Why Do Chihuahuas Sleep SO Much?

“It’s a dog’s life” is a phrase that rings all too true when it comes to watching how much sleep Chihuahuas get. And let’s face it—every Chihuahua owner has looked longingly at their dozing pooch as they’re working hard to keep up with the house and bills.

But it might get you wondering—why do Chihuahuas sleep so much? And is it something you should be concerned about?

why do Chihuahuas sleep so much
Why do Chihuahuas sleep so much?

Chihuahuas sleep a lot for many reasons, ranging from age to activity level and illness. I’ll walk you through all these aspects and more while your Chihuahua takes a snooze next to you.

The Average Chihuahua Sleep Time

Chihuahuas need an average of 12 to 15 hours of sleep per day. If you’re trying to calculate that, let me help you out. That equates to your Chihuahua being awake for as little as nine hours daily.

However, in some cases, it’s healthy for a Chihuahua to get even more sleep than this, especially for puppies, older dogs, and if your Chihuahua is ill.

Chihuahua in a blanket
Chihuahua sleeping with a blanket.

Six Reasons Why Chihuahuas Sleep So Much

It’s time to cuddle up with your sleeping Chihuahua and learn about what’s making them tired. The good news is that it’s unlikely it has to do with poor health.

1. They’re Genuinely Tired

When considering the question, “Why do Chihuahuas sleep so much?” the obvious answer is often the right one—they’re simply tired.

It takes more work being a small dog than you might imagine. When comparing metabolism by weight, studies show that small dogs like Chihuahuas have a higher metabolic rate than larger dogs. So, they burn energy faster, meaning they need frequent snoozes to restore it.

Of course, a Chihuahua’s tiredness deals with a lot more than the metabolic rate. If they exercise a lot, they’ll naturally need to sleep more. Furthermore, Chihuahuas are already high-energy dogs and spend a lot of energy getting excited to see you (and perhaps barking at your neighbor).

tired and sleepy Chihuahua
A tired and sleepy Chihuahua.

2. They’re At an Age Where They Need Extra Sleep

Chihuahuas go through two life stages when they need more sleep than usual.

Puppy Chihuahuas

Just like human babies, Chihuahua puppies sleep a lot. So, you can expect a newborn puppy to need anywhere from 18 – 20 hours of sleep.

Getting such large amounts of sleep is crucial for Chihuahua puppies because it allows them to properly develop their central nervous system, allow time for muscles to repair and grow, and strengthen their brain and immune systems.

For these reasons, it’s essential to let your Chihuahua puppy sleep. As they get bigger, they’ll stay awake for longer periods, moving from 30 minutes to more than two hours at a time.

new-born Chihuahuas
Newly-born Chihuahuas in a blanket.

Senior Chihuahuas

Many senior Chihuahuas circle back to a puppy-like state regarding their sleep needs. It’s not uncommon for older Chihuahuas to sleep for 18 – 20 hours daily. That said, they might rest for as “little” as 14 – 15 hours.

Since small dogs live longer than large dogs, most Chihuahuas reach their senior years at around seven to eight. 

Remember that your Chihuahua may develop arthritis or other joint pain as they age. So, it’s helpful to offer them an orthopedic dog bed to make their naps more comfortable.

old Chihuahua sleeping
Old Chihuahua sleeps on the floor.

3. They’re Bored

I know it can be difficult, but try to picture life before smartphones and social media. Nowadays, you probably scroll through social media from your bed or couch when you’re bored, but in pre-social media days, you may have opted for a nap.

Chihuahuas are similar. If you’re away from home or if there isn’t anything exciting going on, they may choose to sleep out of pure boredom

The good news is that sleeping is a destruction-free way for Chihuahuas to wait out their boredom. In other cases, a dog might tear up items in your home. Although it’s impossible to prevent your Chihuahua from never getting bored, offering them enough exercise, toys, and mental stimulation each day is crucial to their wellbeing.

Chihuahua sleeps on couch
The Chihuahua sleeps on a couch.

4. It’s in Their Nature

Chihuahuas are a bit of an oxymoron in that they’re a high-energy breed and excellent lapdogs. In fact, breeders designed both their size and their loyal personalities so that they love to bask in a human’s lap.

So, if you’re wondering, “Why do Chihuahuas sleep so much?” the answer might be because of you. 

If you’re frequently on the sofa, or if you’re a person with limited mobility, your Chihuahua is likely happily sleeping as a way to be close to you.

Chihuahua and owner sleep
The Chihuahua and owner sleep on the sofa together.

5. They Have Canine Anxiety

Anxiety is as real a problem for Chihuahuas as it is for humans. Part of the reason could be that these dogs are just so small—almost everything is bigger than them, causing them to have to put up a tough fight-or-flight type of behavior.

But Chihuahuas are also fiercely loyal to their owners. So, your Chihuahua may have anxiety when you leave home, causing them to take a long, deep nap when you return, stabilizing their world and letting them sleep in peace.

Chihuahua sleeps on blanket
Chihuahua sleeps on a blue blanket.

6. They’re Sick

There’s nothing like curling up in bed when you feel under the weather, and Chihuahuas often react to illnesses in the same way. 

Chihuahuas sometimes spend a lot of time in bed to reduce pain, tend to an upset stomach, and recover from a bout of diarrhea. 

Watching your Chihuahua’s behavior during these times is crucial because veterinary intervention might be necessary. 

Dogs have a higher average body temperature than humans, at about 101 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit. So, if you notice they’re running a fever or if there are any other signs of illness that deviate from their baseline sleeping patterns, you should take them to the vet.

Chihuahua feeling sick in the car
Chihuahua is not feeling well inside the car. Heading to the vet clinic!

When Should I Be Concerned About My Chihuahua’s Sleeping Patterns?

While Chihuahuas naturally sleep for a long time, any sudden change to how long they sleep is cause for concern.

Signs that there may be an underlying health issue relating to your Chihuahua’s excessive sleeping include:

  • Not getting up to greet you
  • Reduced energy levels
  • Lack of interest in playing
  • Signs of pain
Chihuahua stays owner's lap
A Chihuahua stays on her owner’s lap.

Offering Your Chihuahua a Comfortable Place to Sleep

Although Chihuahuas sleep a lot, they don’t sleep for as long as humans, given that nature wired them to be on the lookout for predators. 

So, it’s essential to give your Chihuahua as comfortable of a place to sleep as possible when they’re in between their waking bouts. 

Some items you can offer your Chihuahua for sleeping are a small, comfortable bed, blankets they can snuggle up with to stay warm, and a quiet place in your home. The better the sleeping arrangements for your Chihuahua, the more alert they’ll be to play and love you during their waking hours.

The Bottom Line

Why do Chihuahuas sleep so much? More often than not, there’s nothing to worry about when your Chihuahua sleeps a lot. Age, boredom, and expended energy are common reasons, and Chihuahuas naturally require more sleep than humans.

Nevertheless, it’s important to watch their sleeping patterns to see if there’s a sudden deviation from normal. If so, I recommend taking your Chihuahua to the vet for peace of mind.