These little, trembling, and loving balls of fur are indeed something. They might not be the most good-looking breed out there. Let’s get one thing out of the way. Chihuahuas sleep a lot. But, they certainly make up for it in charm and uniqueness.
Just pronouncing their breed can lift you in a heartbeat, even when they do nothing but sleep. Skeptical? Come on, repeat after me:
Did you feel that? You can’t finish saying that word without feeling a tug of joy inside. One more time:
You’re probably smiling by now, and who could blame you? Chihuahuas have created a cult following over the past years, not because of their dullness and lack of charm, but quite the opposite.
Their peculiarity makes people proud of owning a Chihuahua. Just think about it: they’re the smallest dog breed out there, have the widest variety of colors, excellent watchdogs, and know how to love their owners like no other breed.
Also, they are enthusiastic sleepers. Dogs sleep 50 percent of the time on average (up to 12 hours), but Chihuahuas sleep for up to 14 or 18 hours daily. Of course, they compensate for that downtime by being extra active in their awake time, but that’s one more reason to love them.
If your Chihuahua sleeps like a champ, you might be wondering why? I did too! When I first got mine, I asked why it lay around all day instead of being as zippy as I thought it would be. Well, I did my research, and it turns out Chihuahuas might be overly sleepy for several reasons:
- They get lots of physical activity
- They’re sick
- It’s their characteristic behavior
Most times, it will be natural that your Chihuahua sleeps seamlessly through the day, but other times, a change in their sleeping habits might be a sign that something is wrong with them. So it’s essential to stay informed of the most common causes of their prolonged sleep routine and how to deal with emergent issues. Let’s begin.
High Physical Activity
While most dogs sleep 12 hours a day, Chihuahuas take it to another level by sleeping 14 to 18 hours daily. And if you are unfamiliar with the breed, this might sound unusual. “Aren’t Chihuahuas supposed to be highly active, yappy, and overly trembling?”
Well, yes, they are. That’s precisely one of the main reasons they sleep so much, and Chihuahua puppies have even been reported to sleep up to 20 hours daily. Again, the reason is mainly that Chihuahua puppies are a little more active than the average.
We tend to feel lethargic when we have an exhausting day at work. So we arrange our time to sleep enough at night to get our energies back for the coming day. Dogs do this more naturally; they instinctively rest whenever they drain their energy a bit and immediately find time to recover for the next play session.
If you own a highly active Chihuahua, it’s expected that they sleep a lot; there is no reason to be concerned at all. On the contrary, just let them be if you see them sleeping.
The Age Factor
A dog’s age plays a crucial role in its sleeping habits. As mentioned, Chihuahua puppies are more active than most other breeds’ puppies, hence their 18 to 20-hour sleep marathons.
On the other hand, older dogs also tend to slumber for more extended periods than younger dogs. Chihuahuas sleep around 14 hours on average but don’t be surprised if your elderly Chihuahua goes well past 16 hours of sleep time a day.
As dog’s age, they tend to become wise about regulating their awake and sleeping hours. They understand that rest is necessary and nap throughout the day more often than when they were younger.
They also tend to sleep more deeply than before. It’s normal to walk up to an elderly dog and call its name to witness as they keep on sleeping, utterly oblivious of your presence. This happens because dogs tend to go deaf as they age, and sometimes they’ll be unable to hear you while sleeping.
It’s worth pointing out that dogs have much lighter Sleep than humans. While some of us need a loud sound or a strong-enough nudge to jolt us awake, for dogs, just sensing your presence might suffice to leap up from bed and start playing with enthusiasm.
This is because dogs have been hardwired for thousands of years to stay alert. Luckily, we can use this to our advantage. What I mean is, with humans, you need to be careful; we are sensitive to having our Sleep disrupted. On the other hand, dogs can be awakened at any time and be in their best mood to enjoy life to the fullest.
In other words, if you see your Chihuahua sleep more than usual, it’s terrific. It’s written in their genes; they are supposed to.
Your Chihuahua is Bored
Dogs sniff, walk and look around constantly in search of stimuli. Like humans, they enjoy entertainment through play, exciting discoveries, or moving company. Their brains need something that piques their interest to feel motivated to engage in an activity, so it’s hardly surprising that your Chihuahua sleeps more than usual if there is nothing to do.
While Chihuahuas are highly physical creatures, they need interaction to get in the mood for playing. When there is no one around and there’s little to do, they turn to rest to kill time and wait for something fun to happen.
Next time you ask yourself, “Why do Chihuahuas sleep so much?” your canine companion might need some interaction and attention. Ensure you spend enough time with them and give them all the love and play they deserve.
You might also consider boredom a powerful trigger to undesirable habits like chewing and barking, especially if you have a Chihuahua puppy. Just like humans, dogs need mental and physical stimuli to stay physically and mentally healthy.
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It’s Their Characteristic Behavior
If you are a proud Chihuahua owner, you won’t be surprised when I say they are a particularly quirky breed. It’s only that they are the smallest dog breed–small enough to carry around in your purse–making them quite ‘portable.’ Or that they are the breed with the widest variety of colors and combinations—ranging from beige, brown, and chocolate to mixed, white, red and black—Chihuahuas also sleep quite a lot.
If you are a new Chihuahua owner and are puzzled or even worried at the Chihuahua sleeping way, take a sigh of relief cause it’s all fine; it’s part of who they are.
