Do you worry about how much your chihuahua sleeps? How much should your chihuahua sleep?

Just like humans, our dogs need good quality sleep for their overall well-being and happiness. Chihuahuas are known for their ability to rock a snooze and can appear to be deeply asleep, but then up in a nanosecond if there is a call to action.

The sleep cycle of dogs

Dogs, like many other animals, have distinct sleep cycles that alternate between two stages: Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep and Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) sleep. During NREM sleep, dogs experience deep rest and physical recovery, while REM sleep is associated with dreaming and cognitive restoration.

Average sleep hours by age and size

The amount of sleep a dog needs can vary based on factors such as age, size, and activity level. Generally, puppies and senior dogs tend to sleep more than adult dogs. On average:

Puppies (8 weeks to 1 year): 18-20 hours per day

Adult Dogs (1 to 7 years): 12-14 hours per day

Senior Dogs (8 years and older): 14-16 hours per day

Larger breeds often sleep more than smaller ones. But tiny dogs like your chihuahua can cover a lot of ground during the day and will certainly need a good rest in the daytime.

The Impact of the environment

The sleep environment can significantly affect your chihuahua’s sleep quality. Create a comfortable and quiet sleeping area away from disturbances, providing them with a cosy bed or crate where they can feel safe and secure. It is important that when asleep dogs are left alone. Waking any dog up from a deep sleep can be dangerous and children should always be taught to leave a sleeping dog alone.

Indicators of sleep deprivation

Just like humans, dogs can experience sleep deprivation, which can lead to a variety of health and behavioural issues. Being over tired can pay into reactive snappy behaviour and sleep is the time where healing takes place, allowing the parasympathetic nervous system to engage.

Active rest

Chihuahuas are high-excitement dogs and spend a lot of time in high arousal. Their ability to jump up out of a snooze at a moment’s notice means is not a deep rest. Be intentional about putting them down for a nap, use a crate, pen, or quiet room. The point is you are creating active rest, which means taking all the decisions away from them so there is nothing for them to worry about and they can have a good sleep. A covered crate is perfect for this.

When Prince and Macy get overtired and silly, barking at everything that moves or playing too rough it’s nap time.

Understanding sleep patterns

Dogs are crepuscular animals, meaning they are most active during dawn and dusk. They might take short naps throughout the day, especially after bursts of activity, but their major sleep periods typically occur at night. Sleeping from around 8pm to 8am is typical, although you may need an early toilet break.

Do dogs dream?

It is believed that, like humans, when they enter the REM stage of sleep they do dream. Observing their twitching paws, wagging tails, and soft barks during these episodes, it’s evident that they are experiencing something vivid and immersive in their dream world. Research suggests it’s also a time when dogs will process learning and consolidate memories.

Should my chihuahua sleep on my bed?

Some research has shown that humans sleep better if their dog sleeps on the bed. This is fine if that fits in with your lifestyle and what you want. But chihuahuas are small and could easily get rolled on. I had a client bitten in the face by her chihuahua when she flung her arm out, hit her dog, and woke him up from a deep sleep. It jumped up in terror and bit her. So, it is something to think about.

Our dogs sleep upstairs with us, but in their own beds which feels like a good compromise, but Prince does have the habit of sneaking up on the bed once he thinks you’ve dozed off.