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Why Does Shih Tzu Sleep So Much?

by Pawsome Tips
Why does Shih Tzu sleep so much

‍Are you curious why does Shih Tzu sleep so much? We have the answers! In this article, we’ll unveil the mystery behind the sleeping habits of Shih Tzus and help you understand why they seem to be sleeping all the time. 

Shih Tzus, known for their adorable squishy faces and silky coats, is renowned for being champion nappers. But what makes them sleep so much? Is it a regular part of their breed or something else? We’ll explore the reasons behind their extended snooze sessions and shed light on their unique sleep patterns.

The average sleep requirements of Shih Tzus

Shih Tzus are known for their love of sleep, but how much shut-eye do they need? On average, Shih Tzus sleeps about 12 to 16 hours daily. This may seem like a lot compared to other dog breeds, but it is perfectly normal for Shih Tzus. 

Their sleep requirements are influenced by various factors such as age, health, and activity level. Puppies and older Shih Tzus tend to sleep more than adult dogs, while energetic and active Shih Tzus may nap less than their more sedentary counterparts.

It’s important to note that the 12 to 16 hours of sleep is not continuous. 

Like humans, Shih Tzus experience sleep cycles throughout the day and night. They alternate between periods of deep sleep and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep when dreaming occurs. Understanding these sleep cycles is essential in providing the right environment and care for your furry friend.

Factors that influence the sleep patterns of Shih Tzus

Several factors can influence the sleep patterns of Shih Tzus. One of the primary factors is their instincts. Shih Tzus are descendants of ancient breeds that were bred to be companions. 

Their ancestors, such as the Tibetan Spaniel, were born to be indoor dogs and spent much of their time lounging in palaces and monasteries. This instinct to rest and conserve energy has been passed down through generations, contributing to their love of sleep.

Age also plays a significant role in the sleep patterns of Shih Tzus. Puppies and older dogs require more sleep than adult dogs. Puppies need plenty of rest to support their rapid growth and development, while older dogs may sleep more due to age-related factors such as decreased mobility or health issues. It’s essential to provide puppies and older Shih Tzus with a quiet and comfortable sleep environment to ensure they get the rest they need.

Additionally, health can impact a Shih Tzu’s sleep patterns. If your furry friend is experiencing a health issue, they may sleep more as their body works to heal. On the other hand, certain health conditions can disrupt sleep and cause discomfort, leading to changes in their sleep patterns. Regular visits to the veterinarian can help identify and address any underlying health issues affecting your Shih Tzu’s sleep.

Image By freepik

Why does Shih Tzu sleep so much?

To better understand why Shih Tzus sleep so much, it’s essential to delve into their sleep cycles. Like humans, dogs go through different stages of sleep, including deep sleep and REM sleep. Shih Tzus spends significant time in deep sleep, which is essential for physical and mental restoration. During this stage, their heart rate and breathing slow down, and their muscles relax.

REM sleep, also known as the dream stage, is characterized by rapid eye movements and increased brain activity. During this stage, dogs may twitch, wag their tails, or make noises as they dream. Shih Tzus spend about 10-15% of their time in REM sleep. It’s important not to disturb your Shih Tzu during this stage, as interrupting their REM sleep can leave them dizzy and disoriented.

Understanding the sleep cycles of Shih Tzus can help you create an environment that promotes quality sleep. Providing a comfortable and quiet sleep space, away from noise and distractions, can help your Shih Tzu reach and maintain deep sleep, ensuring they wake up refreshed and energized.

Common sleeping positions and behaviors of Shih Tzus

Shih Tzus have unique sleeping positions and behaviors that can give you insight into their comfort and well-being. One common position is the “ball” position, where they curl up into a tight ball with their tail wrapped around their body. This position helps them conserve body heat and makes them feel secure.

Another popular sleeping position is the “lion” position, where they lie on their belly with their front legs stretched out and their hind legs extended behind them. This position allows maximum relaxation and indicates that your Shih Tzu is at ease.

