tips to help reduce your Chihuahua’s shaking while sleeping so you can get a good night’s rest. 

✅Provide Comforting Stimulation 

Chihuahuas often shake when they aren’t getting enough stimulating activities throughout the day, such as exercise or mental stimulation. Ensure you provide enough activities to keep your pup stimulated and comfortable during the day. This could include taking them on daily walks, playing fetch with them in the yard, or introducing them to new toys or puzzles that will help keep their minds active and sharp.

See also
How To Stop Seizures In Chihuahua?

✅Create a Cozy Sleep Environment 

The environment the dog sleeps in is just as important as how much activity they get during the day. Make sure your Chihuahua has a comfortable bed free from drafts where they can sleep undisturbed at night. If possible, try placing their bed near something that emits warmth, such as a heating pad, warm blanket, or hot water bottle (just make sure it isn’t too hot). You could also provide extra blankets or comforters for extra comfort and warmth during colder months.  

✅Create Routine Bedtime Habits 

Establishing routine bedtime habits is essential for calming an anxious pup before bedtime. Try giving your pup a massage before bed to relax any tense muscles, provide soft background music to help them relax more easily, or practice light yoga poses together if possible. Making sure you take breaks throughout the day to spend quality time with your pup will also help create positive associations with sleep time if done consistently.  

✅Exercise Regularly 

Regular exercise is vital for your pup’s physical and mental well-being. Make sure to get in at least one hour of exercise each day with your pup so that they can burn off any excess energy before bedtime. This will help them settle down more easily when it’s time to retire for the night.

✅Vaccination is a Must

Vaccinations are essential for keeping your pup healthy and safe. Ensure that you keep their vaccinations up to date to reduce the risk of contracting viruses or bacterial infections, which can cause shaking at night.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my chihuahua shaking and acting weird all of a sudden? 

Chihuahuas can shake for various reasons, but the most common cause is anxiety or fear. If your chihuahua has recently had a stressful experience—such as being in an unfamiliar environment or interacting with a new person—it may be shaking due to fear or anxiety. It is also possible that your chihuahua is feeling ill or injured and is trying to shake off the pain. 

My Chihuahua is twitching while sleeping with their eyes open; what is the matter? 

This behavior could be due to several things, including excitement, fear, exhaustion, or seizures. If this behavior persists for more than one night, it would be wise to take your dog to the vet for an examination just in the case underlying medical issues are causing the behavior. 

Why does my chihuahua puppy makes a violent shaking while sleeping? 

It could be due to an underlying condition such as epilepsy or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels). In order to rule out any medical causes, it would be best to visit your veterinarian so they can run tests on your pup and diagnose any conditions that may be causing this behavior. Alternatively, if you suspect your puppy’s shaking is caused by stress or anxiety. Then you should try introducing calming activities such as massage therapy into their routine to help them relax before bedtime. 

See also
Chihuahua Guide: What Can I Give My Chihuahua for Allergies

What are the signs that my Chihuahua is just dreaming while sleeping? 

Like other dogs, Chihuahuas often dream while they sleep and will show signs of dreaming even when their eyes are closed. The most common signs that your pup dreams are twitching or paddling of their limbs and facial movements such as lip-smacking or chewing motions. You may also hear your pup whimper softly as if they were talking in their sleep. These behaviors may vary from dog to dog, but in general, if your chihuahua seems relaxed and content during these episodes, it is likely nothing more than a dream.  

Should I try to wake up my chihuahua who is shaking from a nightmare?

No. If you observe your chihuahua shaking or exhibiting signs of distress during sleep, do not attempt to wake them up, as this can cause further stress and even lead to aggression. Instead, try speaking calmly to them or gently petting their head until they wake naturally from the nightmare. This will allow them to slowly return to reality and adjust to a comfortable state of mind before fully waking up.      

Is it normal for my chihuahua to have shaking episodes during the day?

It is not normal for a chihuahua to shake during the day unless there is an underlying medical condition causing it. However, if your pup does experience shaking episodes throughout the day, you should take them to the vet for a checkup as soon as possible to rule out any health problems. Furthermore, excessive shaking or trembling during the day can be a sign of anxiety. It may require behavioral therapy or training to help your pup become calmer and more relaxed throughout the day.                     

Final Words

Chihuahuas can be quite sensitive and easily stressed, making them prone to shaking at night. However, by following a few simple steps outlined above, you can take to help reduce the frequency and intensity of this behavior.