Why Do Chihuahuas Sleep So Much? 10 Reasons Explained!

Petlity is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. See our ethics statement.

Chihuahuas sleep a LOT. For new pet parents, the amount of time these precious little pups sleep can be concerning.

Although our minds often jump to the worst-case scenarios, it’s important to remember that there are plenty of benign reasons why your Chihuahua is sleeping so much.

Before we list ten reasons why your dog is sleeping so much, it is helpful to understand just how much sleep is normal for a Chihuahua.

Adult Chihuahuas sleep between 14 and 18 hours every single day. That means your dog might only be awake 6 to 10 hours each day!

dog paw illustration

Why Chihuahuas Sleep So Much

The following are ten reasons why your Chihuahua is sleeping so much, along with some information about when to talk to your dog’s veterinarian about their sleepiness.

  1. Normal rythm
  2. High energy
  3. Boredom
  4. Growth period
  5. Anxiety
  6. Poor nutrition
  7. Obesity
  8. Hunger
  9. Infection
  10. Medical problem

It’s part of their normal rhythm

If your Chihuahua is sleeping for 14 to 18 hours a day, this is completely normal! Chihuahuas, just like Frenchies, love to sleep and lounge about, so it’s not unusual to find them sleeping most of the time.

Once you settle into a routine with your Chihuahua, you should have a pretty good idea of what times she’s awake and what times she’s asleep.

Just like human sleep cycles can differ, your Chihuahua’s sleep schedule may change for a variety of reasons. However, their sleeping and waking will likely remain fairly consistent over time.

You only really need to worry about how much your Chihuahua is sleeping if she’s sleeping at a time she’d normally be awake. This could be a sign that your pup has a problem, such as illness or depression.

They wear themselves out during play

Chihuahuas are very energetic dogs. They usually love spending time playing with their humans, especially if they’re doing an activity they love. In fact, most Chihuahuas prefer to use the majority of their waking hours for play.

Chihuahua running

After you spend time playing with your Chihuahua, it’s normal for them to be exhausted afterward.

They often take long naps after periods of high exertion, such as playtime with their people. These high-energy dogs need plenty of sleep and proper nutrition to maintain that level of energy.

If they played harder or longer than usual, you might notice your Chihuahua take a longer nap. As long as you can trace their exhaustion back to a period of high exertion, you don’t have to worry. 

They’re bored

Your Chihuahua might spend more time asleep if he’s bored. Chihuahuas need both physical and mental stimulation.

If they don’t have enough to keep themselves busy, they may nap to pass the time. When you leave your Chihuahua home alone, he needs enough to keep him entertained during your hours apart.

Bored chihuahua

You are the most entertaining thing in your Chihuahua’s life. When you spend long hours away from home, they may be bored. This can even happen when you leave plenty of toys and activities behind.

There are several things you can do to fight your dog’s boredom when you’re away:

  • Leave him at a doggy daycare.
  • Drop him off at a neighbor or relative’s house, as long as it’s a person he trusts.
  • Hire someone to stop by and play with your dog while you’re away.

If your Chihuahua isn’t getting enough stimulation, he might spend longer periods of time asleep. This extra sleep may cause him to become even more fatigued, which creates a vicious cycle.

If your Chihuahua is sleeping more than usual over a period of days, it may be a sign that something else is wrong.

They sleep more when they’re puppies and seniors

Your Chihuahua might sleep more during the puppy and senior stages. Chihuahua puppies may exert even more energy during play, causing them to spend even more time sleeping. Ideally, your Chihuahua will require less sleep as he enters adulthood.

However, aging Chihuahuas also need extra sleep. Although your aging dog will still enjoy playing, he might be more inclined to sleep throughout the entire day. In fact, he might need a push from you to get up and exercise.

As your dog ages, it’s important to monitor his diet, behavior, and physical health. Lethargy is a common symptom of many things, although increased sleepiness can be a normal part of your dog’s aging process.

If your Chihuahua stops eating or has any other physical symptoms of illness, you should talk to your dog’s veterinarian.

Check this out: 10 Reasons why Chihuahuas are so needy

There may be an underlying psychological issue

Anxiety, stress, and depression may all contribute to increased sleepiness in your Chihuahua. Changes in your schedule, time spent in isolation, and loud noises may all contribute to your dog’s anxiety.

Anxious chihuahua

Increased sleepiness may be a sign of a psychological issue, especially if it’s accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Shivering or shaking
  • Frequent lip-licking
  • Failure to make eye contact
  • Increased urination
  • Showing more whites in the eye

In some cases, your Chihuahua will cope with minor anxiety by taking a nap and sleeping it off. This is the case if it’s a short-term disruption, such as the sound of fireworks on the Fourth of July. When your dog wakes up, he’s likely to be back to normal.

