Written by 9:25 am Training and Behavior

Ultimate Guide on Why Do Shih Tzus Sleep so Much?

why do shih tzu so much

Why Do Shih Tzus Sleep so Much? This breed’s tendency to sleep a lot can be attributed to their nature as companion dogs. Shih Tzus thrive on human interaction and can become tired from socializing and playing. Many prospective owners of this cute little dog ask this question. The answer is difficult because it depends on the Shih Tzu and its environment, but in general, these dogs do get plenty of rest during the day.

Shih Tzu sleep hours per day ?

Before Shih Tzu sleeps hours per day, age must be taken into consideration when determining the ideal number of hours of sleep for a Shih Tzu.Shih Tzus, like most dogs, require a significant amount of sleep to stay healthy and happy. On average, a Shih Tzu will sleep around 12 to 16 hours per day.

Other elements will come into play, but for now, let’s talk about the Shih Tzu sleeping habits of a healthy Shih Tzu in the right environment (comfortable sleep bed, low noise level, etc.).

(19–22 hours for newborn pups): Does Shih Tzu sleep a lot? no It’s normal for brand-new pups to sleep most of the time, up to 22 hours. They only wake up every two hours or so to nurse from their dam and then quickly fall back asleep. 3 to 7-week-old pups may sleep anywhere from 19 to 21 hours, depending on whether they are weaning off or eating solid food.

(16 to 20 hours for Shih Tzu puppies under one year old): Puppies frequently experience energy bursts followed by sudden exhaustion and sleep wherever they land. Although owners want their Shih Tzu to sleep through the night, disrupted sleep habits are normal, with some Shih Tzu sleeping more during the day. Typically, a Shih Tzu puppy sleeps 16 to 20 hours within a 24-hour period, but this decreases over the first year as they transition to nighttime sleeping. We’ll discuss strategies to promote better sleep habits for those who have puppies that get excited at night.

(For adult Shih Tzus, it takes 12 to 16 hours.) By promoting nighttime sleep and creating a conducive environment for rest, a Shih Tzu over one year old will typically sleep 12 to 16 hours a day, mostly at night. How much an adult moves around during the day also affects how long they sleep. Active dogs tend to sleep less during the day, leading to better nighttime rest, whereas less stimulated dogs may nap more, impacting their nighttime sleep.

(Adult Shih Tzus: 14 to 19 hours): Older dogs, especially those that are over 10 years old, often need more rest to feel better. Even though they need more sleep, it’s important to keep up daily exercise, like going for walks, and social contact to keep them busy. Older dogs may have irregular sleep habits, waking up at night to go on bathroom trips or to change their position for comfort.

Why Do Shih Tzu Sleep so Much : 11 Reasons

Revered for their captivating presence and loyal devotion, Shih Tzus are notorious for their productive sleep. As we delve into the multifaceted aspects of their comprehensive sleep, we uncover complex factors that each play a central role in shaping their unique sleep dynamics.

Exploring 11 compelling reasons behind their seemingly endless quest for rest. , we aim to provide comprehensive information. guidelines to optimize our Shih Tzu’s sleeping environment and improve their overall well-being..

1- Developmental Stages

Newborn Shih Tzus, like many other puppies, require copious amounts of sleep to support their growth and development. During their initial weeks of life, puppies undergo rapid brain maturation, necessitating extended periods of rest. By six months of age, Shih Tzus begin transitioning towards adult sleep patterns, although they continue to require more sleep than humans.

2- Activity Levels

The amount of sleep a Shih Tzu receives is directly related to their activity levels. Highly energetic dogs tend to expend more calories and burn off steam, resulting in fewer hours spent asleep. Conversely, dogs with a more leisurely lifestyle may opt for additional downtime, translating into increased shuteye.

3- Sleep Cycles

Like humans, Shih Tzus cycle through distinct phases of sleep, including non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Unlike us, though, Shih Tzus have shorter REM sleep periods, making up roughly half of their total sleep duration.

4- Brachycephaly

Brachycephaly, the condition characterized by a flattened skull and pushed-forward face, is prevalent among Shih Tzus. This unique morphology contributes to their propensity for snoring and potential sleep apnea, both of which can disrupt normal sleep patterns.

5- Nighttime vs. Daytime Sleep

As natural nocturnal animals, Shih Tzus are inclined to sleep more during the day and remain awake at night. This pattern is particularly evident in households with regular schedules, where lights-out signals the start of their siesta.

