What if your Shih Tzu seems to be sleeping more than usual? It’s a question we often receive here at The Puppy Mag.
I’ll discuss how many hours Shih Tzus usually sleep, what counts as excessive sleeping, the causes, and when to be concerned.
Let’s run through below everything you need to know about Shih Tzu sleep.
Understanding the Sleep Needs of a Shih Tzu
First things first, let’s establish what the “normal” amount of sleep for a Shih Tzu is.
➡️ According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), a healthy adult Shih Tzu typically sleeps between 12 to 14 hours a day.
This includes nighttime sleep and naps throughout the day. You can learn more about this in AVMA’s comprehensive guide on pet sleep.
How Many Hours Should Shih Tzus Sleep by Age
Just like humans, dogs also have different sleep needs at different stages of their lives.
- Puppies: Shih Tzu puppies are bundles of energy, but they also need a lot of sleep to support their rapid growth and development. It’s not uncommon for a puppy to sleep up to 18-20 hours a day.
- Adults: An adult Shih Tzu, which is typically classified as a dog between 1 to 10 years old, usually sleeps between 12 to 14 hours a day. This includes both nighttime sleep and naps during the day.
- Seniors: Senior Shih Tzus, usually 10 years and older, may sleep a bit more than adults due to decreased energy levels. A healthy senior Shih Tzu might sleep around 14-16 hours a day.
So, if your Shih Tzu is sleeping within these ranges, there’s probably no need to worry. But if your pup is consistently sleeping more than these guidelines, it could indicate a health issue.
Related: Shih Tzu Snoring: When To be Worried
Is Your Shih Tzu Sleeping Too Much?
Excessive sleeping in a Shih Tzu, or any dog for that matter, typically refers to sleep that goes beyond what is considered normal for their age group.
➡️ For a Shih Tzu, excessive sleep could be:
- Puppies: If they’re sleeping more than 20 hours a day.
- Adults: If they’re sleeping more than 16 hours a day.
- Seniors: If they’re sleeping more than 18 hours a day.
Causes of Excessive Sleeping in Shih Tzus
➡️ Five main causes of excessive sleeping in Shih Tzus include:
- Health problems: Certain medical conditions like hypothyroidism, heart disease, or diabetes can make your Shih Tzu sleep more.
- Obesity: Overweight dogs often sleep more due to decreased energy levels and potential health problems.
- Boredom or lack of stimulation: Dogs require mental and physical stimulation. Without it, they may sleep out of boredom.
- Depression or anxiety: Yes, dogs can get depressed or anxious too, and this may result in increased sleep.
- Aging: As mentioned earlier, older dogs tend to sleep more. However, a sudden increase in sleep could still indicate a health issue.
If you think any of these issues might be affecting your Shih Tzu, I recommend reaching out to your vet.
They can provide a thorough assessment and suggest the best course of action. Check out VCA Hospitals’ guide on dog health for more details.
How to Monitor Your Shih Tzu’s Sleep
Keeping an eye on your Shih Tzu’s sleep habits can help you determine if they’re getting too much sleep.
➡️ Here are a few tips:
- Observe their sleep schedule: Are they sleeping more than the typical 12 to 14 hours?
- Check for changes in behavior: Are they less active when awake? Are they showing signs of confusion or disorientation?
- Note any changes in appetite or weight: These could be signs of a health problem that is causing excessive sleep.
If you notice any concerning changes, it’s best to contact your vet.
How to Promote Healthy Sleep Habits
While understanding the causes of excessive sleep is important, it’s equally crucial to know how to promote healthy sleep habits in your Shih Tzu.
➡️ Ways to promote healthy sleep:
- Provide regular exercise: Regular physical activity can help regulate your Shih Tzu’s sleep cycle and keep them healthy.
- Offer mental stimulation: Toys, training, and social interaction can help keep your dog’s mind sharp and prevent boredom-induced sleepiness.
- Maintain a consistent schedule: Keeping a regular schedule for feeding, exercise, and sleep can help regulate your Shih Tzu’s internal clock.
- Offer a comfortable sleeping environment: A quiet, dark, and comfy space is key to good quality sleep. Can Shih Tzus sleep in the dark and alone?
Remember, a balanced diet is also essential for your Shih Tzu’s overall health and sleep quality. You can find more information about a healthy diet for your Shih Tzu in RSPCA’s guide to feeding dogs.
What Experts Say
Renowned pet expert Dr. Marty Becker shares that “If your Shih Tzu’s sleep habits change suddenly or gradually over time, it’s important to consult with your vet.
This could be a sign of an underlying health problem that needs to be addressed.”
In addition, Dr. Becker emphasizes the importance of mental and physical stimulation to prevent excessive sleep due to boredom or lack of stimulation. You can read more about his views on this at PetMD.
When to See a Vet
While it’s normal for Shih Tzus to have days where they sleep a little more or less than usual, consistent over-sleeping could be a sign of a health issue.
If your Shih Tzu is sleeping excessively and showing other concerning symptoms such as loss of appetite, weight changes, or behavioral changes, it’s time to consult your vet.
Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you’re in doubt, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional. Your Shih Tzu’s health and happiness are worth it!
In summary, while Shih Tzus do need a good amount of sleep, excessive sleeping could indicate a problem.
Keep an eye on their sleep habits, provide them with ample exercise and mental stimulation, and don’t hesitate to consult a vet if you notice any concerning changes. After all, as a Shih Tzu parent, your pup’s wellbeing is your top priority!
Remember, every Shih Tzu is unique. What works for one might not work for another. So, always pay close attention to your dog’s individual needs and behaviors. Together, you and your Shih Tzu can enjoy many happy, healthy years!