Are you wondering “why do Chihuahuas sleep so much?”
As the proud parents of Leo, our rescue Chihuahua, we can tell you firsthand that these little pups are true nap aficionados.
In fact, our camera rolls are chock-full of precious snapshots of Leo snoozing like an absolute angel.
Chihuahuas are little bundles of energy, but because of their size, they can exert themselves quickly.
This makes sleep essential to your Chihuahua’s health and recovery.
In this blog post, we will answer 2 questions:
1. Why do Chihuahuas sleep so much?
2. How many hours are Chihuahuas supposed to sleep?
20 Reasons Why Chihuahuas Sleep So Much
There are several lifestyle and medical factors that contribute to their love of napping. Let’s start with the lifestyle reasons.
Age is a big factor in how much your Chihuahua will sleep. Your dog’s sleep will evolve as they grow older.
Puppies and senior dogs sleep a lot more than adults.
Since puppies are growing, they sleep 18-20 hours a day. Their bursts of energy are followed by a long nap.
Since Chihuahuas are small dogs, they are considered to be seniors at age 7, comparable to 44-47 human years. At that age, they are slower and get worn out quicker.
They also may have developed health issues like arthritis, so it’s important to keep track of their sleep cycles and talk to your vet.
Feeling bored might be why Chihuahuas sleep so much. Boredom is usually due to a lack of attention or mental stimulation.
Chihuahuas have lots of energy for running around, so if they aren’t getting enough playtime, they will turn to sleep instead.
If you notice your dog sleeping a lot, try to spend more time interacting with your pet!
Read our post 26 Fun Games to Play with Your Chihuahua to get some fresh ideas and learn how beneficial it is to play with your dog!
Other ideas to relieve boredom are:
- A new toy
- A trip to the dog park
- A snuffle mat
- A walk through a new neighborhood
Hopefully one of these ideas will help perk your dog up!
If a Chihuahua is stuck at home alone all day while you’re at work, the loneliness might drive them to spend most of the day sleeping.
To help combat loneliness, try getting a camera with a treat dispenser for your home.
This way, you’ll be able to talk to your dog throughout the day and cheer them up with treats.
Alternatively, you can hire a professional to make a drop-in visit to check on your dog or drop them off at doggy daycare a couple days a week.
When you get home, make sure to take your dog for a walk and spend some time playing with them.
The weather can play a big factor in how much a dog sleeps, especially when it’s really hot or cold out.
On cloudy, rainy days, our Chihuahua is more lethargic and wants to sleep most of the time. He loves to find a cozy blanket and burrow into it.
On the other hand, when it’s sunny and warm, Leo has more energy and wants to spend all his time outside.
He loves to sunbathe and bake himself until he starts panting and moves to the shade.
However, if it’s a scorching day, it can make dogs sleep more due to the high heat causing them to feel more lethargic.
They might even seek refuge in the bathroom for a nap, as the cool tiles offer a refreshing escape from the sweltering heat.
The weather definitely affects their energy level, just like it does for humans. Less sun also makes us more sleepy as we’d rather hibernate on a cold or rainy day.
Another reason your Chihuahua is sleeping so much could be that they are just plain lazy and would rather spend their time snoozing.
It’s possible that their dog bed is exceptionally cozy, making it difficult for them to leave it.
Laziness can be a product of living a sedentary lifestyle. They may have lost interest in playing or exercising and choose to sleep instead.
Build new habits for your dog by creating a schedule for walks and playtime to keep them motivated.
Novel events like a new toy or a walk in a different park can go a long way.
6. High Physical Activity
Chihuahuas are very high-energy dogs.
They get bursts of energy that drive them to play and follow you around until they wear themselves out.
One minute they are acting like an Energizer bunny and the next minute they are fast asleep.
Due to the Chihuahua’s small size, they have less stamina.
This means they will take numerous naps during the day to recuperate from exerting all that energy.
You may notice your dog will nap after their walk or after a play session.
If your pup gets the zoomies, it’s an indication of excess energy and they may need more exercise to tucker them out.
It may sometimes seem like Chihuahuas have unlimited energy, but they do spend a good amount of time sleeping.
7. Lack of Food or Poor Quality Food
Chihuahuas have a high metabolism and they need the correct amount of food for their weight in order to get enough calories.
If they are underfed, they will feel lethargic and sleep more.
Poor quality food, like kibble full of fillers, often lacks certain essential vitamins or minerals and will prevent a Chihuahua from feeling their best.
Low-quality puppy food might lead to floppy ears in your Chihuahua since they need a lot of nutrients for their growing bones, muscle, and cartilage.
Since dogs obtain their energy from food, low-quality food made from by-products and full of grains can lead to low nutrition.
Check the ingredient list and be sure you’re feeding your dog a brand that specifically lists meat as the first ingredient, like turkey or beef.
8. Natural Sleep/Wake Cycle
Dogs have a different sleep-wake cycle than we do.
We get all of our sleep in one chunk at night whereas a dog cycles in and out of sleep all day.
This means Chihuahuas spend a lot of time napping.
In a study published in Applied Animal Behaviour Science, dogs had 23 sleep-wake cycle episodes during 8 hours, with 16 minutes spent asleep and 5 minutes awake.
So if it seems like your dog is sleeping a lot, it could just be their natural sleep cycle.
9. Lap Dog Breed
Chihuahuas are pint-size pups and our laps make the perfect bed.