6- Health Considerations

Age-related conditions, stress, heat, or respiratory issues due to brachycephaly can all negatively impact a Shih Tzu’s sleep patterns. Regular monitoring of your pup’s health and addressing any concerns promptly can help mitigate these influences.

7- Temperature Regulation

Heat affects sleep patterns, causing Shih Tzus to nap more during warmer temperatures. Ensuring proper ventilation and cooling measures within your home can promote better sleep hygiene for your four-legged friend.

8- Diet and Nutrition

Proper nutrition supports healthy sleep. Feeding your Shih Tzu a balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and amino acids can improve their overall well-being and encourage sounder sleep.

9- Boredom and Stress

Increased boredom or stress can result in more sleep. Offering engaging toys, interactive play sessions, and consistent training routines can alleviate feelings of ennui and anxiety, promoting better sleep.

10- Social Interactions

Shih Tzus crave company and feel safer when sleeping with other dogs or their owners. Creating a warm and welcoming environment conducive to socialization can foster stronger bonds and improved sleep.

11- Restorative Function

Sleep plays a crucial role in maintaining physical and mental health. Ensuring your Shih Tzu receives sufficient rest promotes cellular repair, cognitive functioning, and emotional stability.Understanding these factors can help owners create optimal environments for their pets’ sleep and overall well-being. By fostering a supportive atmosphere, offering appropriate nutritional needs, and encouraging physical and mental stimulation, you can empower your Shih Tzu to live a happier, healthier, and more rested life.

How can I help Shih Tzu sleep better at night : 20 Simple Routine Steps:

To get enough rest and help your puppy grow, you need to make sure it sleeps through the night. To help your Shih Tzu puppy establish a healthy sleep routine, follow these simple steps:

  • Exercise: Providing your Shih Tzu with regular exercise during the day can help them tire out and sleep more soundly at night. However, avoid strenuous activity close to bedtime, as this can be stimulating.
  • Diet: Ensure your Shih Tzu has their last meal at least a few hours before bedtime to avoid digestive issues that could disrupt sleep.
  • Potty Breaks: Take your Shih Tzu out for a final potty break right before bed to reduce the chances of them needing to wake up and go in the middle of the night.
  • Calming Activities: Engage in calming activities before bed, such as gentle brushing, soothing music, or a light massage.
  • Natural Light: During the day, ensure your Shih Tzu gets exposure to natural sunlight. This helps regulate their natural sleep-wake cycle.
  • Shih Tzu Crate Training: Consider Shih Tzu crate training for a sense of security and comfort at night. Ensure the crate is the right size, well-ventilated, and has comfortable bedding.
  • Scent Therapy: Some dog owners find that using calming essential oils like lavender diffused in the air can create a relaxing environment. However, consult your veterinarian before using any essential oils around your dog, as some can be harmful.
  • Eat a Safe Place to Sleep: Something that should be set up ahead of time but can be used at any time:
  • Avoid the bed. To prevent injuries and falls, avoid sleeping with your Shih Tzu at first.
  • It’s best to get a playpen, like the North State Indoor Playpen, which is strong. If you have a young puppy, you can start with the four-panel size and add on extra two-panel sets as needed. It should have a small, soft bed like the JoyElf Memory Foam Bed, as well as food, water, and pee pads.
  • Encourage Naps in the Playpen: Gently guide your puppy to take naps in the playpen during the day to get used to the room.
  • Set up a routine. A regular routine of rest, play, and exercise can help a pup sleep better at night.
  • Maintain a consistent schedule. Regular puppy exercise includes daily walks (including rounds of puppy vaccinations) and energy lessons to burn off excess energy.
  • Make sure you stick to a routine: set a normal time for meals, daily grooming, playing, bathroom breaks, and going to bed.
  • Adjust Evening Routines: If early morning wake-ups happen, try changing dinnertime and making sure you take a bathroom break right before bed.
  • Make the environment calm before bed. Turn down the lights and noise an hour before bed to help your puppy relax.
  • Nighttime Awakenings: Puppies often wake up at night or too early in the morning, but there are things you can do to help.
  • For bathroom needs: For bathroom needs, keep things quiet, with little light and no play.
  • For attention-seeking: Attention-seeking dogs should learn how to calm down on their own by not acting right away and not barking or whining.
  • Self-helping toys: Introduce interactive toys for engagement, small and silent-squeaker toys for quiet play, and if a puppy really seems to be struggling, you may want to consider offering a companion toy like the Smart Pet Love Snuggle Puppy, which works very well for separation anxiety as well.