Some Shih Tzus may also exhibit pawing or digging behaviors before sleeping. This behavior is rooted in their instinct to create a comfortable sleeping spot. A soft, cozy bed or blanket can satisfy this instinct and promote restful sleep.

The importance of providing a comfortable sleep environment for Shih Tzus

Creating a comfortable sleep environment for your Shih Tzu ensures they get the quality rest they need. Start by providing a cozy bed or mat that is the right size for your dog. Shih Tzus prefer beds with raised edges or bolsters, as they give a sense of security and allow them to comfortably rest their head and neck.

Consider the location of your Shih Tzu’s sleep area. Choose a quiet spot away from high-traffic areas and free from drafts or extreme temperatures. Shih Tzus are sensitive to temperature changes, so maintaining a comfortable room temperature is essential.

In addition to a comfortable bed and location, it’s essential to establish a consistent sleep routine for your Shih Tzu. Dogs thrive on performance; having a set bedtime and wake-up time can help regulate their sleep patterns. Stick to a regular feeding schedule and avoid stimulating activities close to bedtime to promote a calm and relaxed environment.

How to establish a consistent sleep routine for your Shih Tzu

Establishing a consistent sleep routine for your Shih Tzu benefits you and your furry friend. Start by setting a regular bedtime and wake-up time. Consistency is vital, so stick to these times, even on weekends or holidays. This routine will help regulate your Shih Tzu’s internal clock and make it easier for them to fall asleep and wake up at the desired times.

Before bedtime, engage in calming activities such as a gentle walk or playtime. Avoid vigorous exercise or stimulating activities close to sleep, as this can make it harder for your Shih Tzu to wind down and relax. Instead, opt for quiet, relaxing activities that promote a sense of calm.

Create a bedtime routine that signals to your Shih Tzu that it’s time to sleep. This can include activities such as brushing their coat, giving them a bedtime snack, or providing them with a special toy or blanket. Consistency and repetition will help your Shih Tzu associate these activities with sleep and prepare them for a restful night.

why does Shih Tzu sleep so much
Adam Grabek / Unsplash

Common sleep problems in Shih Tzus and how to address them

While Shih Tzus are champion sleepers, they can still experience sleep problems. One common issue is snoring. Shih Tzus have short muzzles and can be prone to snoring due to their partially obstructed airways. If your Shih Tzu snoring is severe or accompanied by other respiratory symptoms, it’s best to consult a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.

Another common sleep problem in Shih Tzus is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep, leading to disrupted sleep patterns. If you suspect your Shih Tzu has sleep apnea, seeking veterinary care for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan is essential.

Restlessness or frequent waking during the night can also indicate discomfort or pain. If your Shih Tzu is exhibiting these behaviors, it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical conditions or distress affecting your sleep.

Tips for promoting better sleep in Shih Tzus

If you want to ensure your Shih Tzu gets the best sleep possible, here are some tips to promote better sleep:

  1. Provide a comfortable and cozy sleep environment with a suitable bed or mat.
  2. Choose a quiet and draft-free location for their sleep area.
  3. Stick to a consistent sleep routine, including bedtime and wake-up time.
  4. Engage in calming activities before bedtime to help your Shih Tzu relax.
  5. Avoid stimulating activities or exercise close to bedtime.
  6. Use white noise or a calming scent to create a soothing sleep environment.
  7. Keep your Shih Tzu’s sleeping area clean and free from allergens.

By implementing these tips, you can help your Shih Tzu get the quality sleep they need for optimal health and well-being.


In conclusion, the sleeping habits of Shih Tzus are influenced by various factors, including their instincts, age, health, and activity level. Shih Tzus are champion napers and average 12 to 16 hours of sleep daily. Understanding their sleep cycles, providing a comfortable sleep environment, and establishing a consistent sleep routine is essential in ensuring they get the quality rest they need.

While Shih Tzus may experience sleep problems such as snoring or sleep apnea, proper veterinary care can help address these issues. The tips can promote better sleep in your Shih Tzu and enhance their overall well-being.

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