Chihuahuas are highly affectionate dogs that have been bred for various reasons, one being companionship.
Their high adaptability, low grooming needs, family-oriented nature, and trainability make them excellent choices as human companions.
Still, do Chihuahuas like to sleep with their owners? Being close to their owners, they like to sleep with them. Due to their small sizes, they easily sneak up through the blanket and cuddle, finding comfort and safety with their owners.
However, this habit of sleeping together comes with its benefits as well as risks and thus needs to be regulated for maximum sleep efficiency and health fitness for both the owner and the pet.
How much sleep does a Chihuahua need a day?
Chihuahuas sleep between 13 to 18 hours a day. This is a lot more than the average of 12-14 hours for most other breeds.
This will also vary depending on the age of the pooch with puppies sleeping around 17-18 hours a day while adults lying on the lesser side of the spectrum.
Also, the major chunk of the sleep would occur at night and the rest is divided into multiple naps throughout the day with periods of wakefulness in between.
Benefits of sleeping together with your Chihuahua
Bet you didn’t know these:
1. Temperature regulation
Cuddling with your pooch is an excellent way of exchanging heating and stabilizing the body temperature.
This is very effective in winter as a dog’s core body temperature is more (101 degrees F) than that of a human(98.6 Degrees F). Thus any excessive heat in the dog’s body would be shifted to yours and this regulates both of your body temperatures. The reverse occurs when your dog is feeling cold.
In summers the opposite will happen however with less efficacy.
Dogs are very sensitive to smells. A dog that sleeps with its owner will get accustomed to his/her scent which leads to feelings of love and attachment.
For the same reason, it is advised for owners to sleep near their newly adopted dogs for better bonding.
3. Reduces anxiety and Depression
The feeling of someone being by your side greatly reduces anxiety. Similarly, depression becomes more manageable with a strong support system.
Sleeping with a companion helps reduce the signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression both in dogs and humans.
4. Better sleep for both you and the dog
For the reasons mentioned above, the overall effectiveness of sleep is greatly improved both for the dog and the owner, as opposed to the previously accepted notion of disturbed sleep due to sleeping with dogs.
This fact is also backed by research published by Mayoclinic.
5. Easy to look after
Dogs need supervision during their sleep, especially during their pup years. You need to be able to pick up any signs of disturbed sleep and help them relieve themselves when needed.
It is easier to look after your dog during its sleep when you are nearby.
Risks of sleeping together with your Chihuahua
Keep these in mind too!
Sleeping with your Chihuahua regularly can lead to your dog being dependent on your presence for better sleep.
Hence, this can lead to reduced quality of sleep and anxiety when you are not with your pooch.
2. Spread of infections
Although healthy dogs have a very minute chance of getting you infected and vice versa but sleeping together does increase the chances of any spread.
This is more common for infections that spread via droplets like flu, common cold, COVID, etc, and this needs to be kept in mind.
3. Disturbed sleep
For dogs that have very delicate sleep and get aroused by the slightest noise and movements, sleeping together may not be a good idea.
Some people have a habit of changing their positions while they sleep, this can irritate the dog as it will have to change its position constantly.
Also, owners who snore will make it difficult for a sensitive Chihuahua to sleep comfortably.
The opposite is also true for the owners. Generally, Chihuahuas don’t make much noise during sleep but some do snore due to differences in their anatomy like an enlarged tongue or increased fat around their neck.
This can arouse the owner from sleep. With Chihuahuas that are fidgety during their sleep, it also becomes difficult to adjust.
Then comes an incompatibility in sleep schedule, not all owners have the same sleep routine as their dogs and it may be totally out of sync. This can lead to disturbed sleep for both the dog and you.
Constant movements of an owner in bed can result in kicks and blows to Chihuahuas. Moreover, an asleep owner may throw a pup off the bed with a sudden jerk of the body.
This can result in unfortunate injuries to the dog apart from a disturbance in sleep.
5. Family concerns
In a committed relationship, you may face concerns from your partner when they are not fond of sleeping with dogs like you are.
Family members have often complained of people who sleep with dogs more than their spouses and children.
