The Shih Tzu is a beautiful, affectionate, and playful breed that’s been revered for centuries all over the world. They’re small dogs with big eyes and long, gorgeous coats and have one trait that’s a bit different from many other breeds; they love to sleep.
How much time do Shih Tzus spend sleeping? Shih Tzu puppies sleep approximately 4 hours more than most other puppy breeds, up to 22 hours a day. Shih Tzu adults sleep less but still require nearly 50% more sleep than the average person and several hours more each night (and each day) than the average dog.
Are you curious to find out why Shih Tzus sleep so much and which breeds have similar sleep needs? Maybe you want to know if the breed is naturally lazy or just low energy. For the answers to those and several more questions, plus tips and advice about ensuring your Shih Tzu gets enough rest, read on.
How Much Sleep Do Shih Tzus Need Each Day?
Adult Shih Tzus need between 8 and 9 hours of sleep each night and take several naps during the day. When you put their nighttime and daytime napping together, the average Shih Tzu sleeps about 13.5 hours per day, but some can sleep even longer.
What Can Affect the Number of Hours a Shih Tzu Sleeps?
Several factors can affect the number of hours a Shih Tzu will sleep at night and during the day. One factor that impacts their sleep the most is the amount of activity a Shih Tzu receives. If you’re with your Shih Tzu running around, playing, and interacting a lot, they will sleep less during the day because they’re staying active. On the other hand, if you’re gone most of the day, and your Shih Tzu has nothing and nobody to keep them occupied, they will sleep more as they nap the day away.
Why Do Shih Tzus Sleep So Much?
There are several reasons why Shih Tzus sleep a lot, most of which are 100% normal. Some reasons, however, might require veterinary intervention. We’ve listed the most important reasons why your Shih Tzu likes their naps so much below.
1. Excessive Exercise
One reason your Shih Tzu might be sleeping a lot is that, during the day, they’re engaged in lots of activity. Due to their brachycephalic (pushed-in) faces, most Shih Tzus have at least some difficulty breathing. The combination of activity and difficulty breathing can exhaust even the youngest and most energetic Shih Tzu and cause them to sleep more than usual.
2. Their Brains and Mind Are Hard at Work
One interesting reason Shih Tzus sleep a lot is that, when sleeping, their body and mind are hard at work absorbing memories and storing them. Also, while sleeping, a Shih Tzu’s brain prepares for the next day’s learning, including new skills, phrases, and tricks.
3. Your Shih Tzu Has Anxiety
Many Shih Tzus suffer from separation anxiety and have a hard time dealing with being alone. If your Shih Tzu is alone during the day, separation and other types of anxiety can overwhelm their nervous system and cause them to sleep more than usual.
3. Depression or Sadness
A depressed or sad Shih Tzu will deal with their depression and sadness by sleeping more hours during the day and night. Ironically, depression and sadness can also cause your Shih Tzu to sleep fewer hours.
4. Your Shih Tzu Is a Senior
All dogs sleep more as they age, and Shih Tzus are no exception. The older they are, the more hours your Shih Tzu will sleep because their body needs more time to regenerate and heal.
5. You’re Overfeeding Your Shih Tzu
A Shih Tzu fed too much kibble or snacks has the propensity to become obese. Obese dogs, even little obese dogs, tend to sleep longer.
6. It’s a Side-Effect of Medication or Allergies
If you’ve been medicating your Shih Tzu for a health issue, there’s a good chance they will either sleep longer or, sometimes, fewer hours. The same can be said for allergic reactions, which may come from dog shampoos, food, parasites, and pollen.
Should Your Shih Tzu Sleep in Bed with You?
While we could debate the pros and cons of letting your Shih Tzu sleep in bed with you all day, most dog trainers recommend you don’t. One reason is that, since they’re small dogs, there’s a genuine risk of your Shih Tzu being injured during the night if you roll over on them or knock them off your bed.
Another reason is that once they start sleeping with you, it’s extremely difficult to train a Shih Tzu not to. Indeed, most Shih Tzu owners will tell you that it’s practically impossible to convince a Shih Tzu to sleep outside your bed once they’ve become accustomed to sleeping with you.
Lastly, sleeping with any dog, including a Shih Tzu, can cause you to get a poor night’s rest. Many Shih Tzus snore loudly, kick, and move around at night. If you’re a light sleeper, this can keep you wide awake.
Do Other Breeds Sleep as Much as the Shih Tzu?
Shih Tzus aren’t the only breed that sleeps a lot. Over a dozen breeds sleep excessively, with one interesting twist; most are large or even massive dog breeds.
How to Ensure Your Shih Tzu Gets the Correct Amount of Sleep
If you worry your Shih Tzu is getting too much, or too little, sleep, you’ll be glad to know there are several things you can do to help get its sleep schedule back on track.
Shih Tzus sleep more than many other breeds. In most cases, it’s 100% normal for your Shih Tzu to sleep many hours, especially if it’s a puppy. Senior dogs and those with medical issues also tend to sleep longer, but ironically, some sleep fewer hours.
If you believe your Shih Tzu is sleeping too few or too many hours, your best bet is to talk to your veterinarian. They can tell you if your Shih Tzu is healthy or has a health condition affecting their sleep that needs to be treated. Treat Shih Tzu with kindness and affection, and they’ll have sweet dreams when they do.
Featured Image Credit: Edyta Stawiarska, Pixabay