Your Chihuahua Might Be Ill
By this point, you might think, “Hey, I have nothing to worry about.” Well, I wouldn’t say you do, but you should keep an eye open for any irregularities in your Chihuahua’s sleeping habits as it can be a sign of illness.
Although Chihuahuas sleep a lot–and are very good at it–a sudden change in their sleeping pattern could manifest something as mild as joint injury or as severe as cancer or diabetes.
As dog owners, weakness and lethargy are symptoms we must look for. Like humans, dogs can suffer from a wide variety of diseases. Still, the ones that usually cause your dog to be unusually lethargic and weak are infections—including parvovirus, leptospirosis, distemper, kennel cough, and heartworm disease; metabolic and organic diseases—like heart problems, liver problems, diabetes, and hypoglycemia.
Some examples are:
- Chronic diarrhea
It’s the Medication
When your Chihuahua sleeps more than usual, you can often blame it on their medication. There is a plethora of medicine that could be causing your dog to become overly sleepy.
Most often, veterinarians alert owners of any medication’s side effects, which is an uncommon scenario.
It would help if you kept in mind that self-medicating your dog is strongly advised against and potentially harmful to your dog. Additionally, avoid giving your dog any human medications such as Ibuprofen, as many are toxic to pets and can lead to lethargy, weakness, and even death.
It’s best to stay on the safe side and consult a professional if our Chihuahuas display any signs of disease.
How much Sleep Does a Chihuahua Need?
Chihuahuas sleep most of the time, and while most breeds are fine with 12 to 14 hours of sleep every day, Chihuahuas usually sleep from 14 up to 18 hours a day. When they are puppies, they are more active than in any other period of their lives; they make up for all that exhausting playtime by sleeping even more! Some puppy Chihuahuas have been reported to sleep up to 20 hours.
Chihuahuas also tend to sleep more when they are old, and their sleep periods usually range from 16 to 18 hours a day.
Why Do Chihuahuas Sleep Under The Covers?
Like any other breed, Chihuahuas’ ancestors lived in packs of their kind. And their old ways of living are embedded in their genetics. No wonder why they are such loving companions.
In the past, Chihuahuas slept with their packs closely snug next to each other, often in dens or tight and warm places. Your Chihuahua’s instinct to burrow in the covers is their way of feeling safe, friendly, and protected. Also, the pressure from the body’s weight soothes the nervous system, much like a hug.
Why Do Chihuahuas Sleep Between Your Legs?
When your Chihuahua sleeps between or on your legs, it could be for various reasons. Chihuahuas are a very affectionate and loving breed, including in their sleeping habits.
It’s no surprise that your Chihuahua leaps up and snuggles between your legs when sitting on the couch or lying in bed. To clear all your doubts about your dog’s lovely sleeping habit, here are the top 5 reasons why Chihuahuas sleep between your legs:
They Are Afraid
Whenever there is a strange sound. Perhaps your upstairs neighbors are receiving guests, thunder during a storm, or a barking dog outside. Your Chihuahua might become extra shaky and panicky, resorting to security in the comfort of your legs.
Your legs and thighs represent a quiet and comfy place where they can feel your warmth and smell your scent; instinctively, dogs know that the closer they are to their pack leader (you), the safer they will be.
They Want to Protect You
Chihuahuas are excellent watchdogs; they are constantly alert for threats and intruders and would do anything to keep their own safe—even though it isn’t much considering their size (let’s face it, they’re harmlessly small). Whenever you are in the presence of a stranger (people or dogs,) they might turn their territoriality on and display protective behavior like barking, growling, and bare teeth.
In some cases, they prefer to do it from a place where they know they will be supported, and that place is often between or on your legs.
It’s An Ancestral Instinct
Chihuahua’s ancestors used to live in packs and usually slept snuggled up close to each other in safe and secluded places like dens or burrows. Felling the company of their pack mates gave them a sense of security, which was particularly comforting while sleeping—a moment of high vulnerability.
When your Chihuahua sleeps between your legs, they answer this ancestral instinct’s call:” Stay close to your pack while you sleep; it’s safer.”
To Show Affection
Few of you will disagree when I say no other breed loves their owners like Chihuahuas. Some might say they are clingy; others say they are overly attached at times, but I think they know how to love.
If your Chihuahua has the habit of sleeping on or between your legs at any time of the day, it might just be their way of saying, “I love you.” When you have a Chihuahua, expect to get tons of love and quality company throughout the day, that’s just the Chihuahua way
“They are big, cushy, soft, warm, and smell nice; what’s not to love about them.” That’s what your dog might say about your legs. When your Chihuahua gets nice and comfy between your legs for an evening or afternoon snooze, comfort will likely be one of their primary motivations.
Dogs love comfy sleeping spots like beds, couches, carpets, clothes, etc. But the company of those they love takes comfort and pleasure to another level.
So – Do Chihuahuas Sleep a Lot?
As mentioned earlier, in most cases, you won’t need to worry one little bit if your Chihuahua sleeps most of the time; it’s what they do; it’s a characteristic of their breed. Age and lack of excess physical activity are also contributing factors.
However, it would help if you kept an eye open for sudden changes in their sleeping habits. It could be a sign that your dog is ill, injured, or simply under the effect of medication. If this is the case with your fur baby, consult a veterinarian immediately.