How Does Sleep Affect Shih Tzu Health?

Brachycephalic syndrome: Due to their short snouts, Shih Tzus can struggle with breathing difficulties. Adequate sleep helps regulate their breathing patterns and reduces the risk of respiratory distress.

Weight management: Good sleep is linked to improved metabolism and hormone regulation, which can help with weight management in Shih Tzus, a breed prone to obesity.

Mental stimulation: Sleep plays a crucial role in cognitive function and memory consolidation. 

Stress reduction: Sleep deprivation can lead to increased stress and anxiety in dogs. A well-rested Shih Tzu is less likely to exhibit stressed behaviors like barking, destructive chewing, or excessive paw licking.

Hormone regulation: Sleep plays an important role in regulating various hormones like cortisol, which is associated with stress levels. Adequate sleep helps maintain a healthy hormonal balance, impacting overall health and well-being.

Mood and behavior: Sleep deprivation can alter mood and behavior in dogs, leading to increased aggression, hyperactivity, or withdrawal. Getting enough sleep can contribute to a calmer, happier, and more well-adjusted Shih Tzu.

Cellular repair and protein synthesis: During sleep, the body repairs tissues and organs, strengthens the immune system, and produces essential proteins. Adequate sleep allows for optimal cellular repair and protein synthesis, keeping your Shih Tzu healthy and functioning at their best.

Cognitive Function: A dog’s learning and memory depend on enough sleep. Well-trained dogs are better at learning and remembering commands.

Emotional Health: Dogs, like people, can get angry or anxious from lack of sleep, impacting their attitude and temperament.

Physical Health: Sleep helps puppies develop, repairs muscle, bone, and tissue, and boosts the immune system.

Energy Levels: Dogs need adequate sleep to retain their enthusiasm for play and exercise.

Immune System: Rest boosts the immune system, helping a dog fight off illnesses and heal faster from injuries.

Longevity: Quality sleep prevents chronic diseases and boosts well-being.

Quick Changes:

Sleeping a lot or a little more than usual (for example, a dog that is normally busy might start sleeping most of the day).

(Wheezing, gasping) Difficulty Breathing While Sleeping

Inability to calm down and restlessness

Symptoms of pain:

A lot of whining or whimpering while sleeping

Difficulty settling in and frequently switching places

Licking paws or certain places too much

Being stiff when you wake up

Stressing the Importance of Early Intervention: Telling pet owners how important it is to see the vet as soon as they notice a problem can help them take care of problems before they get worse.


In conclusion, recognizing the importance of early intervention for sleep-related problems in Shih Tzus is critical to maintaining their health and well-being. Whether it’s excessive sleepiness, difficulty breathing, anxiety or signs of pain, acting quickly can help prevent further complications and improve the quality of life for your beloved companions.

Encourages pets to be alert and aware of changes. Due to their Shih Tzu’s sleep patterns or behavior, they may need to see a vet if a problem arises. Timely intervention allows a veterinarian to diagnose conditions, provide appropriate treatment and provide guidance on how to effectively manage sleep problems.

FAQs Frequently Asked Questions

Do all Shih tzus lay on their back to sleep?

No, not all Shih Tzus lie on their backs to sleep. Dogs, including Shih Tzus, often adopt different sleeping positions depending on factors like comfort, temperature, and personal preference. 

Do Shih Tzu Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

This can be a protective mechanism that allows them to relax and get into a deep sleep while still being alert to their surroundings. It is not unusual for dogs, including Shih Tzus, to exhibit this behavior

Does Shih Tzu like to cuddle?

Yes, Shih Tzus are known to be affectionate and enjoy cuddling with their owners. They often seek out physical closeness and love to snuggle up for warmth and comfort.

Why is my Shih Tzu always sleepy?

Shih Tzus are known for being a breed that enjoys plenty of rest and sleep. If your Shih Tzu seems excessively sleepy, it may be worth consulting a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.

Is it OK for my dog to sleep on the floor?

Yes, it’s safe for your dog to sleep on the floor if it’s clean and hazard-free. Avoid heat sources, wires, or toxins. A cozy bed or blanket can add comfort.

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