However, prolonged psychological stress may cause your Chihuahua to spend even more time asleep. If your Chihuahua continues to show signs of stress, talk to his veterinarian to find out how to treat his anxiety.

They aren’t getting enough nutrition from their food

The wrong food may cause increased sleepiness in your Chihuahua. One of the biggest offenders is human food. While some human foods can be safely fed to your dog, there are some human foods that may cause them harm.

If your dog eats any of the following, she may experience increased sleepiness:

  • Avocado (which is toxic to dogs, causing them to struggle with breathing)
  • Coffee or other caffeinated drinks (can cause vomiting and diarrhea, which leads to fatigue)
  • Xylitol, an artificial sweetener (which can make your Chihuahua depressed and weak from low blood sugar levels)
  • Alcohol or yeasty dough (can cause depression and fatigue, along with vomiting)

Even relatively safe foods may make your Chihuahua sleep more, just like eating certain things can make you tired.

Make sure that anything your Chihuahua consumes is both safe and beneficial to your pup’s health. Prolonged sleepiness may be a sign that your dog’s diet should be changed.

Your Chihuahua is overweight

When Chihuahuas are overweight, they may spend more time asleep. Decreasing your dog’s caloric intake and increasing exercise is a good way to help them lose weight.

In addition to making your dog sleep more, too much weight can cause a host of other health problems.

As your Chihuahua loses that extra weight, he should have more energy for playtime. If their energy does not increase after losing weight, you should have a talk with your dog’s veterinarian.

Your Chihuahua isn’t getting enough food

If your Chihuahua is overweight, you might put her on a diet. However, prolonged periods of time with insufficient nutrients may make your dog even more tired. They need a certain amount of food to sustain the energy used for their high-energy play.

Hungry chihuahua

Hunger may be the cause of your Chihuahua’s increased sleepiness, especially if any of the following are true:

  • She loses interest in things and won’t play or exercise.
  • She seems to lack the energy to engage with you, even in low-energy activities.
  • She loses control over her bladder and bowels.
  • She has a strange breathing pattern while she sleeps.

These symptoms may also be signs of serious illness. If your dog is struggling to eat enough to maintain regular activity, talk to your veterinarian. Your dog’s veterinarian will be able to help you create a custom diet plan to help meet your pup’s needs.

Your Chihuahua has a viral or bacterial infection

Infections may cause your Chihuahua to sleep more than normal. If your dog’s excess sleepiness is a new symptom, it may be a sign that he has an infection.

Chihuahua sick with infection

There are two main viral infections that affect dogs:

  • Parvovirus: This is an infection that puppies may get from other puppies. Symptoms include fever, lethargy, dehydration, weight loss, bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and fatigue.
  • Trachea Bronchitis: This respiratory infection attacks your dog’s lungs, causing them to cough. In addition to cough, symptoms include vomiting, nausea, nasal congestion, and shortness of breath.

If you suspect your Chihuahua has either of these viral infections, it’s important to get medical care immediately. Prompt treatment is essential to help your dog fight viral infections. 

Bacterial infections also cause increased sleepiness in Chihuahuas. Your pup may have a bacterial infection if he’s experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased thirst
  • Inflammation in the eye
  • Frequent urination
  • Shivering, even in warm weather
  • Yellowing of the skin

Just like viral infections, bacterial infections require prompt treatment. If you suspect your dog could have an infection of any kind, reach out to your dog’s veterinarian.

There’s a more serious illness causing increased sleepiness

No one wants to think about their beloved pet getting sick. Unfortunately, Chihuahuas may develop serious and life-threatening illnesses.

Many illnesses can cause increased sleepiness, so it’s important to note any time your pup is sleeping longer than usual (that isn’t explained by one of the reasons above).

chihuahua illness

There are a number of illnesses that may affect Chihuahuas:

  • Epilepsy
  • Thyroid problems
  • Legg-Perthes disease (a blood disease that contributes to bone death)
  • Heart conditions
  • Blood conditions
  • Cancer

You should always contact your dog’s veterinarian when you see any major changes in his habits, especially if they don’t resolve within a day or two.

If your dog’s sleepiness doesn’t appear to have any other cause, an underlying condition may be the problem.

dog paws illustration

Wrap-Up: Why Do Chihuahuas Sleep So Much

There you have it, ten reasons why your Chihuahua is sleeping so much. The amount of time Chihuahuas sleep can be concerning for any dog owner.

We hope this guide can ease your mind and make you less worried about your Chihuahua’s sleep behavior.

Photo of author
Lisemaine is a dog lover. She currently owns a Frenchie and enjoys working with and training her. She'll share her best tips with you to keep your dog happy, healthy, and active.

Leave a Comment