The Golden Years
Your Shih Tzu officially qualifies as a senior dog at around ten years old. Though they may be slowing down, do not reduce their activity! In other words, it’s okay for them to sleep more, but don’t be the reason why they sleep more. You can incorporate less strenuous activity to their daily routine less frequently; just don’t ignore their social needs.
Older Shih Tzu’s will find themselves napping throughout the day, sleeping a total of 16-19 hours.
What to Look Out For
If you notice your Shih Tzu is suddenly sleeping more than usual, they could have had a particularly exciting day, be getting older, or not feeling that well. It may not be something serious, but it could justify a trip to the veterinarian. However, you may want to take their change in sleeping patterns a bit more seriously if you notice the following:
Just like humans, some of the major signs of depression are a lack of energy and interest. Whether it is chemical or nutrition-based is up for the vet to decide, but you will see depression manifest in your Shih Tzu by way of their sleeping patterns.
Usually, a Shih Tzu will acknowledge your presence when they wake up or when you come home. If they remain asleep or aren’t very interested in you, then perhaps something is up with your pup. Also, look for any changes in eating habits and increased nervousness.
If your Shih Tzu randomly falls asleep in the middle of an activity, they may have Narcolepsy. Narcolepsy in dogs is not that uncommon. Although it mostly affects breeds like Poodles, Dobermans, and Dachshunds, your Shih Tzu could have it, too.
Narcolepsy is not life-threatening, but it is still important to follow up with your vet if you suspect your dog has it. Watch your dog’s behavior closely. If the little guy is one minute chasing a ball and then next has collapsed into nap mode, then it could be a sign that they have this condition.
The Answer Could Rest in You
Don’t always blame your Shih Tzu naturally sleepy nature on the breed. Sometimes, an owner needs to evaluate how they are contributing to what may be perceived as excess sleep. Your Shih Tzu could be sleeping too much because you aren’t engaging them enough.
Think of signs of boredom in humans. When we have “nothing to do” what happens? We raid the fridge, stare at the ceiling, lay on the couch — take a nap. Low energy begets low energy. Take your Shih Tzu for a walk twice a day and play with them! If your Shih Tzu has been sleeping a lot more than usual, it may just be because they need something to do.