If you’re a Shih Tzu owner, then you’ve already discovered that these dogs love their sleep.
But is it normal for your Shih Tzu to sleep as much as it does?
Just what is normal when it comes to this breed?
This article will provide you with the knowledge you need, along with guidance on how to ensure that your Shih Tzu sleeps soundly through the night.
How Much Should Your Shih Tzu Sleep?
The amount of sleep that your Shih Tzu requires is largely dependent upon the age of the dog.
A newborn Shih Tzu requires around 22 hours sleep during every 24-hour period.
As they get older, the hours of sleep will gradually reduce.
After about a month of life, your Shih Tzu should settle into a pattern of sleeping for around 14 hours each day. Then, as an adult, that number will come down to about 12 hours.
A senior Shih Tzu (over the age of 10), will require more sleep time, with the number going up as high as 16-19 hours per day.
Helping Your Shih Tzu Sleep Soundly
If your new Shih Tzu automatically sleeps through the night, then you are very fortunate.
Most people, however, will find that their dog will need to be trained into a good sleeping pattern.
The first step is to set up a good sleeping environment for your Shih Tzu.
You should invest in a decent sized small dog playpen that has a dedicated sleeping area within it.
It should have a quality memory foam mattress. This will ensure that your dog gets plenty of joint support through the night.
Make sure that there is fresh water available in the playpen, along with a treat dispensing toy.
You should also have pee pads put down inside the playpen.
Now that you’ve got the ideal sleep set up, you need to train your dog to actually sleep there.
Begin by encouraging the dog to take its naps on the bed in the playpen.
Simply take him to bed or pick him up and gently place him on it.
Maintaining a regular schedule of exercise is a key part of training your Shih Tzu into a regular sleeping pattern.
You should be taking your dog for a 15-20 minute walk twice per day, once in the morning and again in the evening.
He’ll naturally be tired after the exercise session, so put him to bed when you get back in the morning and then again after your evening walk.
Before long, he will get accustomed to the pattern of going to his dog bed after his walk.
If you get your Shih Tzu into set patterns with its other activities, such as playtime, grooming, eating and bathroom visits with shampoo, it will be far easier to get him into a regular sleep pattern.
It is quite normal for Shih Tzus to go to the bathroom very early in the morning.
You can try experimenting with dinner time to make adjustments to this.
Try making dinner time a couple of hours later to see if this delays the bathroom visit to a more decent hour, such as 7 am rather than 5.
You should also take your Shih Tzu out for a bathroom visit immediately before putting him to bed.
In the evening, you need to bring the energy level in your house down in order to promote a good sleep environment.
Winding down involves dimming the lights, keeping the noise level down and not doing any high energy activities with your dog.
It’s not the time to play with your pup – in fact, you really shouldn’t be communicating with him at all.
Should You Sleep with Your Shih Tzu?
Many people have their Shih Tzu sleep in the same bed as them.
Is this a good idea?
First, let’s think about this from the perspective of your own sleep health.
Shih Tzu’s are notorious for moving around in their sleep.
Quite often they even ‘talk’ in their sleep.
They kick out their legs, throw their body all over they place and, very often, snore.
This can result in an extremely interrupted sleep pattern for you.
That’s quite a price to pay for the luxury of being able to cuddle up to your pooch through the night.
If you’ve got allergies, this can trigger you off for a very uncomfortable night of wheezing and sneezing.
Then there’s the very real possibility that your Shih Tzu may have a bathroom accident in your bed.
That’s no fun for anybody!
Sleeping with your Shih Tzu can be problematic if your partner is also sharing the bed.
The dog may become aggressive toward your partner, viewing them as a threat to its territory and a danger to you.
The last thing you and your partner need is a growling, aggressive Shih Tzu when it’s time for lights out!
If you do choose to put your dog in your bed with you, you will find it much harder to break that habit when you eventually tire of the practice and want to put him in his own bed.
You will at that stage be confusing the dog and may well end up with a whining unhappy pooch for a long period of time as you face the challenge of breaking the bed habit.
A final reason why you might want to think twice about allowing your Shih Tzu to sleep with you is that there is a possibility that you might roll on top of the dog in your sleep, causing some serious injury to your beloved pet.
Q & A
Frequently asked questions:
Do all Shih Tzus sleep a lot?
Yes, Shih Tzus tend to sleep longer than most other breeds.
It’s quite likely that your pup will be napping much of the day away while you are at work.
These dogs are also well known for the ability to fall asleep on virtually any environment or situation.
How many hours a day should a Shih Tzu sleep?
Newborn Shih Tzus will sleep as many as 22 hours out of a 24-hour day.
When the puppy is about to be weaned, the number of sleeping hours will go down slightly to about 19 hours.
At about the three week mark, the number of hours of sleep will go down significantly.
A Shih Tzu puppy will sleep around fourteen hours each day.
By adulthood , this will reduce to about twelve hours per day. However, when he gets into old age he may sleep as many as twenty hours every day.
Do Shih Tzus snore?
Yes, Shih Tzus are quite likely to be snorers.
This breed of dog are known as brachycephalic, characterized by flat faces and short noses.
These types of dogs have small windpipes.
This makes them susceptible to breathing problems, which may include snoring.
Shih Tzus also have soft palates and slender noses, which make them susceptible to breathing problems, including snoring.
Shih Tzus may also be prone to sleep apnea, which is characterized by interrupted breathing patterns while sleeping.
What should I do if my Shih Tzu barks at night?
This is where you will have to exercise some tough love.
Your dog needs to learn that barking will not get you pandering to him.
That means that you have got to hang tough and let him bark himself out.
He will eventually get the message that barking isn’t going to do him any good.
Usually, he’ll get that message within a week.
Getting your Shih Tzu into a regular pattern of sleep can be a challenge.
It requires patience and consistency on your part.
Avoid the temptation to let your dog sleep with you, invest in a quality playpen with a memory foam mattress, and train your dog to use it.
Hang tough when your dog plays up and you’ll soon both be enjoying a sound night’s sleep.