When you picture in your mind some of the world’s smallest dogs, you may likely see them as forever active, jumping, running, yelping and always begging us to play.
And while it’s true that many small-breed dogs can run circles around their large-breed counterparts, the smallest of all dog breeds, the chihuahua, is also quite the prolific sleeper.
When the chihuahua is not barking, using its high-pitched tone, at the mailman or any other strange person or animal that moves, you are likely to find them curled up and catching some much-needed ZZ’s.
So why exactly do chihuahuas have such a propensity for sleeping, including the many siestas they are likely to take during daylight hours?
To answer that question, below we have outlined a number of reasons why the chihuahua, a seemingly inexhaustible dog breed, can often be found napping.
Why Do Chihuahuas Sleep So Much? A Closer Look at the Reasons
If you are a dog lover who is brand new to chihuahua ownership, it may take some time before you can truly understand your dog.
As the smallest of all the dog breeds, the chihuahua is unique in both its genetic makeup, characteristics and its behavior.
One of these behaviors is a propensity for sleeping.
Although it may initially go unnoticed, there may come a time when you discover that your new furry companion tends to sleep more than other dogs you may have encountered.
This is usually nothing to worry about; he could just be tired from restlessness on the previous night.
However, if you begin to realize that your dog is sleeping too much—for several hours during the day—it could point to the presence of one or more serious health issues—issues you will need to discuss ASAP with your family veterinarian.
To help you pinpoint the cause—or causes—of your dog’s extended sleeping pattern, keep reading below:
Your Energetic Dog Needs a Rest
Chihuahuas are naturally peppy and full of life.
When they are not sleeping, they are usually barking, running and playing at top speed.
These rapid and sprightly activity sessions can rapidly take a toll on the tiny, short-legged dog, and they may need a quick power nap to rest and retool.
Napping after a spirited morning of play is perfectly natural for any dog, particularly a dog like a chihuahua who is always in 4th gear.
Your Chihuahua Is Just Being a Chihuahua
The most common reason for your ever-sleeping chihuahua is its innate or natural tendency to sleep long hours.
According to experts on the breed, owners of a chihuahua should definitely expect a lot of napping during the day.
In addition to their nighttime slumber, the sometimes-lazy chihuahua has been known to sleep more than 6 hours on a given afternoon, although most sleep just 2-3 hours during the day.
Summer afternoons are especially popular nap times, as the chihuahua is likely to avoid the heat and instead find somewhere shady to curl up.
Of course, chihuahuas do not need to sleep this much, so if it bothers you, you can always try to occupy them by including them in your daily activities.
Chihuahuas love to go on walks and car rides, as this gives them the opportunity to engage in another innate behavior—barking and socializing with everyone they meet.
As with their human owners, when the chihuahua starts getting up in age, he/she will positively require more sleep than usual.
Older dogs are not as apt to run and play as youthful pooches.
They can begin to suffer from joint pain that makes walking and running more painful, and they are more susceptible to illnesses that cause fatigue.
There is really nothing you can or should do to stimulate your aging chihuahua.
Nobody understands the rest and sleep requirements better than your dog, so just accept that he is getting older and make sure to give him a lot of love and attention.
Lack of Engagement
One thing is certain about a chihuahua: if you have a tendency to just lay around the house during the day, perhaps watching television or surfing the internet, your dog will definitely take cues from you and will also power down.
As we mentioned above, the chihuahua is a very social animal, and when it’s not getting the attention it needs, you can expect it to sleep instead.
To ensure that your dog is not sleeping too much out of boredom and/or a lack of engagement, try making (and keeping) a daily schedule—one that reserves time each day to walk and play with your pet.
Have you ever noticed that your chihuahua tends to shake a lot, especially when meeting new people or when going to strange places?
This could be caused by stress and anxiety, conditions to which the breed is particularly prone.
Another coping mechanism they employ during stressful times is hiding.
They do this to feel a sense of safety, and after all of this shaking and hiding they may get drained and fall asleep for long periods of time.
If you think your dog is suffering from stress and/or anxiety, be sure to mention your thoughts the next time you visit the vet.
There are a number of behavioral and medical strategies that have proven very effective in the treatment of these conditions.
Illnesses, Conditions and Nutrition Deficiencies
Last but certainly not least, there are any number of physical illnesses and conditions that can cause excessive fatigue in your chihuahua.
- Cancer. Cancer is most prevalent in aged chihuahuas—over 10 years in age.
- Hypothyroidism. This condition can cause sluggishness, weight gain and severe fatigue.
- Heart problems. As your chihuahua ages, he could develop a range of problems with its heart.
- Epilepsy. Chihuahuas with epilepsy can sleep for hours after a draining seizure.
Finally, chihuahuas are very susceptible to a condition called hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar.
The breed boasts the fastest metabolic rate of any dog—a rate that can cause drops in blood sugar and severe fatigue.
To combat this, chihuahuas should eat 3-5 small meals throughout the day, rather than one or two larger meals.
A drop or two of sugary water in their water bowl can also help stabilize their blood sugar and ward off the accompanying tiredness.