6. Hygiene issues
Chihuahuas that have not been potty trained properly can have defecation and urination accidents during sleep. This is more common during the earlier periods of a pup’s life.
Tips for sleeping with your dog
Adding some tips for owners who sleep with their pups.
#1: Have a sleeping schedule
As your dog’s sleep will be divided into multiple naps throughout the day, you need to schedule them around your sleeping cycle for better sleep.
Make sure your dog goes to sleep at the same time every day even for the naps. This way your pooch’s sleep will become predictable and more manageable.
Use the time in between the naps for meals, exercise, and defecation.
#2: Alternate between sleeping together and sleeping alone
As stated, dogs may become attached to your presence during sleep and this can lead to separation anxiety and poor sleep quality.
You need to reduce this dependence as much as possible. The best way to do so is to have a schedule with alternating days of sleeping together with your pooch.
Your dog would know that it doesn’t get to sleep with you always, so it will adjust to sleeping alone.
You can increase the efficacy of this process by having random days of sleeping separately apart from the schedule to reduce the predictability.
#3: Potty train your dog
Allow your dog to relieve itself before it goes to sleep. This will not only allow for much more comfortable sleep without interruptions but also reduce any chances of accidental soiling.
For potty training, you can use reward-based techniques where you reward your Chihuahua each time it defecates in your assigned place before sleep.
This is called the Positive Reinforcement method and has the best outcomes in behavior modification.
#4: Maintain adequate temperature and lighting
For sleep to be efficient, there have to be near-ideal surroundings. This includes both the temperature and light intensity.
The temperature should be cooler than the outside in the summer and should be comfortably warm in winter. You can judge that by checking your dog for any signs of shivering or sweating etc.
The lights can be dimmed out gradually and once the dog is about to fall asleep you can turn them off completely. For waking, you can use natural sunlight. This is more effective for setting a healthy circadian rhythm than artificial light.
#5: Allow for burrowing
Chihuahuas are famous for burrowing themselves during sleep. They find it more comfortable when their body is burrowed in a blanket or the body of a person.
Have blankets for them as appropriate for the temperature. One important thing is to keep their mouths and nostrils free to exchange oxygen during sleep to avoid any choking incidents.
#6 Have an open space
When using blankets, put them comfortably over the pooch’s body in a way that does not obstruct breathing.
Give yourself and the dog sufficient room for any change of position during sleep so that the movements of one do not disturb the sleep of the other.
Finally, have a safe route for your dog to leave the bed when it wants without being blocked by your body and vice versa.
#7. Keep your Distance when ill
Whenever you find yourself to be suffering from any transmissible disease like flu, cold, or rash, distance yourself from your dog and sleep separately.
Do the same when your pooch is ill. This will avoid any transmission of infection between you two.
Can kids be allowed to sleep with Chihuahuas?
Sleeping with a pooch is not just a fun and comfortable practice but requires a sense of responsibility as well.
You would need to check whether your kid is responsible enough when left alone with the Chihuahua. Also, some Chihuahuas may not be fond of kids as much as they are of adults and this can lead to your dog being uncomfortable.
Moreover, you would need to supervise them during their earlier sessions of sleeping together before you can rest assured of their mutual safety.
Sharing some important questions that you may need to know about Chihuahua sleeping.
Why does my Chihuahua like to sleep with me?
A Chihuahua sleeping with its owner is a sign of attachment and love. Dogs sleep with their owners when they find it comfortable and safe.
Why do dogs press against you when they sleep?
A dog pressing against your body during sleep means that it feels cozy in your presence and is seeking comfort and warmth.
Chihuahuas are versatile breeds that are increasingly being used as human companions to their positive traits of adaptability, love for the family, low grooming needs, and trainability.
They are close to their owners and seek comfort in their presence such that they like to sleep with them as well.
Sleeping with their owners allows Chihuahuas to have a better bonding, reduce anxiety and improve the overall quality of sleep. However, it may come with the cons of dependence, the transmission of infections, hygiene accidents, etc.
Hence, it is important to regulate this sleeping habit through scheduling, training, and taking care of the overall health and hygiene of your dog.