Chihuahuas were bred to be companions and are often called “velcro dogs” because of how they stick to you.
Our Chihuahua, Leo, spends many hours dozing on our laps during the day. It is his favorite spot to nap.
Of course, we can’t let our dogs sleep all day. They still need a good amount of exercise to keep them healthy.
10. Illness or Disease
A concerning reason your Chihuahua might sleep so much is due to an illness or a disease. Dogs that don’t feel well will tend to sleep more.
Certain diseases that affect the organs like liver disease, hypothyroidism, and heart disease cause your dog to be sleepy.
Hypothyroidism causes fatigue due to not producing enough of the hormone thyroxine.
One of the many signs of cancer in dogs is lethargy, which will equal more naps.
Keep up on your regular vet visits to detect any illnesses early on.
If your Chihuahua is taking any medications, one of the side effects could be drowsiness. This may lead to your dog sleeping more than usual.
Check the labels of your dog’s medicine and that might explain the extra naps.
Some medications may even cause your Chihuahua to snore like muscle relaxants.
An infection may result in a dog feeling extra sleepy. Infections can be caused either by a virus or bacteria.
Viral infections include parvovirus, distemper, and kennel cough. An example of a bacterial infection is leptospirosis.
Apart from being sleepy, other symptoms can include fever, vomiting, reduced appetite, or coughing.
The infections mentioned are serious and require treatment right away.
13. Food Poisoning
There are many foods that are toxic to Chihuahuas such as chocolate, onions, and grapes, among others.
If your dog has eaten a poisonous food, they will start exhibiting symptoms like vomiting, excessive drooling, and diarrhea.
Another common symptom is lethargy, leading to your dog sleeping more frequently.
If you suspect your dog has consumed something toxic, take them to the vet immediately.
Hypoglycemia means low blood sugar. Chihuahuas are susceptible to hypoglycemia because of their high metabolism and low body mass.
If your dog is feeling unusually drowsy or tired and hasn’t eaten in a while, try giving them something with sugar like honey or apples to see if they perk up.
If these symptoms are accompanied by dizziness, trouble walking, or your Chihuahua becomes unresponsive, go to the vet immediately.
Carrying around more weight than usual is tiring for your dog. It might be harder for them to get around so they decide that it’s easier to just lay down and snooze.
An overweight dog tends to have less stamina. Exercise will require a lot more effort and thus your dog will feel less motivated to get moving.
Make a weight loss plan with your vet and be sure to slowly ease them into exercising again.
A lot of Chihuahuas suffer from anxiety. Since they are so small, they tend to be an especially anxious breed.
The most common causes of anxiety are being left alone (separation anxiety), past trauma, and not being socialized properly when they were a puppy.
A Chihuahua that is feeling anxious or stressed tends to sleep a lot.
If your dog is experiencing anxiety, seek help from your vet.
Make sure your Chihuahua is getting enough exercise to reduce any nervous feelings.
Narcolepsy is a disorder that causes a dog to suddenly fall asleep.
Episodes last a few seconds to several minutes and then the dog abruptly wakes up as if nothing happened.
Narcolepsy is not life-threatening and has no cure, but you may be able to identify patterns to figure out what could be triggering the episodes.
Visit your vet to get a proper diagnosis.
A dog that starts sleeping a lot and eating less could be a sign of depression.
Dogs can suffer from depression just like we can.
Has there been a big change in your life such as a move or the addition or loss of a family member? Maybe you added a new pet to the family?
Or you could be spending more time out of the house, which is causing your dog to feel a bit neglected.
If you believe your dog is depressed, take them to the vet to rule out any other medical issues.
Anemia occurs when there is a low red blood cell count. Dogs that are anemic won’t have much stamina and will become tired easily.
In dogs, anemia is mainly caused by worms and parasites or tumors.
A telltale sign of anemia is pale gums. This condition can be confirmed at the vet with a blood test.
Diabetes is a serious condition where the body doesn’t produce insulin.
This will cause lethargy as well as increased thirst and excessive urination.
If you suspect your Chihuahua has diabetes, take them to the vet for a blood test. Diabetes can be dangerous if it’s not treated.
How Many Hours Are Chihuahuas Supposed to Sleep?
Age, lifestyle, and health are big factors in how many hours a Chihuahua sleeps. Growing puppies sleep around 18-20 hours a day.
Seniors will sleep anywhere from 14-20 hours.
Adult Chihuahuas tend to sleep on average 12-15 hours. An active, healthy Chihuahua will sleep less than an older or ill dog.
Is It Normal For a Chihuahua to Sleep All the Time?
Although Chihuahuas are high-energy, it’s normal for adult dogs to sleep around 12-15 hours, with puppies and seniors requiring more sleep.
Dogs sleep at more frequent intervals than humans, so it may seem like they’re sleeping all the time when really it’s due to their sleep cycles.
Talk to your vet if you think they are sleeping excessively because there could be an underlying medical issue.
When Should I Worry About My Dog Sleeping A Lot?
Keep an eye out for sudden and extreme changes in their sleep habits, especially if it’s accompanied by lethargy or behavior changes. It’s pretty normal for senior dogs to catch more Z’s, but if there’s a drastic shift in their sleep patterns, it’s worth a vet check.
There are many reasons why Chihuahuas sleep so much, so don’t be too worried if they spend a lot of time napping.
Many reasons are due to lifestyle and age, but some reasons are medical, so it’s best to consult your vet if you have any doubts.